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AndyC's Shadowlands series

Thande

Zordrak, Lord of Nightmares
Published by SLP
#1
As I've just started re-reading @AndyC 's (non-SLP published) Shadowlands fantasy series, I thought a discussion thread was a good idea.

For the uninitiated, there are currently two books so far, The Cave Between Worlds and The Secret of the Citadel (those are Amazon links).

Please remember to use plot spoilers as there are some substantial plot twists in there!
 

Thande

Zordrak, Lord of Nightmares
Published by SLP
#6
This is going to have to be spoilered but

I had forgotten just how well the big twist is set up in the first book. In particular Jason is introduced as the obvious local-scope baddy, and he ends up working with Genarri, so it's neatly set up for him to be his henchman and therefore reinforce the impression that Genarri is the greater-scope baddy. Yet at the same time Genarri's never anything other than genial, so it's not unrealistically railroading you to that assumption.
 

OwenM

Your guess is as good as mine.
#7
This is going to have to be spoilered but

I had forgotten just how well the big twist is set up in the first book. In particular Jason is introduced as the obvious local-scope baddy, and he ends up working with Genarri, so it's neatly set up for him to be his henchman and therefore reinforce the impression that Genarri is the greater-scope baddy. Yet at the same time Genarri's never anything other than genial, so it's not unrealistically railroading you to that assumption.
Yes, on first read through
you think he's being Affably Evil, but on later ones he's just genuinely affable and it makes just as much as sense.
And on the other hand, Malach initially reads as a good guy with a temper he's not quite in control of, whilst on second read, he's a generally evil guy pretending not to be who occasionally lets the mask slip momentarily.
It's kinda interesting, in that most twists on this level are Black and White - oh it's actually all a bit greyer, whereas this works because it's painted as grey and then turns out to be black and white, to oversimplify massively.
 

Thande

Zordrak, Lord of Nightmares
Published by SLP
#8
Yes, on first read through
you think he's being Affably Evil, but on later ones he's just genuinely affable and it makes just as much as sense.
And on the other hand, Malach initially reads as a good guy with a temper he's not quite in control of, whilst on second read, he's a generally evil guy pretending not to be who occasionally lets the mask slip momentarily.
It's kinda interesting, in that most twists on this level are Black and White - oh it's actually all a bit greyer, whereas this works because it's painted as grey and then turns out to be black and white, to oversimplify massively.
Yes, I felt your third paragraph was an interesting theme of the piece--it's almost as if

Malachi deliberately exploits the fact that modern fantasy has encouraged the children to think there must be shades of grey, that the obvious nasties can't possibly be evil, etc., even when there aren't and they are. Somewhat reminiscent of how people wouldn't believe reports of Nazi atrocities in WW2 because they were wise to how German atrocities in WW1 had been exaggerated by propaganda.
 

Thande

Zordrak, Lord of Nightmares
Published by SLP
#9
(This isn't really a spoiler) I do like the gimmick that the reason why everyone from this other world speaks English (thus avoiding the language barrier) is because they listen in on us and find it easier to use our languages as neutral common tongues rather than favour one of their own over another. That feels oddly realistic.

While it's established, I assume for plot reasons, that not many people do look in on us or do it that often, it might be interesting to see in the future if any of our non-magical technology got copied by someone who looked in. I mean at a more basic level than what we have now, not 20th/21st century stuff. I'll have to wait till I re-read Secret of the Citadel so I can refresh my mempry on what the general tech level is in the Shadowlands before I can comment further on what I mean. Or fashions/non-linguistic culture for that matter.
 

Thande

Zordrak, Lord of Nightmares
Published by SLP
#10
There is nothing very spoilery in this post but it does mention characters that don't appear till book 2 so

I suggested this to Andy ages ago when beta-reading the second book, but just to reiterate. If the gang's friends like Durwin and Rudy end up coming to the Prime World in a future book, because this is set in modern Britain there is an opportunity to do something different to the usual American fantasy schtick. Durwin and Rudy are both peers from a society where noble titles still convey rulership, so it would be interesting for them to meet e.g. the son of a British hereditary member of the House of Lords and run into amusing misunderstandings of how things work here because the words are the same. As opposed to the US fantasy setup where noble titles and monarchies are treated as something totally alien to the OTL side. This could perhaps be done as a passing joke because Charlotte's family is wealthy and could conceivably have such people over for a dinner party or something. Or for tightness, rather than actually featuring such characters if they don't fit the story, Charlotte could just mention her dad knows Lord X and then have the misunderstanding from there.
 

LancyIain

Not fit for purpose
#11
Am I the only one who caught the twist in the first book ahead of it occurring? As I told Andy when I discussed it with him, it seemed the likeliest explanation of what was happening to me. I think the point at which I was almost certain was at Halloween when Genarri was unwilling to countenance risking the children or sacrificing Jason. If he were truly the evil person he was described, why would he have cared? Then Malachi described being guilty of using his powers for insider trading, along with all the children being drained. After that, I was all but certain Malachi was evil and Genarri telling the truth.

I wasn't quite sure which of two wizards was the traitor in Citadel though. I was sure it was either Antar or Cailin, but hadn't quite made up my mind which.

I'm looking forward to seeing who gets to be the main star of the third book.
 

Thande

Zordrak, Lord of Nightmares
Published by SLP
#13
Am I the only one who caught the twist in the first book ahead of it occurring? As I told Andy when I discussed it with him, it seemed the likeliest explanation of what was happening to me. I think the point at which I was almost certain was at Halloween when Genarri was unwilling to countenance risking the children or sacrificing Jason. If he were truly the evil person he was described, why would he have cared? Then Malachi described being guilty of using his powers for insider trading, along with all the children being drained. After that, I was all but certain Malachi was evil and Genarri telling the truth.

I wasn't quite sure which of two wizards was the traitor in Citadel though. I was sure it was either Antar or Cailin, but hadn't quite made up my mind which.

I'm looking forward to seeing who gets to be the main star of the third book.
In the case of the first book

I felt it was nicely ambiguous. Like I wrote in my post, the character of Jason was used to put us into the right mindset so the narrative didn't have to unrealistically paint Genarri as being something he wasn't. It could easily have been a case that both of the visitors were being economical with the actualité, especially as Tom's dreams are implicitly accepted as being accounts of real events because they're not directly tied to Malachi at first.

In the case of the second book

That was probably a bit more predictable, but I was suspecting that there wasn't a traitor at all, just two interlopers clashing, just because it felt like that has been done a bit in similar works and it would be a good untwist.

Just finished re-reading the second book, I had forgotten it ended on a cliffhanger--looking forward to more!
 

Thande

Zordrak, Lord of Nightmares
Published by SLP
#15
I think on reflection I was leaning to
what Thande suggested anout them both being dishonest, for the reason he suggests.
Which ties in with the thing we both talked about above - that
in modern fantasy it's fashionable to have teh shadez of greyz so it's a twist these days for no, one of them is the good guy and the other is the bad guy