Shattered Hopes (Light in the Dark #2) by Ulff Lehmann Book Review

Write on: Sun, 23 Sep 2018 by  in Charles' Reviews Read 3830


SHATTERED HOPES by Ulff Lehmann is the sequel to SHATTERED DREAMS. The premise of SHATTERED DREAMS was an epic war being fought between an invading army and multiple players between it as well as the return of old magic the world. I liked the various characters within it as well as the twists and turns in the subplots. Characters found out their allies were enemies, their memories were untrustworthy, and what they thought was going on was nowhere near the truth.

The sequel picks up immediately after the events of the original novel, which I understand is because they were originally one larger Tolkien-esque omnibus. Drangar, the series' main protagonist, is recovering unnaturally fast from near-starvation while the invading army becomes temporarily halted by the destruction of a key bridge. The protagonists have been on the defensive for some time but getting access to their own sorceress means they now have a chance of fighting back, however weakly against their previously invincible opponents.

Part of what I enjoy about Ulff Lehmann's writing is the fact he doesn't hesitate to make big complex worlds and let the reader sort them out. This is whole planet of characters with past wars, historical events, genealogies, and countries. Indeed, it is my only complaint about the work that I could have used a refresher course on who is what, where, and how. Giving me a sense of this would have helped me remember what the stakes are better but I was able to get back in the saddle quickly enough.

I also am a big fan of how the author handles religion in his series as the characters are caught between literal gods, competing faiths, corrupt churches, and living saints with no one able to completely separate them. I've always been a big fan of stories which incorporate both the mortal as well as immortal perspective of the supernatural and that plays a big role in this story. We never get to see the gods themselves but can interpret many events through the idea of miracles and portents.

Another element I like about the book is the fact Ulff Lehmann doesn't skimp on the perspective of the antagonists. Indeed, the Chanastardhian (try saying that three times fast) are not really villains, so much as simply invaders. It's what happens in Medieval warfare and they just want to get the job done as efficiently as possible.  Mireynh is close to being a villain but that's because of his bullheaded Stannis Baratheon-like stubborness and the contradictory fact he refuses to respect anyone who surrenders or turns against their nation, even when it means benefiting his side. In short, he has the absolute worst attitude for any form of military diplomacy.

The real heart of the story remains Drangar's perspective on events as he is the most important "Chosen One" in a group of perspectives. The fact he actively disbelieves in his Chosen One status is not the most interesting element of his story. Indeed, what is the most interesting is his struggle to reconcile it with a world that is so actively hostile to good and mercy. The fact he's surrounded by people who have suffered, died, and worse despite having faith in the gods he doesn't also makes him even resent the status.

In conclusion, this is a strong continuation of the original book and while I recommend you should probably read them back to back if at all possible (or for a glossary to be included), this is a great work.

Last modified on Sunday, 01 December 2019 12:34
C.T. Phipps

C.T Phipps is a lifelong student of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. An avid tabletop gamer, he discovered this passion led him to write and turned him into a lifelong geek. He is a regular blogger on "The United Federation of Charles".

He's written Agent G, Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Supervillainy Saga.