War has been part of life in Albion for some time now. Common civilians are taken from their towns and conscripted into the army to fight against the Continent for reasons unknown. Kate Winter’s world is turned upside down when wardens come to town to harvest it for soldiers. Her problems are far greater: Kate has been captured by Silas, a murderer not quite alive or dead, who wants Kate’s help in finding and using Wintercraft, a book of great magical power. But Kate and Silas are not the only ones after this book. A member of Albion’s High Council also wants the book, and Kate must fight to come to terms with her newfound abilities and save those she cares about.
I really liked Shadowcry! Overall, I thought it had a quick-moving plot, and I found it a lot of fun to read. I was impressed with the world-building and the magic in the series. The Skilled and the veil reminded me somewhat of the necromancy described in Garth Nix’s Abhorsen trilogy, but it looks like there will be more potential for the veil’s capabilities. The fact that Burtenshaw delivered on this front made me happy because the world concept was what attracted me to the book in the first place. The best character, in my opinion, was Silas; his character concept is fascinating, and his motivations are fun to try to puzzle out. Also, I am just a sucker for juggernaut characters.
I had a few issues with the book. One was the shifting point of view. I do not have an inherent problem with authors having more than one narrator, but, as a reader, I found the sudden shift from Kate’s point of view to Silas’ point of view to be jarring. Even though I liked Silas as a character and found his insights interesting, he’s more intriguing when you don’t know what’s going on inside his mind. Plus, it’s just not good form to change point of view in the middle of the chapter or page even. I also didn’t really appreciate Kate as a character; I didn’t find her that interesting and did not get a good enough sense of who she is. I am hoping she’ll be more clear and interesting in the next book. These criticisms were not enough to really detract from my enjoyment of the book, but I felt like I should mention them. Overall, it was a fun book, and I’m looking forward to getting my paws on the sequel.