Joint Review – Falling Light (Game of Shadows #2) by Thea Harrison

Falling Light cover image
Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: Out now
How we got this book: ARC from the publisher via Netgalley

Having finally reunited, and fought off The Deceiver for now, Mary and Michael race up the Michigan peninsula to meet Astra before police forces catch up with them. But the closer they get, the less Mary is willing to trust a woman who by her own admission will do anything to finish The Deceiver – even if it means killing Michael and Mary to try again in another life. As they face their final battle unsure if they can trust either side, Michael’s loyalties are tested, making him vulnerable just when Mary needs him most.
This blurb came from the author’s website.

E: I read and reviewed the first installment of Harrison’s Game of Shadows duology Rising Darkness with Has last year. We both found it very different from her Elder Races novels but intriguing enough and with a hook so we requested the final installment. If you do not read the first one you will NOT understand this one because it literally starts right after the first installment ended. Luckily enough for me I found the ending of Rising Darkness vivid enough that I was able to slip right back into the world, but I would still recommend a refresher even if you read it before. Falling Light continued to raise the tension and showed the possibility of danger not just from The Deceiver but also from the woman who was supposed to have all the answers. As Mary and Michael continued to work through their fated but not exactly chosen bond the stakes for their future happiness and that of the world increased.

Has: Oh I totally agree, this book is very much like the second half of a much larger story, which is epic in scope and settings. Because it covers, so different past lives and a battle between good and evil over thousands of years. While I had mixed feelings about the first book, I found Falling Light, made more sense with the world-building because it answered a few questions and niggles I had with the first book, Rising Darkness. The clues that Thea Harrison sets up in the first book were expanded and cemented the mythology and the back-story of Michael and Mary with their mission. It felt more cohesive and the action was fast pace from the get-go – which is why I felt this book very much felt like a true second half of a larger book.

E: What I found rather compelling about this second half was the transition or rather addition of relationship challenges. Michael and Mary, even though their souls had been paired through the centuries, were not automatically perfect for a relationship together. They had to work through not just the detritus of the past but also the emotional scarring caused by their 900 year separation. Added to that tension was the underlying sensation that Astra, the woman they were depending on, wasn’t exactly on their side as partners. Her obsession with the Deceiver at the cost of everything else made it a challenge for Mary to relax and regain her skills. I did absolutely love it when they went against Astra’s wishes to help their allies because it kept them anchored to the world.

Has: I really liked the twists and turns which Mary and Michael had to face, especially with those they regarded as their closest ally, Astra who wasn’t as benevolent as she seemed. This added a cool twist to the book, as well a tense dynamic which added suspense to the plot, that kept me guessing about Astra’s true motives. I also felt the romance which developed further in the second half and I liked that there were issues and doubts which both Michael and Mary had to work on because their previous lives was disrupted by the danger that Deceiver had caused them, they’ve never really had time be reunited as a couple, other than a few moments or tragic endings with their previous lives.

I also liked how developments happened with the periphery characters like Nicholas, who worked closely with Astra and Michael but was murdered and is now existing a ghost. I felt that there was huge promise with the way plot twist to his character which was bittersweet and sad.

E: Oh my yes. I would LOVE to see Nicholas’ story because of all the feels! As the inevitable confrontation grew closer, it seemed as if the twists and turns continued to arrive. Both the Deceiver and Astra stepped up their efforts to counter each other. We also found out exactly why Astra was so different from Michael and Mary which clarified several things and made me wonder if the good guys were going to win and exactly how I would define the good guys.

Has: I definitely hope that Thea Harrison will continue this series and concentrate on Nicholas because it there are plot threads which are left open, but you are definitely satisfied and happy with the ending for Michael and Mary. But I would love to see more of this world being explored, because the mythology that is set up is rich and intriguing and while I am not a huge fan of reincarnation plot-lines, this was well done. I would also love to learn about the beings that Mary and Michael came from and hope that if there is a continuation, we will to know more about their world.

I found Falling Light to be much tighter with a plot that answers a lot of the questions that were set up in the first book. Although I have to warn you, you need to read the first book, because in many ways this is the second of a much larger book. The romance between Michael and Mary was fleshed out even more, and there was still tensions and issues which I like. Because with reincarnation plot-lines it can be easy to avoid this and that lessens the impact for the romance but overall, Thea Harrison, has created an interesting world and mythology filled with mystery and I loved the imagery that was used to describe the otherworldly beings disguised as humans. I hope she revisits it again!

I give Falling Light a B-

E: I agree with Has that Falling Light seemed a much tighter story. I know part of that is because the majority of the world-building took place in Rising Darkness. If you were waiting to check out this series I say buy them both and glom because I think reading them back to back will be very rewarding. Despite my fears about the results of the final confrontation I was extremely satisfied by that and the minor epilogue. Looking back the conclusion made total sense given the hints Harrison included along the way but I was so caught up in reading and the uncertainty I didn’t string them together until I could relax and breathe again. While very different in voice and tone from Harrison’s Elder Races series it contained the same attention to detail for the underpinning and the mythology behind her characters. I do hope Harrison treats us to Nicholas and future events in this particular world.

I give Falling Light a B.

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Comments

  1. xaurianx says

    I really did not like the first book, so I was not planning on buying/reading this one at all. Perhaps I will borrow it from my best friend. Glad you both enjoyed it ladies.

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  2. Jen Twimom says

    Great review, thanks! I completely agree. I really struggled with the first title, but liked the concept. I’m really glad I picked up Falling Light – but didn’t realize until I’d finished it that the series is over. I agree – I hope that Ms. Harrison will continue a spinoff with Nicholas!

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