Author: Deck Matthews
THE PAST IS A FRAGILE THING
For Shade, returning to Taralius is like a homecoming she never wanted. She soon finds that old relationships are changed and past contacts have turned sour. Worse yet, a bitter enemy stalks the streets—a venomous assassin who’s sworn to deliver Shade to her own sending.
Meanwhile, others in the city are delving into their own pasts. While Second Corporal Avendor Tarcoth re-establishes contacts from the shadowy life he thought he’d left behind, Tiberius follows the trail of an unexpected message toward an equally unexpected encounter. Neither man is aware of the dangers that stalk them.
Far across the Realm, the man calling himself Carvesh Tarne leads a small company through the depths of Jadenwood in search of answers surrounding the shadowbeasts that nearly destroyed his home and family. But answers aren’t always what they seem. Sometimes they fight back.
The Riven Realm series continues its fine form with A Shattering of Glass. Matthews’ storytelling goes from strength to strength, this novella my favourite of the three published so far.
Part of my enjoyment comes from the fact I’m really getting invested in the characters now. In The First of Shadows and Dust of the Darkness I was getting to know the characters and the world and I think that plays a part in finding A Shattering of Glass even more fast paced – I’m familiar with the characters and things are really starting to heat up, in more than one use of the phrase.
The episodic formula still feels fresh and just like a TV series, you get a couple of episodes in and suddenly you’re hooked. I looked at the percentage bar on the ebook and thought “No; there’s going to be a cliffhanger! I need more Shade and Tiberius – and everyone else in fact!” If you’re like me and you like Avendor, he has some really exciting chapters with a big focus. I’d have liked to see more Shade as she is possibly by favourite character, it does feel like everything’s being set up for some big scenes for her in book 4 though admittedly.
“You’re walking a road of glass here, Shade. One wrong step and the whole thing could shatter beneath you.”
Something that I had hopes for before reading was a bit more information about the shadowbeasts (The Dachyra!), and the so far fairly mysterious forces at work against our protagonists. I was definitely satisfied in this respect, without everything being revealed. I really want to see more of The Burnt Man, and The Shadow. This book really steps it up a notch with the villains and we are a step closer to finding more out about The Veiled One who is calling the shots.
We get some brilliant character development and I can’t help but feel Matthews really understands people. He knows how to pull at the heartstrings, he knows how to make the reader feel tense, how to build affection for a character and how to introduce new ones in ways that make you instantly drawn to them. The best thing is how different all the characters are yet still remain well written and interesting. Again as I’ve written in the reviews for the first two books, this is done in less than 200 pages with room still dedicated to expanding on and adding depth to the world. With each book Varkas feels more vibrant, exciting and full of character.
If you enjoyed books 1 and 2, I can almost guarantee you will enjoy book 3. For me personally, Deck Matthews’ excellent writing is top notch again. From what I felt were a couple of great books to enjoy when I fancied a shorter read, I am really excited for what I believe will be a seriously fantastic series – Matthews has left no doubt on his capability as one of the most promising new fantasy authors and I sincerely hope with each new book, more people take notice of someone who is bringing a fresh new take to the genre with an episodic format that works wonderfully, with fantastic characters and story. Can’t wait for the next one.