“For Shade, returning to Taralius is like a homecoming she never wanted. She soon finds that old relationships are changed and past contacts have turned sour. Worse yet, a bitter enemy stalks the streets—a venomous assassin who’s sworn to deliver Shade to her own sending.
Meanwhile, others in the city are delving into their own pasts. While Second Corporal Avendor Tarcoth re-establishes contacts from the shadowy life he thought he’d left behind, Tiberius follows the trail of an unexpected message toward an equally unexpected encounter. Neither man is aware of the dangers that stalk them.
Far across the Realm, the man calling himself Carvesh Tarne leads a small company through the depths of Jadenwood in search of answers surrounding the shadowbeasts that nearly destroyed his home and family. But answers aren’t always what they seem. Sometimes they fight back.”
We are finally starting to sink our teeth into the juiciest bits of this story. I am really enjoying the Taralius arc centering around the League and its artifacts. Tiberius has always felt like one of the story’s more intriguing characters to me, and this leg of our journey only deepens our connection to him. Add to that our growing knowledge of Constable Tarcoth’s backstory, and his connection to the mysterious thief and assassin, Shade, and we are now experiencing a lively and multifaceted scramble for the power of the artifacts.
As we have progressed through the books, Matthews has done a good job of chipping in character building moments without bogging down a plot-centric narrative. After three novellas, I feel like the legwork is really starting to pay off. I wouldn’t say that the characters have felt flat previously, but they have been competing for very limited “screen time”, and the consequence of that is a limited connection to their emotional landscapes. A Shattering of Glass is finally starting to push through that barrier and forge some genuine affinity between the reader and their favorite characters.
Since this is a plot-driven story I would be remiss to skip over all the exciting developments taking place in the storyline. I won’t give any spoilers, but for the first time, we get some insights into the origin of the Shadows. We see the troubled history of the Kingdom unfold in the personal lives of our heroes, and most of all we catch our first fleeting glimpse of an overarching goal for Caleb.
Two thumbs up! This was the most engaging of the Riven Realm so far, and I have certainly enjoyed the others, promising a series that just gets better and better. Once again, if you are looking for epic fantasy in a sleek package, the Riven Realm by Deck Matthews is exactly what you need.