Hundreds of years earlier, wizards sacrificed their city of learning, Colossae, to stop an evil being known as the Stalker. It could not be destroyed, but it was imprisoned. Since then Travelers, those born with magic, have worked to ensure that the Stalker does not escape. Seraph was a Traveler, but when her clan was wiped out by those who feared their powers, she ceased using her magic. One of the last of the mages, she settles down with her rescuer, the ex-soldier Tier, and raises a family. Then Tier goes missing, and it appears the Stalker may be close to escaping. Seraph's children inherited their mother's magic, and to protect them she must return to a life she thought she'd left behind.
Seraph is a likeable heroine, and her quest to save her family will resonate with many readers. Set in a fairly typical medieval fantasy world, where magic is feared and misunderstood, this book's standard plotline is set apart by its role reversal. Left without the protection she was used to, Seraph is forced to take on the hero's role, using her wits as well as her magic to rescue her husband. The strength of Tier and Seraph's relationship is another strong point, and it's encouraging to see older characters set as both heroes and lovers.
Though it lacks a bit of the urgency and drama of Brigg's Dragon books, Raven's Shadow is an exciting and touching tale. It's self-contained enough to give the reader a satisfying sense of completion by the end, while leaving room for a sequel that will be highly anticipated. (Aug., 352 pp., $7.99)
Jen Talley Exum