*I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.*
Blurb: Is a foe ever truly unbeatable?
Caledan is caught in the middle of a warring dragon clan, and Soren is powerless to save his people, or stop the attacks, but worse is coming. The elementals are rising. If Caledan is not destroyed by dragon fire, it will be obliterated by the elementals’ ancient magic.
Soren despairs as the alliance between men, Eldarkind and dragons falls apart. Strife and fear are rampant, and his inability to stop the rebel dragon attacks undermines the peace he has worked so hard to secure.
As the rifts between the three races grow, Soren, the Eldarkind and the dragons must defeat the rebel dragons and rebuild their pact to have any chance of facing the greater threat of the elementals; for once they rise, it will be too late.
Soren faces the greatest tests of his rule so far, and it may cost everything he has; his home, his rule, and his life. Can the alliance be rebuilt, and the elementals vanquished forever?
I paused approximately halfway through this book and put it down. Not because I wasn’t enjoying it…I was. I had to stop because I was so caught up with the injustice on the page that I needed a rant! Luckily no one was home to see me striding up and down, finger jabbing the air as I expostulated about intolerance and prejudice, and not helping those in need because they are different and unknown and therefore to be feared and hated. It all just hit a bit too close to home with the current political climate.
Then I started thinking. Ranting was no good. I wasn’t achieving anything. I was being too much Barclay and not enough Eve or Soren! So I actually got off my metaphorical backside, put my time and energy where my mouth was and started contacting volunteering opportunities in my local area, and quickly signed myself up for a few before I lapsed back into my customary apathy.
So I can honestly say that The Shattered Crown made a real-life impact for the better!
That noted, it is also an excellent fantasy read and the perfect finale for the Caledan series: two apparently indestructible foes; allies so far at odds with each other that they struggle to find any common ground; and a solution that will only work if they can unite despite it all. Let’s just say I picked it right back up after I got off the phone!
I particularly liked the addition of the bond between Myrkdraga and Lorellei and how that began and developed, as a perfect example of how deep-seated prejudice can be overcome by proximity, understanding, and shared adversity.
It was also interesting to see how Eve and Soren grew from the first to the last books, as their outlook and decision-making skills displayed greater maturity and wisdom. We saw them develop from naive teens to strong and stable rulers, and that brought with it a sense of almost parental pride in their journey; we saw them grow up.
Finally, the overall pacing was well set, so the tension built up to the climax of the action, then the resolution was complete and left the reader feeling satisfied and ‘finished’. There is an especially touching closure for one of my favourite characters of the whole series (no spoilers here!), which got me quite emotional, but in a happy way because it felt right. For the majority of the characters though, it was clear that their world would continue on without our observation. I much preferred this balance to leaving too many loose threads trailing, or severing them all and wrapping things with a bow on top…a few minor issues outstanding, but with the confidence that the characters are now equipped with the skills and experience to face whatever else comes.
“I know why you have summoned me,” said Brithilca. His great snout swung between them as he regarded each in turn with a watery eye. “The clan is fractured, as it ought not to be, and there is no peaceful resolution. Cies already seeks you.”
“He seeks revenge for his exile,” growled Farran. “But the revenge will be ours. For Myrkith-visir and our fallen.”
Brithilca did not reply. “There are far greater events set in motion that if left unchecked, will have devastating consequences for all. Bahr of the Fire is vanquished, yet His kin awaken.”
– Meg Cowley, The Shattered Crown