The Shining Citadel, by A.L. Butcher
* * * * (4 stars)
The Shining Citadel is the second book in The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles. This book centers around the search for a lost city that can help the elves rise from their current sorry state, and gives the backstory on how they fell from their former glory. Archos and Dii are back, along with Olek and Ozena, and are joined by Th'alia, a captive elf who is being forced to lead them into a trap so that the Witch Hunters can claim the riches of the lost Citadel for themselves and get rid of the Archmage Archos, along with Marden, Th'alia's Witch Hunter escort and Talfor, a troll.
As in the first book, the characters are strong, unique, and engaging. It was fun to catch up with Archos, the thoroughly awesome mage, and to see how Dii and the other characters from book 1 are doing. Marden's character arc was especially interesting, as the Witch Hunter comes face to face with the fact that everything he's been taught about elves and mages is a lie. The group - Archos, Dii, Olek, Ozena, Th'alia, Marden, and Talfor - meet up with exciting and dangerous adventures during their search for the Shining Citadel. And the trolls in this world are really cool.
Some long, tangled, run-on sentences make the book a little difficult to read in places, and, as in book 1, there are some very explicit sex scenes. However, readers who prefer to avoid reading explicit material can skim over or skip those scenes without the story being affected.
On the whole, The Shining Citadel is an exciting, heroic fantasy adventure with great characters that kept me reading, wanting to know what happens to the characters and to learn more about this fascinating world.
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