In the second volume of the Shamra trilogy, Dara must learn who she is and where her people came from if she plans to confront the Chaos that threatens her people.
After defeating the Trocs in Curse of the Shamra, the first volume of The Shamra Chronicles, child hero Dara returns to assess the damage and prepare for her next battle against her greatest foe yet. But, despite the previous novel’s momentum, she must first learn about her people, the Shamra, their struggles and how they came to leave their homeland. Briana, who had appeared in Dara’s dreams, relates the lengthy history of the Shamra people as the two girls evade their enemies in a game of cat-and-mouse. Two hundred years ago, the Shamra were enslaved by the Kimra; Dara’s ancestor Drea led the rebellion to overthrow them. In a prescient move after the Pyrrhic victory, the priest, farmer and artisan clans fled the land in search of safer realms. But the fierce hunter clan, led by Drea, stayed, although a core group of hunters traveled with the priest-led refugees to ensure that their true history was not lost. The refugees suffered under the priests’ demands for female subservience—a pervasive issue in the saga—while Drea struggled with in-fighting and betrayal among her clan. As new generations mature, a pattern of misogyny and disloyalty develops in the Shamra people, with recurrent themes of the burden of leadership, the thrill of the hunt and the general unreliability of males. The repetition grows tiresome. Eventually, the Shamra discover that their immorality is not innate—it’s the working of Chaos, a force that infiltrates societies and destroys them from within. Dara’s ancestors defeated and temporarily contained Chaos, but now it threatens to break loose and corrupt the Sharma yet again. Being the middle book of the trilogy, this volume contains mostly backstory with no attempt at conclusion, which wouldn’t disappoint if its presentation weren’t so muddled. Fans of the first volume and readers looking for another realm to explore will enjoy the world-building, but they’ll have to wait until the series’ next volume to see if Dara truly is the savior she’s prophesized to be.
Strong messages about female empowerment permeate an inventive fantasy waiting for its conclusion.