Shadow Grail #2: Conspiracies Hardcover – Jul 5 2011
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Lackey and Edghill know how to spin a yarn, immediately pulling the reader into Spirit's mourning psyche as well as the fast-paced action of the mystery, mixing marvelous elements of fairy tales and mythology into both the plot and references in the students'Magical History class.…There's also a touch of romance, and readers who appreciate everything from X -Men to Harry Potter will be begging for the sequel. (Booklist on Shadow Grail #1: Legacies)
The authors expertly balance a heady mixture of mystery and teenage romance in this well-paced first of the Shadow Grail series. (RT Book Reviews on Shadow Grail #1: Legacies)
About the Author
Mercedes Lackey is the author of the bestselling Valdemar series, the Obsidian Trilogy (The Outstretched Shadow, To Light a Candle, and When Darkness Falls), the Enduring Flame trilogy (The Phoenix Unchained, The Phoenix Endangered, and The Phoenix Transformed), and the Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms. She has written many other books, including Trio of Sorcery, Phoenyx and Ashes, Sacred Ground, The Firebird, The Fairy Godmother, and Alta. Lackey is the co-author, with Andre Norton, of the Halfblood Chronicles, including Elvenborn. Mercedes Lackey was born in Chicago and graduated from Purdue University. She has worked as an artist's model, a computer programmer, and for American Airlines, and has written lyrics and recorded more than fifty songs. She lives in Oklahoma.
Rosemary Edghill is a prolific writer in several genres, under her own name and various pseudonyms. She lives in upstate New York with several cats and several Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, which she shows in obedience competitions.See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This is the second installment in the Shadow Grail series. Relationships within Spirit's circle of friends develop and change. And a new student is introduced - the only one who may be more frightened than Spirit about their situation. With good reason. As Spirit and her friends begin learning more about the school and its hidden history, even more questions arise.
Conspiracies is a well-paced adventure with plenty of drama, angst, and suspense. The Shadow Grail series is a developing, complex, over-arching story that seems to be slowly unraveling in each installment. As the intensity builds to an exciting conclusion, it's apparent that many questions still linger. And there are more than a few twists and surprises along the way. This is a spellbinding series for fantasy fans that enjoy intrigue, mystery, and a bit of romance.
I'd recommend this book to anyone who a) likes boarding school novels b) likes young adult fantasy c) likes young adult dystopias d)those who enjoy Mercedes Lackey's more science fiction and less fantasy style books, I'm not sure the Valdemar lover will find what they're looking for here.
Then there were the characters. The bad guys were practically dressed in black twirling their moustaches while chortling in evil glee. There was the new student brought in SOLELY to explain the premise, then she was killed or removed. She even got back story. There was the Russian man who is both a blonde jock and Mafia. The computer people are nerds and even Spirit is changed into a hippie child, when before she was less hippie and more average kid.
The plot is weakened by all this too. I got to the end battle, and while it was mildly exciting I didn't get a sense that this was the climax. Then it was over, and the wrap up was confusing. Burke asks Spirit a question, which she doesn't answer and suddenly all the kids (even her) are acting as if she did. Then the story ends. Huh?
I am usually inclined to not just like Lackey books, but to love them, but this book is very disappointing. The end felt cut off as if to force you to get book 3 just to learn what happened. If I do, it will be from the library, as these really aren't worth full price, even full Kindle price.
Even if Spirit were not still mourning the deaths of her family, Oakhurst would remain a pretty grim place, with luxury all around but no real moments of lightness or fun. The full-on competitiveness of the place continues, but now fear brought on by a series of magical attacks on the student body as a whole has turned the studies more toward combat and self-defense than producing aggressively well-rounded students. The arrival of powerful alumni, ostensibly to protect the school, is another source of danger. Destruction of student friendships seems to be a high priority, and indeed Spirit is separated from her friends for a few days, but it seems odd that a group of five students who eat together virtually every meal, attend events together, and play Monopoly so frequently wouldn't be more conspicuous targets for this policy. A new student, Elizabeth, is given a detailed backstory and seems to be a great source of information for Spirit, but she disappears right after telling all to Spirit--a rather disappointing payoff for all the buildup.
The authors have positioned themselves well for the next book. The foreshadowing ensures that it will be anticipated by the readers, although a publication date cannot be found. Hopefully the authors will address small questions such as other magic schools as well as following the main plots.