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Book review – “Noonshade” by James Barclay (The Chronicles of the Raven vol. 2)

July 12, 2008

Noonshade is the second book on The Chronicles of the Raven trilogy. It continues the adventures of The Raven, a band of mercenaries pulled to a higher role in saving the land of Balaia.

This book continues exactly where Dawnthief left off: after defeating the evil from the first book, the heroes inadvertently open a dimension rip between their dimension and one occupied by dragons. Our heroes find themselves needing to close said rip while still having to worry about the remaining armies of Wesmen, who lost their power but are not fully defeated.

The adventures this time still occur mostly in Balaia but there’s a significant part of it regarding different dimensions. One is inhabited by Dragons, a place that our heroes visit, and another by Demons, who strike a deal with one of the magic colleges in exchange for protection. This gives a new… well… dimension to the story.

As with the first book, important characters will unexpectedly find their deaths in this book. Not knowing what will happen to the main characters is something I personally like in fantasy books – it’s a shame James Barclay dropped this theme in the 3rd book of the series.

The interpersonal interaction in this book is richer than in book one, even though it sometimes turns into “bickering” between a few of the Raven members – although nothing compared to a few dialogues in the Wheel of Time books. It’s nevertheless nice to see the conflicting personalities of the mercenaries.

As a conclusion, I recommend this book as well and I think it’s the best of the trilogy, but I will eventually review the third and last book as well.

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