Shadowfire

originally published as Vazkor, Son of Vazkor (1978)

sequel to The Birthgrave

by Tanith Lee

DAW Books, 2015

Adult Dark Fantasy

Summary: Tuvek has a complicated parentage and he has abilities that make him a great warrior of his people but he’s always the outsider. A monumental shift occurs when his tribe is attacked, he goes to rescue the captured, and their enemies call him by a different name.

Overall this one is hard to review and even harder to recommend. It’s a sequel to Birthgrave so that makes it a challenge but also this one is about a character who is so difficult to follow. Tuvek is the child of the tribes but also of unknown parentage. He has the ability to heal. It helps him as a warrior but also makes him an outsider. And we follow him as he grows up, marries, and has children. Tuvek is a stereotypical alpha male. He’s aggressive and dominating. Things shift a tiny amount after his people are attacked, some are captured and he goes to save them. And I would argue it doesn’t really shift for the better. But the biggest shift doesn’t happen until the very end.

Another argument can be made for this story really being about the women around him. How both of his mothers are treated by society. How he feels about them and treats them even as he rages at one father and almost worships the other. His wives are treated differently according to their temperment. Tuvek’s garbage behavior is just expected, he doesn’t examine it. Demezdor has a similar conflict to his mother. They hate and love the manly men they are with, their methods for dealing with it are different. Although, some of these actions are what finally get Tuvek to examine things. Not too deeply though.

If nothing else this is thought-provoking for the reader. I don’t regret reading it even though it took months to finish but I’m not going to be rushing into the third one.

2 thoughts on “Review: Shadowfire

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