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Shadowplay (Shadowmarch #2)

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  4,484 ratings  ·  159 reviews
Darkness has fallen on the lands of the sun as an army of misshapen fey spill out from beyond the Shadowline. At their head is Yasammez, dark creature of nightmare. A furtive bargain was struck at the gates of Southmarch and the castle was spared, but centuries of enmity will not be so easily appeased.
Paperback, 752 pages
Published March 6th 2008 by Orbit (first published January 1st 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Paul
Book 2 of the Shadow tetralogy (mmmph...applying such a recondite word to this workmanlike slog of a fantasy series seems silly) picks up the pace a little from the bad parts of the first book, but is still not exactly a brilliant, inspiring masterwork. Let me see. I just read Books 2 and 3 in the course of a transatlantic flight and my first few days in Europe while I've had bronchitis, constipation, and a horrific fever that comes and goes, so it's hard to pull the two books apart in my mind, ...more
Scott Lee
Tad Williams remains the most criminally underappreciated writer in fantasy. Shadowplay deepens and enriches the world of Shadowmarch as a good sequel should. The curtain rises on the continent of Eion outside Southmarch and the city of Xis. The theological history is pieced together through chapter headings that offer competing mythical interpretations of the events of creation and what the characters call the Trigonate "Theomachy." And Williams continues to spin a powerful yarn that centers ar ...more
William Bentrim
Shadowplay by Tad Williams

The book chronicles the clash between Fae and Mortal as well as the machinations of a China like empire. As I mentioned after the first book in the series, Shadowmarch, this book has a bit of the flavor of the last Williams book I read, The War of the Flowers. The story continues where Shadowmarch left off.

Repeating myself from the Shadowmarch review, the complexity of Williams world crafting is just amazing. He provides detail and then he provides details on the detai
...more
Cameron
There's an epidemic among modern fantasy writers today of glacial bloat. Don't mistake my meaning - I have no problem with a large book or series if the plot advances at a natural, readable pace. But with writers like George R.R. Martin and Robert Jordan, we are seeing plots dragged out far longer than actually need be, for purposes known only to the writer and certainly not to the benefit of the reader. I've always respected Tad Williams' work in that he writes huge novels with excellent pacing ...more
Michael Kucharski
ShadowPlay was everything and more that I hoped it would be. Granted, it took a chapter or two to get back into the book completely. Although, not as brutal as George R. R. Martin, Tad Williams had previously left almost all the characters in very difficult situations none of which have gotten resolved but dozens of secrets and bits of history have been revealed; and this a very rich and detailed world. However in some instances the more that is revealed, the more we wonder just what is going on ...more
Philo
I'm sitting here on Friday night reviewing a book. Because that's what I do. I love to read.
First off, I love this series. Tadd Williams is a guy that gets fantasy. That's not true of all fantasy Authors, not eve the bestselling ones. There's fantasy writers who play with the tropes, those that revel with them, those that forget that they're there, and use them over and over and over....You get the point. Tadd Williams, on the other hand, is just a guy that loves fantasy.
This series has awesome
...more
Julian
"Shadowplay" much much better overall than book one, "Shadowmarch." All the main characters had been introduced and Williams was now able to keep the story moving at a break-neck pace from start to finish.
With so many different characters located across the map, I was always anxious to finish one chapter to start the next - never knowing which character I'd get to read about next.

Briony Eddon matured the most throughout book 2. I was truly scared for her when the Tolly's took over Southmarch cas
...more
Tamara
AAAgh!! Now I have to wait for the third one.
La Espada en la Tinta
Cuando comencé a leer El juego de las sombras, segunda entrega de la tetralogía "Shadowmarch", lo hice con la confianza que me daba tanto el escritor como la historia que había leído a lo largo de su primer tomo, La frontera de las sombras. Puedo decir sin temor a equivocarme, que la historia ha conseguido alcanzar exactamente las expectativas que me había creado en torno a ella. Como ya dije en su momento, en un tiempo en el que hay todo tipo de experimentos en lo que a narrar fantasía se refie ...more
Helle
Maybe I should finish the entire series before writing this review. Because so far the first two parts don't seem like individual books, but really like parts of a very large book that would be unmanageable when reading in bed and is therefore cut in quarters at seemingly random places (unlike this sentence ;) ). Obviously Shadowplay is part of a larger scheme. But Tad Williams has shown before that it is possible to write a series of 4 books and still give each book some individuality, with a p ...more
Marilyn Fontane
Jul 03, 2012 Marilyn Fontane rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes fantasy enough to read at least 4 long, long books.
Shelves: fantasy
Shadowoplay is even more of a second book in a tetrology, rather than in a series, than Shadowmarch was a first novel. Not only are you left hanging, but if I hadn't read the first book, I wouldn't ever be able to guess what was what (even with the synopsis at the beginning). There are many plots which switch back and forth. Just when you are getting somewhere with one and anxious to find out what will happen, you switch to another and the same anxiety for the entirely different set of character ...more
Rich Taylor
As I expected, Shadowplay, the second book in the Shadowmarch series was a far more entertaining read than the first one. We start to actually see the fairies as more than just a concept and begin to understand more of the world and the people in it. One of the things I like about Tad Williams and is evident here, is his ability to slowly build the entire picture as you work your way through the story. Yes, for those who read my review of Shadowmarch, that can make for a lot of intro without a l ...more
Aleah
The ruling family of Southmarch has been scattered. King Olin Eddon remains a prisoner of the traitorous Lord Protector of Hierosol while his daughter, the Princess Briony, is chased from her childhood home by the family's power hungry cousins. All the while Briony's beloved twin, Prince Barrick, follows an ill-fated compulsion that's been laid on him by a powerful Qar warrioress. As Barrick blindly and eagerly does her bidding this fierce mistress sits at the front gate of his castle home with ...more
Hrishi
Things are looking up for this series, even as things go to hell for some major characters and plotlines (literally for one character). I'm surprised at how much the plot moved in what I was expecting to be a middle book.

The world building is top notch, and I really got drawn into the contemporary characters, the gods, and the light drizzle of Qar back story. Some converging paths in the story showed clever plotting. Especially clever are the epigraphs that open chapters which are mandatory read
...more
Danielle
Excellent followup to Shadowmarch! I really miss having fantasy elements and adventure in epic fantasy novels these days. So many are political intrigue novels that, while they are enjoyable as well, don't quite live up to my favourite because they simply don't have enough magical elements. My favourites are still the stories that take me to strange new lands, with magical (scary, cute or otherwise) creatures, where characters learn about themselves on a quest-like adventure. The trend these day ...more
Tim
A foul raven that talks. A giant demi-god with part of his face missing enslaving manlike beasts in an effort to unearth a massive subterranean gate and punch a hole into the land of the sleeping gods. Tad Williams deepens his story and throws in a few unusual elements (retaining others, such as the human finger-tall Rooftoppers) in the second of his Shadowmarch novels, "Shadowplay." Though he again keeps the proceedings leisurely paced and detailed, the author starts to pull the coverings off h ...more
Andrea
A great step-up from its prequel Shadowmarch, Shadowplay continues the complex story of the Kingdom of Southmarch and related events. Things that played little to no role in the first book are really at the forefront here. I have to admit that the epigraphs at the start of each chapter were pretty much one of my favorite aspects of this book. Throughout the book, the epigraphs depict the same story of the Godswar of the Onyenai gods and the Surazemai gods, just viewed from three different viewpo ...more
Justin
Shadowplay is the second book in Tad Williams' massive epic fantasy series, Shadowmarch. The plot was just starting to get really interesting when the first book ended, so I was eager to start Shadowplay. Things have gone awry in the March Kingdoms. Book two starts in chaos and things only go downhill from there. I'm not normally a reader of classic epic fantasy, since I often find things like family lineage, court politics and over-dramatic heroic battles boring. This series has all of this, bu ...more
Margaret Taylor
Tad Williams’ Shadowmarch trilogy is a guilty pleasure of mine.

The trouble with plain-vanilla high fantasy is that it’s been done so much that none of the new stuff is particularly original anymore, and Shadowmarch is no exception. You’ve got your castle, you’ve got your conniving nobles, you’ve got your twin royals sent into exile, and the army of fairies that would like to take over said castle. Add to that a good sprinkling of battle scenes, women wearing trousers (shocking!) and a black guy
...more
Christina
Still moving along pretty well, although this one felt a bit more uneven than the first. Ferras, Briony, and Chert remain appealing and sympathetic, and Sulepis (whose name gets stuck in my head, thanks, Tad) is genuinely the most terrifying piece of the book. However, with this many characters and plot threads to deal with, there had to be weaknesses somewhere. The introduction of the gods in book 2 seemed to come out of nowhere, and the formerly-absent King Olin reads as cardboard, with some p ...more
John
May 13, 2008 John rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fastasy Readers, Historical fiction readers who enjoy fantasy
Shelves: fantasy
This is the second book in Tad Williams's Shadowmarch trilogy, and picks up where Shadowmarch left off. As the second book in a trilogy, it has neither a beginning nor an end, but it does have lots of surprises and twists. The characters go through many changes, as does their world. The fantasy element mixes a very alien, almost Lovecraftian, fey and an epic story of a huge pantheon with many and varied gods. I think it's safe to say if you enjoyed the first book, you will want to read this as ...more
Jessica
Mar 09, 2010 Jessica rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tad Williams fans; Fantasy lovers
Shelves: 2007, 2010, 2013
A Review of Shadowplay by Tad Williams

Rating: Five Stars

Edition: Hardcover

Genre: Fantasy

Shadowplay is the second book in Tad Williams' Shadowmarch series. I wouldn't say that it is his best fantasy series, but it is worth the read. This book continues the storyline of the kingdom of Southmarch and gives a larger focus on the kingdom of Xis.

The first book in the series is a lot of set up. Shadowplay actually starts getting down in the issue of the plot. There are a tone of plot lines, which can b
...more
Ithlilian
Sep 28, 2012 Ithlilian marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I liked the first book in this series because each chapter ended with a cliffhanger. That kept me going through the abundance of detail and lack of plot progression. The chapters in this book were short just like the first book, but they ended on a bland note instead of an exciting one. After too many pages of characters walking, characters walking, characters talking, characters walking some more, and, surprise, more walking, I couldn't take it any more. It's unfortunate because I really liked ...more
Aaron Eriksson
This book continues the tale started in Shadowmarch, and does an admirable job of building the mystery of the world, and setting the characters on their journey. What needs to be known, however, is that the pace of the book is haphazard at best. This is the "Two Towers" of Shadowmarch, a second book with second-book syndrome, but without a major battle to keep reader's interest. The cast is growing (The king is alive!) and the villains are fleshed out (The traitorous cousin was a name in a list ...more
Newton Nitro
Muito melhor que o primeiro,fantástica descrição dos povos feérico!

O primeiro livro da saga Shadowmarch teve um andamento mais lento, porém fez um bom trabalho para estabelecer o cenário e os personagens principais da trama, mesmo com um final emocionante. Em Shadowrise, Tad Williams melhora muito no andamento, e possui passagens memoráveis. O que era mais sombrio anteriormente fica muito mais sombrio nesse volume. A descrição dos estranhos Qaar, o povo feérico é algo genial, fantástico e bem or
...more
Ruth
Published 2007. My fav character at the moment is Skurn - the talking raven. So many cliff hangers in the last part of the book. I just hope that I remember these when I get Vol 3. Compared to the book before this (Ash), this read went fairly quickly and held my attention all the way through. Gyir is a great character too. Vansen -well, bless, the type of man who courageously follows through on his sense of honour. Barrack - still not fond of although sympathy has arisen more for him in this vol ...more
Lisa
Going straight on from where Shadowmarch left off, this was a great story. Following about 6 different story lines, a few new characters compared to the previous book.

I enjoyed this book, it followed Ferras Vansen and Barrick past the shadow line as they learned more about the Qar and some history about the gods. New characters included King Olin and Pelaya. They live in Hierosol, which is readying for the invasion of the autarch. In the meantime the autarch sends someone to capture his runaway
...more
Michael
I fell in love with Tad Williams earlier novels, but I feel he is just repackaging the same novel, only with different names. I don't mean the whole book is derivative of his previous works, but some major themes keep cropping up over and over again. I'm finding a lot of parallels to the 'Memory, Sorrow and Thorn' series, which is still in my top 10 favorite fantasy series.

I suppose my main issue is that I can't relate to any specific character. The book is written from too many points of views
...more
Victoria Osborne
As the war between the fairies and the humans grows more intense the twins are drawn into dark times.

The two main character Briony and Barrick are well thought out. Barrick's hero's journey is packed with a sense of wonder. While Briony's own journey is fun and lively with her own coming of age mixed in.

Especially intriguing is the story surrounding the autarch's wife and her own journey of self discovery. This is a very good example of growth.

The book itself is a great meaty epic fantasy with s
...more
stephan
Aug 30, 2007 stephan rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tad Williams Fans
Another solid work from Williams, better than the first volume, though like many second volume of a trilogy it feels a bit like a way to get from here to there. And I would not start with this volume - read the first one.

A few interesting plot twists, and the characters are better than the first volume - or perhaps Williams is getting more comfortable with them. I will be waiting for the next volume.

But I was not blown away, if you have read Williams then this is mostly more of the same. And the
...more
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Tad Williams has held more jobs than any sane person should admit to—singing in a band, selling shoes, managing a financial institution, throwing newspapers, and designing military manuals, to name just a few. He also hosted a syndicated radio show for ten years, worked in theater and television production, taught both grade-school and college classes, and worked in multimedia for a major computer ...more
More about Tad Williams...

Other Books in the Series

Shadowmarch (4 books)
  • Shadowmarch (Shadowmarch, #1)
  • Shadowrise (Shadowmarch, #3)
  • Shadowheart (Shadowmarch, #4)
The Dragonbone Chair (Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, #1) Stone of Farewell (Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, #2) To Green Angel Tower (Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, #3) To Green Angel Tower, Part 2 (Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, #3; Part 2) City of Golden Shadow (Otherland, #1)

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