Very good, just like the first one! I'm so incredibly anxious to start the third, so I'll try and do something drastically out-of-the-ordinary and keep things brief!
What I really liked...
- Characters. I love the MC so very much! Tamwyn is an excellent main character because though he's imperfect, he's good *enough* and still likeable. His journey is one of self-discovery and realizing his potential - a "right of passage" story that is so sweet and fun to read. You just can't help but cheer him on! The supporting characters are just right - they have their own contributions to the overall story, but they don't usurp the position of the MC. They're an important aspect of the ensemble, but they *are* the ensemble. They're in the perfect position.
- Vivid scenery/descriptions. I cannot begin to describe how amazing this world is that Barron has created. Try thinking about a land made up of materialized wind and clouds. Or a series of islands in the middle of a rainbow ocean. Or trees that can walk, talk, and dance (like the ENTS! Only not...)
- Excellent pacing. Never once does this 400+ story drag. You get the feeling that every sentence matters, every detail is there for a reason. This is not a fluff author and this is not a fluff book. There are multiple perspectives, but Barron is a master of the concept because he's able to transition so well without dwelling on one and forgetting another (for the most part...)
What I liked slightly less, but still liked...
- the villain. Okay, in intermediate fiction, I really would *rather* have a villain who's a little on the overtly bad side... I don't like "complex, complicated" villains in this type of setting. Let them be evil, let them be crazy! However... there were thing that the main villain did that were a little on the "classic Disney villain" list: talking to himself, laughing incessantly for no reason, wringing his hands together, talking to himself some more... Yeah. That's silly!
- Some of the characters. Okay, I just flat don't like Scree. If there's a character who has to be sacrificed for the "greater good" in the third book, I hope it's him. He's what I would call "too flawed." Now, it's okay, because he's contrasted to Tamwyn, and Tamwyn is the main character that I care about, so yeah if Scree is a screwball, I'm not going to care that much...but it still bothered me a little bit. And Shim - the shrunken giant- gets on my nerves, pretty much because he talks *exactly* like Jar Jar Binks... *cringes*
- Plot Revelations: Scree's story arc was very vague, and the perspective didn't follow him except like 3 or 4 times, and so it made his Shocker Moment kind of random and a little on the unbelievable side. Not to mention icky... I won't say any more, but yeah, that part of the plot really didn't work well for me. But hey, it was about Scree, and I don't like Scree, so whatever...
So that's it. Okay, that was still pretty long, but I can't begin to say how great this series is! I was seriously tearing up in some parts, and I hear that The Eternal Flame is the most tearjerker one of all! Ahhh!
*runs to check supply of Kleenex*
Final Rating: 5/5. This is still an amazing book; even with the itty-bitty things I could think of, Shadows on the Stars is just as deserving of a 5-star rating as its predecessor.
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