The Twilight War: Book 2 – Shadowstorm
Shadowstorm surpasses it’s predecessor by ratcheting everything to overlord while Kemp pens a tale that sends readers on a momentous adventure. The first thing that hit me with this novel was the beginning. When we last left our heroes, they had shadow stepped into Cania, the eighth of the Nine Hells. Kemp does a remarkable and truly scary job of bringing hell to life. He also creates a terrifying archdevil. Mephistopheles (pictured on the cover) not only personifies an image of fear, but he instills it with every action. Things only get worse from there for the main characters as one of the most nightmarish scenes I’ve ever read spills across the page. Honestly, Stephen King has nothing on this. It’s just damn fine storytelling and it doesn’t stop there.
Through the story, there are several epic clashes. After escaping hell, Cale, Riven, and Magadon end up back on the Shadow Plane and find themselves on a collision course with Kesson Rel, a being possessed with the essence of a god. Fate has steered them into a corner, and Cale has his sights on killing Rel. There they have to fend off an army of shadow giants, deadly minions, and the devastating powers of Rel himself. Yet that herculean task just leads them to another seek and destroy mission. What could be worse than a shadow powered demigod? Maybe a shadow dragon. Meanwhile, there’s a war going on in Sembia. Tamlin and the Shadovar have to defend Selgaunt. Abelar is on a one way mission to save his son, and in the end the Shadowstorm comes.
There were a lot of great moments in this book, but one of my favorites was Abelar. A massive battle is brewing and like all commanders, he reaches that moment where he has to give the speech. This was his Braveheart moment. What stunned me was how well Kemp pulled it off. Not only does Abelar give a good speech, but the battle that followed was just awesome. The imagery of two clashing hosts of cavalry, all armed with swords and armor, splashed with magic…it was just epic.
Equally terrific was the siege of Selgaunt. Again there are two great armies clashing and each side is sprinkled with magic users. However the Shadovar add a sinister element of awe struck destruction and power. But Kemp doesn’t just lay them out from the beginning. Instead he slowly unleashes them, holding them back to build up the suspense. Even then, with all their power, Rivalen is still hard pressed to defeat the enemies’ champion: a dragon.
And of course there’s some great action and dialog from my favorite character, Riven.
All in all, it’s a great story. Abelar finds himself falling into shadow, Tamlin finds himself tempted by the shadows, and Cale & Co. must do battle with the shadows. By story’s end, all fall to darkness with the onslaught of the Shadowstorm. This book earns a solid five out of five metal bikinis.