Shadowblack (Spellslinger #2) by Sebastien de Castell


spellslinger2Shadowblack is the second instalment in Sebastien de Castell’s Spellslinger series.  I’m loving this series, it’s fun, it seems to have an independent storyline running through each book (well, so far anyway) and yet still brings in snippets from the previous story, it’s populated with great characters who, even though I had no trouble in liking them in the first book, have grown on me even more now and it’s just basically a book that makes you feel good when you’ve finished reading.  So, if you want to feel good, then what you waiting for?  Go, pick this up.  I’d say that this can be read as a standalone but personally I would suggest reading the first one – that way you’ll have twice the fun to look forward to.

Shadowblack seems to start a few months after Spellslinger concluded.  Kellen, Ferius and Reichis seem to have spent their time mooching about the Seven Sands trying to stay one step ahead of bounty hunters.  Being an outlaw isn’t all it’s cracked up to be after all and Kellen misses his home, his family and more than that the young girl who he was sweet on from school.  He manages to put Nephenia out of his mind however once he and his motley crew meet up with another Argosi female and her charge – Seneira.  Seneira wears a blindfold but it doesn’t take long before Kellen uncovers that this is simply a bluff to hide the black marks that he also carries and keeps hidden.  It seems that Seneira is similarly marked by the Shadowblack and Kellen and his companions undertake to try and help her – a job that soon turns into something much bigger once they reach Seneira’s home town and find this seems to be a plague that is affecting more than just one.  Is the Shadowblack spreading??

So, we once again have the same trio of characters and spending more time with them helps to tease out more about each of their whims and foibles.  Information about Ferius in particular is a lot more forthcoming in this instalment as the inclusion of another Argosi character seems to bring out some of her background.  Rosie is a really good addition, although she didn’t stick around for the entire story.  She’s feisty and I just loved the way she handled herself when in a tight spot.  It was good reading the two of them bounce off each other and argue the toss – it seems that being Argosi doesn’t mean you all follow the same path.  I’m so curious about the Argosi and want to learn more. Kellen finds himself once again becoming a little bit smitten – the boy is literally a walking hormone, and it was quite funny to watch his attempts at blending in with other people his age and attempting to talk to females.  The flying squirrel cat Reichis, remains a muttering, chattering force of nature who’s developed a love of hot baths and butter biscuits, and why wouldn’t you, sounds like a good combination to me too.

Aside from all this fun and banter Shadowblack is, I thought, a much more serious plot this time round.  It certainly isn’t all light entertainment.  A much more sinister plot unfolds and we realise just how serious the situation truly is when we have an unexpected death.  The actual bad guy is really only the tip of the iceberg.  I’m not going to elaborate on him further but he’s conceived a rather horrible scheme and he certainly isn’t shy of killing people or using them in quite nasty ways in order to further his own needs.

In terms of the world building it was interesting to spend time in the Seven Sands and to listen to the people who live there who seem to be underdogs really with very little true status.  It builds on the information provided in the first story about Kellen’s people and how they found themselves living near such a powerful source of energy and starts to highlight the fact that not everyone in this world has found themselves so luckily situated (although, truthfully luck had nothing to do with it).

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this story.  It’s a lot of fun – this always sounds like a disparaging remark somehow as though the book is not deep and meaningful – but, to be clear having an entertaining series to follow is something I love and I’ve found just that right here.  I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up the next book or to recommend this to others.  It’s a very ‘clean’ read, the violence isn’t graphic and there’s no sex or bad language and so it could be enjoyed by young adults as well as adults which I think is another definite plus.

I know that a third book is planned but I seriously hope that there are more adventures in the offing.  I’m looking at you hopefully Mr deCastell???

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.


10 Responses to “Shadowblack (Spellslinger #2) by Sebastien de Castell”

  1. KGWilkie

    I love the cover on this book, and your review makes it sound like it MUST go on my must reads list. Besides, how could anyone resist a world called Seven Sands?

    • @lynnsbooks

      It’s a series I’m loving – it has a lot of fun in the stories and I already really like this author so it’s almost a no brainer for me.
      Lynn 😀

  2. sjhigbee

    A great review, Lynn. I’m delighted that you enjoyed it so much – it is a cracking series, isn’t it?

  3. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    This sounds like so much fun! I really need to start this series. November was supposed to be my catch up month to hit up some personal reads, but ack, it’s not happening 😛

  4. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    There is nothing wrong, indeed, with fun books: we can’t wallow in dark grimness all the time, can we? 😉
    Great review, it makes me want to pick up these books right away! Thanks for sharing!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I hope you get a chance to read them. I’m really enjoying the world and characters so far, the plots are good, if a little over the top and they’re definitely light relief from some of the more serious grim dark reads.
      Lynn 😀

  5. imyril

    I enjoyed this one too – not quite as much as the first, but I loved getting to understand the Argosi better!

    …and I think I saw Mr dC mention there would be six of these in the end!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Six – wow, that’s brilliant. There is a lot of scope here for more stories and I like getting into a series where the characters have room for development.
      Lynn 😀

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