In the second book, the main character, Ligea, returns to Tyr with the sole aim of overthrowing the tyrannical regime that had kidnapped her as a child and used her as the means to try and destroy resistance in her native land, Kardiastan. Kardiastan is a country originally ruled by a magical upper class of people with special gems embedded in their palms. The book spans 13 years – from the time of her return and the birth of her son, Arrant, until her son reaches 13. Strong links are drawn back to Kardiastan, particularly through a metaphysical link between Arrant and Tarran, Arrant's half brother who was given over to the Mirage Makers in the first volume. It is Tarran's role to help the Mirage Makers fight against a mysterious blight that is destroying their realm in the west of Kardiastan. The story spends very little time in Kardiastan itself in this volume, but Larke has setup the tale to return in the third volume.
Larke introduces a number of new characters, but only two of any great significance, and most of the characters, including the protagonists, are back from the first volume. The most important, and another example of Larke's ability to introduce flawed, but well backgrounded and interesting characters, is Gevenan, a ex-general from the far west of the world, who failed to defeat the Tyr invaders in his own country and who is now a slave himself in Tyr.
There are a couple of themes in Larke's work that I really like. First is the strong, main female character, Ligea – in her first set of books, there was a similar main character, Blaze. Unlike some (perhaps many) other writers, Larke makes her women equal to men with no silly pandering to female stereotypes such as taking the role of concubines, witches, or some other sexually orientated character formation. This makes the read all the more enthralling as it creates a narrative based around genuine human situations. Her characters, as I said, are far from perfect, with their own fears and prejudices, all of which and a lot of colour and interest to the narrative.
The second point, which is similar to her first work, is the shift from the original main character to a new main character as the work progresses. In her first work, Blaze was the centre of the first book, but the story then shifted to Gillfeather later on. In the Mirage Makers, Larke concentrates almost entirely on Ligea in volume one, and she remains a central character in the second volume, but as her son, Arrant, grows, he gradually takes over as the main part of the story.
If the volume has any fault it is that it spans a very long period of time. In one way, this makes it realistic. Other fantasy novels may have their powerful, magical characters overthrow nasty rulers in a single battle, but Ligea spends years planning and organising her rebellion. By the end of two thirds of the book, I was beginning to feel there was a lack of action. This is made up for in the finale, which, while a little predictable in terms of what happens, is very well written and highly visual in its narrative.
Overall, an excellent piece of work and I will be immediately moving on to the third and final book in the sequel. Glenda Larke
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|Title||The Shadow of Tyr (Mirage Makers, #2)|
|Publisher||Orbit / Little, Brown UK|
|File size||3.3 Mb|
|eBook format||Paperback, (torrent)|
|Book rating||4.58 (275 votes)
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