The Shadow Wars by Rod Rees
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I was a huge fan of the first book in this series, so I dove into the second one about as fast as I could. Fortunately, the idea and concept behind this series remains sound. Unfortunately, some missteps combined with a shift in focus for book two means this wasn't nearly as good as it could have been.
Following the success of the bad guys in the first book, the new goal is to consolidate power within the Demi-Monde. Since Ella has effectively decided she's a messianic figure within the simulation now, it's up to someone else to work things out a bit, and whether this will actually result in success in anyone's guess.
I don't mind the choices made in the narrative at all. It's all building to something that I hope ends up being pretty cool. The problem, unfortunately, is that the different focus takes us away from what we've come to like from the story and toward something different instead, and it means I felt a little less engaged as a result. For a book that really benefited from the tight focus, the wider lens didn't quite work for me. And I'm not a prude, but there was some definite gratuitous stuff at the end that just didn't work within the confines of the story that were really irritating and grating.
I will go in on book three, and I'm looking forward to it. But my enthusiasm for the story has been reduced a bit, and that's a problem. Here's hoping book three picks up a bit.
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