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
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
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