This book is: not as bad as the worst books in this series, but also not in the top 3.
Other elements: Familiar characters, sarcasm, magic.
Read it: if you love the first three books of the Nightrunner series and need another Seregil and Alec fix, even if it’s going to be a watery, diluted one.
Overall rating: 6.5/10
This book is the 7th in a series that is very dear to my heart. Or, rather, the first 3 books of it are very dear to my heart. They’ve become some of my favorite comfort books (meaning I reread them over and over and over again) and they played an important role in the formation of some of the most important friendships in my life. (With actual people, not fictional ones.)
I can’t talk about Shards of Time without talking about its predecessors, many of which I love too much to review in any coherent manner. Here is an overview:
Luck in the Shadows: 10/10
Stalking Darkness: 10/10
Traitor’s Moon: 9/10
Shadows Return: 5/10
The White Road: 4/10
Casket of Souls: 7.5/10
Shards of Time: 6.5/10
Shards of Time is supposed to be the last Nightrunner book, at least for a while. And I think that’s a good thing. The characters, the universe, the adventures: they all feel thin and stretched by this point. The characters have stopped growing and changing. The plot is small: really, the title of this book could be “Alec and Seregil Solve a Ghost Story.” I think it’s the most compartmentalized of their adventures yet, and it’s sad to see our heroes working in isolation away from the pulse of Skalan politics. When Seregil complains that he’s bored with life in Rhiminee, I suspect it’s actually Flewelling talking.
We do get some amazing scenes with characters whose roles were smaller in the earlier books, and that’s a lot of fun. Flewelling also shows that she remains gifted at creating really creepy monsters/bad magic. The new baddies in Shards of Time are delightfully creepy and impressively well thought out, just as I would have hoped.
Shards of Time is more than somewhat enjoyable, but it’s hard not to see it as a step down from the crackling wit and extensive and fascinating worldbuilding of the earlier books in the series. It’s also less complex and less successful at making all its disparate elements feel like part of the same whole. So it could have been much worse, but I was hoping it would be better.
My thanks to NetGalley and Random Random House Publishing Group – Del Rey Spectra for providing me with a review copy of Shards of Time.