Original Books

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Flight of Shadows by Sigmund Brouwer

Now that Caitlyn Brown has escaped the bondage of Appalachia, she is running for her life in the wilds of the Outside. Multiple different groups are chasing her for one reason-her DNA is the most valuable in the world. Caitlyn cannot easily hide because on many counts, her wings give her away. She decides to gamble and throws in her lot with Razor, a street illusionist whom she can only half-trust. He helps her to understand many things about the Outside she never knew before, from city-states to the caste system. Caitlyn wants to meet up with her Appalachian friends who helped her escape, Billy and Theo, but she does not know of their whereabouts. The only choice she has is to trust Razor to lead her to one of her father's friends that will hide her until she can escape to the west. She is more valuable alive than dead, so Caitlyn forces herself to take drastic measures.

I said that Broken Angel did not need a sequel, but it probably did, because Sigmund had many ideas bottled up in his mind that he needed to exhaust in this novel. He has many interesting theories about the near future that are highly probable. He has crafted a very intriguing setting with these ideas. However, the under-developed characters from Broken Angel were not developed in Flight of Shadows. They remained the same as they were. Another major aspect that keeps this book off the Elite List is many typical plot elements at the end. Sigmund could have done better than this.

Razor is the best character because he is the only one with a personality at all. All the other characters are imperfect, but not a single one has a personality like Razor does. For all the time spent on Caitlyn, Sigmund only developed a vague idea of a personality for her. This goes for all the other characters as well. I usually like the presence of multiple villains, but Mason Lee from Broken Angel did not need to make a comeback. He is a cheesy serial killer villain who adds nothing to the plot. The other villains are more interesting because they actually have purposes.

The Outside is an interesting world and an extension of Sigmund Brouwer's fascinating mind. This setting is the strongest plot element because it is something that could happen within the next one hundred years. In this way, Flight of Shadows demonstrates the qualities of a good sequel. However, it does not in other ways. Brouwer has always held a fascination for genetics and DNA, a fascination that is repeated through Caitlyn. A winged person was an interesting concept from Broken Angel, yet in Flight of Shadows, Sigmund goes a little too far with her mysterious genetic makeup. Besides this, there is a cheesy showdown between all the main characters and all the villains that ends typically.

Basically, there are some really interesting things about Flight of Shadows and some really typical things about Flight of Shadows. Had Sigmund eliminated Mason Lee and some of Caitlyn's invincibility, this book could have been Elite. Sigmund has been consistently inconsistent in his writing career, and it would be nice for him to settle down on one side of the fence.

3.5 stars

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