A Shade of Madness (The Ashes of Avarin #2) by Thiago Abdalla - Book Review

Write on: Tue, 17 Jan 2023 by  in Sue's Reviews Read 144

A Shade of Madness is the unrelenting pressure cooker of a sequel to A Touch of Light. The Madness is spreading further throughout Avarin and we discover more about its origins.

A new point of view character is added to the three from the previous book. Kadmus is a scientist searching for a cure for his daughter’s Madness, while trying to keep her illness a secret.

Adrian continues on his vengeful crusade to save the Domain from the evils of Dakhar and has discovered previously untapped powers of blood magic which have gained him an army which he hopes will turn the tide of the war. He has also gone through a fair amount of character development and gained a backbone along the way.

“We all have our sacrifices.”

Nasha is learning to control her “gift/curse”, continues protecting Shai and has discovered the key to controlling emotions may be contained in the ancestor stone (known as ruin stone to the other characters). As with the other main characters, she is relentlessly fighting against those tainted by the Madness.

“Everyone’s monster is someone else’s hero."

Meanwhile Lynn, the griffin rider, has risen through the ranks of the Sentinels, having proven her allegiance to the order. Her confidence is increasing and she is experimenting with controlling the Madness in her own way, through her Bond, and through her own use of the ancient ruin stone. These characters’ arcs are becoming interwoven and we see them encountering one another in this tangled tapestry of a novel. They have a common goal, but each has their own personal losses and individual reasons for wanting to defeat the Madness.

The Seraph’s Eye is still in the sky getting larger and brighter - my comet theory about it still holds. I guess I’ll need to read the future books to see if I am right.

As in the previous novel it is clear that Abdalla really knows how to build a scene, utilizing the reader’s senses to place us right there in the world with the character, imagining we can see and smell what they can:

“She breathed in the smoky scent of the Great Mountain, and the biting smell of citrus trees. That, and the scent of the death from the crow-picked bodies on the battlefield before her.“

The tone of the story continues to be dark and gritty, not for the faint-hearted, while the scope and breadth is even more epic and the world has opened out substantially wider than in Book 1.

“This is war. Death is merely one of the players.”

I thoroughly enjoyed my return to war-torn/zombie-infested Avarin and was delighted to discover that Book 2 was even more gripping and enjoyable than the first book in the series, and that there were more griffins! Here’s hoping that this upward trajectory will continue - I will be eagerly looking out for the next installment.

I received an arc copy of A Shade of Madness from the author - thank you Thiago. My review is honest and my opinions are my own.


Last modified on Tuesday, 17 January 2023 15:48

Sue is British, living in Massachussetts since 2003. A Mum of two teens, she enjoys fantasy, SciFi, dystopian, thrillers, occasional historical fiction in both YA and adult genres. She wrote her grandad's life story during 2020 and has a couple of ideas for other books. You can find my reviews by Sue at