Guruzilla's /var/log/knowledge-junkie
["the chatter of a missionary sysadmin"]

Review: Adam Lee, The Shadow Eater

Previous Entry :: Next Entry

{ Now playing: Benny Goodman & Glenn Miller, Live at the Carnegie Hall (6 October 1939); Adam Again, Dig

Recent movies: Lain, Disc 1****; Farscape, II.1***; Lain, Disc 2****; Farscape, II.2****; Evangelion 12-15****

Recent books: Joshua; Colossians; Schlatter, The Theology of the Apostles; John R. E. Bliese, The Greening of Conservative America; Adam Lee, The Shadow Eater; Shusaku Endo, Silence; Norton selections from Spenser, The Faerie Queene; excerpts from The Mystical Poetry of Rumi (trans. Arberry);


The Shadow Eater is the sequel to Lee's The Dark Shore, and second in a trilogy. Dark Shore was a hard act to follow, and a sophomore slump can probably be somewhat excused. The Shadow Eater tells the story of a gnome and others striving to fend off an approaching darkness which is rising from the Dark Shore to endanger all worlds. Practically the core of half the 'fantasy' books on the shelves, of course, but the perpetual struggle of Good and Evil is an old and respectable theme for a reason.

The complaint I heard about The Shadow Eater before I read it was that it left behind the old cast of characters from The Dark Shore, and changed direction and style, leaving the reader unsure if there was any relation at all between the books. Unfortunately, the complaint has some merit; Lee does move away from the story and setting of Irth which he crafted so well. Eventually, one winds around to a point of contact, where there's an "Aha!" moment, but it's a long time coming. The beginning of The Shadow Eater, in fact all of Part I (of IV), is taken up by a fairy-story, centering in a gnome at the bright end of the world, far from the Dark Shore, who is asked by a lady to fight this dark thing which threatens her unborn child. The story is told in a rather bright, simple tone, almost a children's-book style (the same difference between The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings). The effect is almost, but not quite entirely unlike Dark Shore -- though there are moments which tease that there's more going on. Eventually, there is. The flatly juvenile tone lifts, and the atmospherics return, reminiscent of the previous work. But this takes until the second or third Part, and the book never really gains the momentum it should, given the force with which the story moves in the latter parts.

I'm sorry to say that The Shadow Eater disappointed me, but I'm happy to say it wasn't a waste. Lee's efforts to weave together the fairy-tale ethos and his unique Dark Shore are rather flat, but they obviously have a place in his story arc, which will continue in his Octoberland (which I have not yet read). I really could only recommend The Shadow Eater for fans of Lee who are patient, but hungry for more of his worlds. I suspect that the quality of Octoberland is the cruz for determining whether The Dark Shore should be left to stand wholly alone on its own merits.

Adam Lee, The Shadow Eater Eos, 1998

ISBN 0380790734

Share on Facebook

Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Back to Top

Powered by JournalScape © 2001-2010 All rights reserved.
All content rights reserved by the author.