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The Crowded Shadows (Moorehawke Trilogy,…

The Crowded Shadows (Moorehawke Trilogy, Book 2) (edition 2010)

by Celine Kiernan (Author)

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18512122,875 (3.91)6
Protector Lady Wynter Moorehawke travels alone and unprotected, determined that she shall find the rebel prince and heal the rift that has come between the King and his legitimate heir. But who is ally and who is foe?
Title:The Crowded Shadows (Moorehawke Trilogy, Book 2)
Authors:Celine Kiernan (Author)
Info:Orbit (2010), Edition: 1, 502 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Crowded Shadows by Celine Kiernan


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'The Crowded Shadows' takes off where 'The Poison Throne' finished.

Abandoning her father in the time of his greatest need, Wynter is alone in an unknown forest, with unknown enemies all around her. She is trying to find her way to Alberon, the rebellious son and heir to the throne. Needing to dodge all manner of bandits and rebel enemy groups, Wynter almost doesn’t make it. Threatened with rape by a bandit who has tracked her, Wynter uses all her skill to get away, only to be tracked by a different group of rebel outcasts. That is, until she is saved but the most random of luck.

For who should she run into but Razi and Christopher, who are on the same mission she is?

They have deceived the King into believing that they were on their way to separate parts of the country – Christopher to return home and Razi to study medicine. Yet neither of them are where they are meant to be, and Razi’s decoy was discovered beaten beyond recognition. With the whole kingdom believing that he is dead, Razi is free to move around freely for the first time in years.

Chris and Razi have the same idea as Wynter - to find Alberon’s camp. They believe that is they can get some answers, they will be able to convince the King to rescind his decree disinheriting Alberon. Razi and Wynter are certain there is a reasonable explanation. Chris is more sceptical and freely admits if Alberon did send the assassin (from Book 1, yes the one who gave Wynter the clue as to where Alberon's camp is) to kill Razi, then he's as good as dead.

Unlike The Poison Throne, which all took place within the palace grounds, this part of the story involves their travels. The setting, mainly surrounded by trees and around open campfires, the occasional stop at an inn, and various encounters with different enemies and friends, made for a much different vibe. Almost carefree despite the constant danger, after the stifling atmosphere of the court.

Halfway through the book, the trio meets up with a Merron tribe. Although not Christopher’s specific tribe, they are still his people. It was fascinating to encounter such a unique group of people. Their culture and beliefs were well developed and, while not always pleasant, believable. We also learn a great deal more regarding how Razi and Christopher met, and Christopher’s backstory. It’s horrible but finally sheds light on one of the mysteries in this tale filled with unknowns.

As before, the relationships drive the story. Away from the strained politics of the court, the friendship between the main trio deepens - as does the romance between Wynter and Christopher. When Embla, one of noble ladies, takes a fancy to Razi, it seems that everything is going to be easy than they expect. That is, if they survive their time with the Merron people. The situation with Razi and Embla is heartbreaking. The customs and language of the People are so different to anything Razi and Wynter have experienced before, and there is only so much that can happen before tempers start to fray and lives hang in the balance.

Razi and Christopher are keeping many secrets – and this causes some difficulties. They need to share more with Wynter, is she is to be more than just a token girl.

This book sets the scene for an action-packed book 3. ( )
  Jawin | Feb 14, 2015 |
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

I was hoping that the pace of The Moorehawke Trilogy would pick up once Razi, Christopher, and Wynter left the castle but, alas, this story continues to crawl at a glacial pace. In The Crowded Shadows, the three friends wander the forest with no plan but to find Prince Alberon (somewhere among thousands of acres) so they can hear his side of the story — why is he rebelling against his father? While they traipse about the forest, they spend a lot of time eating, fishing, sleeping, occasionally bathing, and becoming emotionally unstable.

Soon they realize that there are other people sneaking around in the forest who shouldn’t be there (thus the name The Crowded Shadows) and Razi, Christopher, and Wynter spend their days wondering what these people are doing and fighting, hiding from, spying on, running away from, and even helping those they meet. Is Alberon gathering the kingdom’s enemies so he can lead them to overthrow the King? (If so, I wonder why these sneaky people are shouting their passwords and announcing their plans loud enough for Wynter to hear?)

I mentioned the sluggish plot in my review of The Poison Throne, but that book got away with it because the characters were so endearing. Unfortunately, that’s not the case in The Crowded Shadows. I’ve lost all respect for Wynter, who was a strong independent young woman in the first book but is now an emotional basketcase. She has a screaming fit when someone asks if she’d like some tea to ease her menstrual cramps — because women are supposed to be discreet and private — yet she spends most of this book hanging all over Christopher, lying next to him at night with her arm around him, pawing at him, putting her hand on his thigh, combing his hair, asking him if he’s okay, and calling him “Love.” (Puke.) She blatantly tells him that she wants to sleep with him, he says he feels the same, then, although they sleep next to each other every night… nothing happens. He’s got his back to her and she’s got her arm around him, stroking his stomach. This is the same Christopher who was raging hormones and jumping all the serving girls back in The Poison Throne; suddenly, he’s a prude. I never met a guy like that and if I were Wynter, I’d seriously be checking myself for bad breath or body odor. Neither of these characters’ actions (Wynter throwing herself at him and Christopher saying it’s “forever” but never mustering up any motivation) rings true. We’re supposed to understand that they’re just too tired or in pain, or (later) that Chris has a deep dark secret that inhibits him, but this strange behavior is clearly meant to increase and drag out the sexual tension, and it’s not working for me because it’s completely unbelievable. If I were Wynter, I’d be mortally offended, embarrassed, and moving on.

Christopher, meanwhile, who was direct and open during The Poison Throne, has suddenly become mysterious and brooding to the point that the reader becomes confused — along with Wynter and Razi — about what’s going on. It would make much more sense for Christopher to actually tell his friends why they need to be careful or why they must immediately leave the people they’ve just met (or whatever) instead of begging them to just believe him. I think this is supposed to be mysterious and suspenseful, but really it’s just confusing and aggravating.

Most insufferably, the plot did not advance in The Crowded Shadows. It ended where it began with nothing happening except that we learned more about Christopher and the culture he came from. The important plot could have been condensed to one chapter and we could have skipped this middle book. I can understand why many readers like this series — it’s emotional and character-driven — but I’m impatient with the slow pace and all the drama. All the characters are inflamed and angsty, but I’m just bored.

If Kate Rudd, the audiobook reader, was likewise bored, she didn’t let on. Her performance was excellent. ( )
1 vote Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
Spring-Summer 2010
  lencicki | Aug 28, 2013 |
Spring-Summer 2010
  orbitbooks | May 9, 2013 |
This second install ment in the Moorehawk trilogy continued to wind up my anticipation for the series finale. Kiernan does a wonderful job giving additional depth and context for the characters I grew to love in the first book. ( )
  Capnrandm | Apr 15, 2013 |
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For Mam and Dad, I love you.
For Noel, Emmet and Grace, always and with all my heart.

For Fergus, Elaine, Luke and Karl. Let's never stop lighting campfires and setting up tents.
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Wynter sank closer to Ozkar’s neck, and slowly dipped her head so that the dark brim of her hat hid her eyes. The horse side-stepped nervously under her, and tried to back out of their hiding place. He could sense her fear and it was making him anxious.
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Protector Lady Wynter Moorehawke travels alone and unprotected, determined that she shall find the rebel prince and heal the rift that has come between the King and his legitimate heir. But who is ally and who is foe?

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Alone for the first time in her life, fifteen-year-old Protector Lady Wynter Moorehawke continues her search for the missing Prince Alberon. But how long can a young woman survive in these bandit infested mountains? And just exactly how many of the King’s enemies are lurking in these crowded shadows? It seems that every tyrant or bully that has ever threatened the Kingdom is sending delegates to meet with the Rebel Prince, and Wynter is increasingly nervous of Alberon’s intentions.

Old friends soon make a welcome appearance, and Wynter finds herself reunited with her dear friend Razi and her beloved Christopher. They join forces and, with Wynter's knowledge of the route, the two men are confident that they shall soon find Razi’s half brother and settle this terrible rift between the King and his legitimate heir.

But where old friends go, old enemies soon follow, and Wynter finds herself confronted with terrible shadows from Razi’s past. The infamous Loups-Garous make a sudden reappearance, and their casual brutality seems certain to end our friend’s journey.

All seems lost, until comfort comes from an unexpected source. Wynter once again finds herself caught up in formalities and politics, but this time of a completely foreign nature. It is to Christopher that Wynter and Razi must now turn for guidance and help, as it is his adopted people, The Merron, who offer them sanctuary in their time of need.
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Celine Kiernan is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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Orbit Books

An edition of this book was published by Orbit Books.

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Hachette Book Group

An edition of this book was published by Hachette Book Group.

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