Conspiracy Of Ravens (The Shadow book 2) by Lila Bowen (book review).

December 17, 2017 | By | Reply More

‘Conspiracy Of Ravens’ is the second book in ‘The Shadow’ series. Set in 1800s Texas where numerous creatures like vampires (not your usual sort), dwarves and shapeshifters exist. Nettie has embraced her true destiny as ‘The Shadow’ the creature that hunts wrongdoing monsters.

At the end of the first book, ‘Wake Of Ravens’, Nettie shapeshifts for the first time but she forgets her human identity as a bird. I managed to guess what shapeshifter she was early on but the author doesn’t confirm it till the end of the book, so you’ll have to be patient and probably look it up as it’s well worth the effort. She only regains her humanity when she meets Earl O’Bannon, a shapeshifting Irish refugee who has been kept as a slave worker on a railroad company. He has managed to escape and is in search of the Durango Rangers, to help set free all the other shapeshifters that have been enslaved in the company, by Bernard Trevisan a magic user of sorts. Trevisan needs shifter bones and flesh to use in mysterious rituals which results in the mutilation and death of the shifters. In learning how to remember being human as a bird, Nettie completely embraces his true self, as a man. He becomes Rhett Hennessey for real.

The Las Moras Rangers are not the only ranger company in Durango and the area where the railroad is being built is not under Captain Abraham’s jurisdiction, so Rhett and Earl have to bring down Trevisan on their own. They are joined by Sam Hennessey, Dan and Winifred, who has to find a healer to mend her open wound from her foot amputation. On their way to the railroad, The Shadow in Rhett is called to attend to various other injustices perpetrated by other creatures or humans.

The second instalment of ‘The Shadow’ has not been a disappointment. I read it almost as fast as the first and I was happy to see Rhett finally understand who he really is and feel comfortable in his identity if not his body. He is still struggling with his sexuality but he is exploring it by jumping in headfirst. I do find him incredibly frustrating and rude at times but I think that just shows how well Lila Bowen has written him. He is independent, very rough around the edges, hard to get to know and unused to showing kindness, which was never shown to him. After rising up from living such a tough, downtrodden life he doesn’t suffer fools or weaklings easily.

After appreciating the map in the first book, I have found that it is now a bit of an annoyance. I can see various creatures on the map that the book doesn’t touch on that I wish it would. I would also like Bowen to explore further into the creatures she does introduce. I feel like we only seem vague glimpses of them and I’d like to know more.

Supreethi Salvam

December 2017

(pub: Orbit/LittleBrown, 2016. 352 page small enlarged paperback. Price: £ 8.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-356-50658-6)

check out websites: www.orbitbooks.net and www.robboffard.com

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Category: Books, Fantasy

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