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Shadowplay (Shadowmarch #2)

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,653 Ratings  ·  185 Reviews
With their father and brother taken from them, the royal Eddon twins Barrick and Briony have done their best to hold the kingdom together. But now Barrick has been captured in a failed war against the immortal Twilight People, and Briony has been forced to flee the castle.

Everywhere in the north the fierce Twilight People, led by the ageless warrior- witch Yasammez, hold
Paperback, 672 pages
Published March 4th 2008 by DAW (first published January 1st 2007)
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Apr 01, 2011 Paul rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 10, 2015 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, own
It took me a while to get into this. I read the first book, SHADOWMARCH, when it first came out, which was several years ago, and I honestly remember nothing about it except that it was about twins whose father is gone and their stepmother . . . is evil? Something something a coup? Basically, it was no MEMORY, SORROW, AND THORN, which is probably my all time favorite high fantasy series. (Yep. I like it better than LORD OF THE RINGS, deal with it.) Anyhoo, the first couple of hundred pages were ...more
Scott Lee
Feb 10, 2012 Scott Lee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
After the amazing first book in this series, we herewith put the brakes on a bit. The characters we come to love has to suffer a lot and with all the talking about gods and history the story really slows down. I must admit I felt every single one of the 813 pages and sometimes almost lost interest. On the other hand we go deeper into the dark parts and everyone is targeted into his position for the next book, which I will read for sure (after a small break)
Brecht Denijs
3.5 stars

Pro tip: don't wait four years in between reading two parts of a series if you can help it. Though sometimes it isn't really your fault. (I'm looking at you, Mr. Martin) In this case however it was my fault. This one was definitely a test of my retention capabilities. As such, I decided to have a look at my review of the first one and amongst other things, this is what I said: It is too damn slow!
Well, it is STILL too damn slow. It annoys me greatly because there is quite a lot of good
Jan 23, 2015 Philo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
William Bentrim
Jul 21, 2012 William Bentrim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Sep 13, 2011 Joseph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first book, Shadowmarch, showed the board and laid out the pieces. In Shadowplay, the pieces are put in motion. There are wonders and terrors -- the most memorable to me being one character's trip through a many-layered afterlife with the ghost of his father. And although the book as a whole is quite deliberately paced, there's plenty of action and fast-paced setpieces. And human villains who are every bit as scary as the twilight-shrouded armies of Faerie.
Vicenç Sanz
May 22, 2015 Vicenç Sanz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Si por algo destaca el autor de Shadowmarch es por crear un mundo rico y tomarse todo el tiempo necesario para poner las piezas en su lugar. Esto que puede ralentizar la acción y hacer que los más impacientes dejen de lado sus novelas hace que el crecer de la tensión sea muy gradual y cuando la cosa estalla lo hace con un impacto mucho mayor.

Así que el Juego de las Sombras no es un libro para todo el mundo, recomendable sólo para los que no abominen de leerse un tocho sabiendo que la trama avanz
L.Y. Levand
Jan 26, 2016 L.Y. Levand rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, so overall I liked this book. In fact, there are really only a few things keeping it from being five stars.

1: That ending, though. Cliffhangers annoy me. Luckily, I have the next book already, so I don't have to suffer through an agonizing wait. But just dropping Ferras Vansen through a portal/door/thing and leaving Barrick, and then ending the book with Vansen finding out where he is and then passing out? There are worse endings, I'm sure, and it's not going to stop me from finishing the
Mar 09, 2015 Twentwor rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not nearly as engaging as the first book - Shadowmarch. I felt like the characterization was a little weaker, and Williams fell back on some of the things that made me not like "Memory, Sorrow & Thorn" -- namely the characters had such a limited perception of the world that they couldn't think their way out of a paper bag, and he seems to have some peculiar ideas of what someone in any particular non-modern lifestyle (especially noble or soldier) might do or think. Mostly, they seem self-abs ...more
Jun 28, 2014 Julian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
Right before I wrote this review, I saw another review referring to "glacial bloat". I'm not sure I'd be quite that harsh in describing it, but, my goodness, Tad Williams is certainly in no hurry for anything to resolve itself! With the first volume, I felt like parts of it could function as a stand-alone novel. This one really felt like just a set of chapters between the first and third volume, like the only reason it comes as a book of its own is that, if it were published with the third volum ...more
Apr 21, 2009 Tamara rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, own
AAAgh!! Now I have to wait for the third one.
Dec 14, 2015 Shane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tad Williams is a master. Before starting this series I had only read two of his shorter works Child of an Ancient City which I didn't like and Caliban's Hour which I liked a lot. This made me reluctant to try this epic series, but it was on audio and I figured if I get 30% of the way in and don't like it I'll just move on.

To start the narrator on the audio books is fantastic. He really sticks out as one of the best narrators I've heard (and I've listened to 100's of audiobooks). The first book
Shadowplay continues the adventures of prince Barrick, princess Briony, Chert the funderling, Quinitan, and it even brings us some scenes with the twins' father, king Olin.

In my opinion, this book is really not as strong as Shadowmarch. The writing style and the story-telling abilities are in line with the previous book (and in line with Mr. Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series), but the pace is much, much too slow. I understand that Mr. Williams is positioning his characters as a master pl
Jeanne Stumbaugh
Dec 09, 2015 Jeanne Stumbaugh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, I spent quite some time finishing the second book of the Shadowmarch series, not because the story was slow, but because I wanted to take my time with it. The first time I read it, I devoured it in just a few days. It’s my normal pattern. The first time I read it, I read it for the story, and any subsequent times are for the details.

Although Williams’s writing does tend to slow my reading, it still only took me a few days to read it. And I do have to admit, that my first read through was yea
La Espada en la Tinta
May 07, 2014 La Espada en la Tinta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: received
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
May 05, 2014 Helle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 really liked it  ·  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
Dec 17, 2011 Rich Taylor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: williams-tad
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
Aug 21, 2011 Aleah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
Jul 15, 2013 Hrishi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 19, 2012 Danielle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 26, 2011 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 10, 2012 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
Dec 28, 2011 Justin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, own, audio
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
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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
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Other Books in the Series

Shadowmarch (4 books)
  • Shadowmarch (Shadowmarch, #1)
  • Shadowrise (Shadowmarch, #3)
  • Shadowheart (Shadowmarch, #4)

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