Recommended for ages 12+
Book 2 in the Tales of Light and Shadow series continues with Secrets of Neverak, picking up immediately where the first book left off, after the battle that saw our group of heroes split up and facing danger at every turn. Henry, James, Maggie and Ruther have to travel across Neverak to find Isabelle; Isabelle must learn to survive her circumstances. The Emperor is setting plans in motion, seemingly unhindered by anyone – or is he?
We get much more character development in this second book in the series, and meet some new characters that encounter the party – for better or for worse. Every character has his or her own inner demons to fight, which makes for deep and textured reading; the main characters are accessible and likable. The Emperor is the classic, megalomaniacal villain that you want to see taken down. There’s not a lot of gray area with the characters – like the book’s title, you have light and dark, and the lines are pretty clearly drawn. The book’s ending left me knowing that the big finale is coming, and looking forward to it.
Teen girls will find adventure and a lot of melodrama. We’ve got tormented inner monologues and unrequited love aplenty in this volume! Not being a teenage girl, I preferred the adventure and intrigue, but girls who love romance will be thrilled with this second entry into the series. Parents and educators will be happy at the continued importance of morality and values in the book. Shadow Mountain puts out very clean books, and having them on the shelves is great for me to steer my more conservative readers toward.
Tales of Light and Shadow is a solid fantasy series for all readers. Check out my review of the first book, A Tale of Light and Shadow, to learn more.