A thank you goes to A.P. Stephens for sending me the electronic copy.
I read and reviewed the first book The Stolen Moon of Londor which has been a solid start of the series.
Most of the time I try to write a kind of summary in my own words but in case of Shameless Wonders I go for the official synopsis which delivers everything you need to know
"SHAMELESS WONDERS continues the quest of Randor Miithra, wizard and servant to the elf-gods, as he leads his followers in search of the missing moon, Beldas. Across the troubled lands of Londor, the shadows of a relentless darkness have reached the broken borders of many kingdoms. Evil forces seek to manipulate and enslave the land and its people, with enemies both new and old vowing to yield to no one until victory is had.There are three obvious differences between The Stolen Moon of Londor and Shameless Wonders.
As Randor and his company hasten into the south toward the dark realm of Valadure, the origin of the world’s downfall, they experience firsthand the treacheries of evil. Yet in their search to restore balance to the world of Londor, they must overcome more than the banners of darkness that stand before them. As internal discord and tragedy drive the company members apart, it seems they are farther than ever from returning Londor to the peace and prosperity it once knew. Prophesies are realized, deceit is revealed, and dreams are cast asunder. Not all is what it seems to be.
With the greatest of evil in their midst, can Randor Miithra and his companions overcome the power of the one who holds the key to healing Londor? One night can change the fortunes of all." [Source]
Look at the covers: They are like night and day. I must say I have been surprised by theShameless Wonders cover. Who is that female elf with the piercing glance? Isn't she too slinky? And how can she walk in that kind of shoes? There will be now explanation for the shoes but you will meet her in the story. And yes, she is as tough as she appears on the cover.
It would be interesting to know if the cover influenced the sales figures.
I must admit I'm nosy to see the cover of the third and last book in The White Shadow Saga.
The second significant difference is the number of pages . The Stolen Moon of Londor stand for 283 pages. Shameless Wonders delivers 420 pages!! A fresh cover and more pages does not give any hint on the quality of the content.
The epic story started in The Stolen Moon of Londor continues in Shameless Wonders without a break. Randor and his fellow combatants are on their way to the south in order to bring back the stolen moon of Londor. All the characters we got to know in The Stolen Moon of Londor are back and A.P. Stephens is not afraid of introducing new characters and he does not hesitate to kill main characters. That sounds confusing but it works due to the vastly improved characterization. It is like to imbue a mummy with life which makes it a lot easier to get in contact with characters and to feel with them. Also there are a lot more and more intense group dynamics processes. On the surface the group of fellow combatants follow Randor. But some of them follow their own plans.
I'm pretty sure you would like to get more information about all the acting persons. I'm sorry I can't deliver that without giving too much away of the story. That leads to the conclusion that the development of the characters is inescapably interwoven with the main storyline.
A.P. Stephens push on the story with tons of action-packed and detailed described fights and battles. There are only a few breaks between them where you can breathe deeply. I know that all the fights and battles are important for the story but to be honest at the end of Shameless Wonders I felt a bit oversaturated with all the fighting.
The third significant difference is the end of Shameless Wonders. There is not only one cliffhanger, there are several. You will leave Shameless Wonders with a handful of questions which will you curse under your breath like "Damn A.P. Stephens it is rude to let me hang with all these questions until the publishing date of the final volume in the The White Shadow Saga."
In an interview over at P.S. I Love Books I found following question and answer:
"I know The White Shadow Saga is a planned trilogy, but you’re also working on some other projects other than the third book in the world of Londor. Can you tell us what we can look forward to from you next?Fall is long. From meteorological point of view Fall lasts from September until the end of November! Hopefully author A.P. Stephens will deliver a more precise publishing date soon .....
I have a new series that is beginning not too far off from the conclusion of The White Shadow Saga. Book 3 is slated for Fall 2011. The new series will start soon thereafter. It is the backstory of one of the characters in this trilogy. "
The White Shadow Saga started decent but promising with The Stolen Moon of Londor. It gathered speed with the action-packed, emotional and character wise blooming Shameless Wonders. Hopefully it will end with an overwhelming firework in the third and final volume.