Shadow Moon

George Lucas and Chris Claremont

Bantam Books. $22.50
(paper $5.99)

In 1986, George Lucas produced the fantasy film Willow, about the misadventures of a would-be wizard who rescues an infant destined to deliver the world from evil. Now for the rest of the story . . . .

Shadow Moon, described as "First in the Chronicles of the Shadow War," takes place thirteen years later. Willow, now an itinerant wizard calling himself Thorn, travels to the capital for the ceremonies for Elora Danan's ascension as Sacred Princess. Instead, he finds himself in prison while an imposter-Willow tries to pervert Elora's destiny to his own evil ends.

Lucas and Claremont take an interesting twist on an old theme -- a "Sacred Princess Destined to Save the World" (who happens to be a spoiled rotten brat) -- and botch it. For one thing, the book is badly paced. Except for vaguely described destruction twelve years earlier and an opening skirmish with some hellhounds, nothing overtly evil appears until halfway through (this, in an epic fantasy!).

The writing is worse yet. Both authors come from backgrounds in very visual media (Lucas in film, Claremont in comic books) and their skills do not necessarily translate well to written words alone. They write as if trying to compensate for a tendency toward visual action and, doing so, have stifled the book in suffocating prose and metaphor. They even try hard to kill the action as well: "Khory used her sword to block it, her blade slicing the thorn in twain and thereby dissipating its force."

It's a lot of words for a lot of nothing.


This review originally appeared in the June 30, 1996 edition of The Roanoke Times.


The Chronicles of the Shadow War:

Shadow Moon. Bantam Books, 1995
Shadow Dawn. Bantam Books, 1997
Shadow Star. Bantam Books, 1999

Other gems of bad writing from Shadow Moon:

It was a haunting face, defined by planes and angles so sharp they might have been cut by a master stonemason, as many edges to his features as to his personality; in feature, in body, here was a man distilled to his quintessence, pale of skin, hair of white gold.


This review copyright 1996 by Wendy Morris
Information last updated August 14, 2000

[Wendy's Book Review Page]  [New Reviews]  [Sort by Author]  [Sort by Title]  [Sort by Genre]