In Solitude's Shadow by David Green
I don’t always go in for high fantasy. The made up words, fake languages, and complicated magic systems don’t always interest me. Sometimes, I find them more confusing than anything. David Green’s In Solitude’s Shadow, on the other hand, does a good job of being easy to follow without being too simple. The fantasy elements enhance the story rather than distract from it and that’s good because it’s an enjoyable story.
There are two main threads being woven together here. Zanna lives in exile at a fortress called Solitude meant to keep a race of people called the Banished at bay. Long neglected and forgotten, the fortress isn’t prepared when a huge army of the Banished appears at their doorstep with a mysterious purpose.
The second main story tracks Calene, Zanna’s estranged daughter, and others as they make their journey to Solitude to join the conflict there. Both women are compelling characters and the nature of their estrangement is one of those wonderfully complex issues where a reader can sympathize with both points of view.
The overall conflict in this world is one that is all too human and much too familiar – distrust in and fear of those who are different than us. Long ago, humans and elves fought side by side against the Banished, but that alliance has crumbled in the years since. Centuries of war, slavery, and genocide now separate the humans and elves, and the characters in our story are forced to confront these issues head on in their lives.
This is the first book in a series. There are definitely some loose ends to be tied up, but the book still feels like a complete story on its own. I enjoyed this book immensely and look forward to the next installment.