Oh no. No no no. The WORST has happened. The absolute worst. It’s a… (gasp) not-great sequel (wails, gnashes teeth).

Dramatic, ofc, because it’s not a terrible book, just… not as good as the first (read and reviewed last year). I really loved the first book. Like, REEEAALLY. It was so good. brilliant characters, fantastic plot, scrumptious pictures, etc. But this one… sigh. I had High Hopes. I even preordered it (rarely do that). So excited to finally get it. And… sigh.

The story starts immediately after the ultimate one. Bea and Cad have survived a nasty battle with the Feather Knights, who now have the Jar of Flame and are taking it to The Bird. Which means, obvs, utter doom – as The Bird will consume all the Lights in Irpa and plunge the world into darkness. Yikes!

So Bea and Cad set off on a quest. Well kind of. They need to find Bea’s grandpa, the Pig Wizard, first. He keeps leaving handy expositional paper money for them to read. They also handily ignore his handy instructions and then, predictably, mess things up. By the middle of the book, things have not improved for them.

So nice to look at: Lightfall: Shadow of the Bird by Tim Probert cover design

I’m afraid the plot is messy and indistinct in this book. What started out as something solid and secure in book one comes rapidly undone here. I found it tough to follow the mythology, which seems pretty crucial in a fantasy setting. Maybe I was just tired? Likely. But also, having reread book one the day before, I was in a position to compare and contrast – and book two definitely lacks cohesion.

The fantastic characters are still there, with side characters from book one getting enlarged roles. But where is the sparky dialogue? The witty one-liners? I wanted another ‘crabby shriek’ occasion. I did not get one. Even Bea and Cad start grating after a while. Their traits that were endearing in book one are not so much here. Cad is too flip, and doesn’t listen. Bea worries too much. And has some link with the Bird, which is hinted at but is too indistinct to really find interesting.

Obvs the images are lush. It’s a world I want to visit. But I’m so sad! I wanted to love it and didn’t. Bad times.

In short…

I hope I’m wrong and other Lightfall fans adore this. It deserves to do well. I’m just old and grumpy. I did like it, just didn’t love it, 7/10

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