Published November 2014 by DAW
A Play of Shadow continues the story of Marrowdell that began in A Turn of Light, Czerneda’s last work. In it, we see Jenn and Bannan’s relationship continue to develop, until some unexpected visitors force them to go on an unexpected journey to help rescue Bannan’s sister from peril.
One of the most intriguing things about the first part of this series was how it inverted the story of the hero’s journey through the magical world that Czerneda established. Central to that was the fact that Jenn couldn’t leave the village of Marrowdell. Her ability to now do so is explained neatly enough, but it initially feels like a difficult idea to accept. It’s a testament to Czerneda’s ability that in the opening act she manages to convince the reader that not only is the journey possible, but that it’s one that Jenn must take.
The characters remain a strong selling point for the book – Jenn and Bannan remain their noble, likeable selves, and the new additions of Bannan’s family provide an interesting context to help us better understand the man himself. The other Marrowdell residents take more of a backseat this time around, but they’re almost all still there and remain their naive-yet-complex selves.
One particularly interesting part of the text is the role that mirrors and reflections play throughout it. This is explicitly true in the plot, with a magic mirror playing a role at one part, but also in the contrasting images of Marrowdell and Channen on opposing sides of the Verge. It will be interesting to see how this affects any later parts of the story – the two books published so far work wonderfully as counterparts to each other, and it seems like there would be little i f any space for another book to fit.