Lorna Freeman’s Borderlands series has seen its ups and downs for me. Shadows Past is cut from the same cloth; I just felt like it took a long time to tell next to no story, and then all the good parts were crammed into the end.
The main character, Rabbit, has been constantly changing throughout this series. His story is very interesting, between his upbringing in a wild and magical part of the world and his ties to the royalty of a nearby nation. His growth as a person and his maturation, however, still leave me very uncomfortable. I just don’t buy into his weak demeanor when he has spent so much time as a soldier and has been through the hard experiences he has. Freeman can’t seem to make up her mind between making him a tough trooper or a mooning boy-child.
Shadows Past follows Rabbit on a journey to the far-off province of Mearden, where he is being looked at as a potential match for a noble’s daughter. It makes sense considering what has happened in the rest of the books thus far, but again, Rabbit still seems too much like a boy rather than a maturing young man. There are some explanations for his behavior that just seem a bit weak when compared to the powerful person he is supposed to be growing into.
Rabbit’s adventures in Mearden felt like he was walking through a fog for most of the story. His reactions just don’t add up to me. There are plenty of interesting events, however, and Freeman keeps building the world and the very complex inter-relations of magic and normal people. Good stuff.
Shadows Past is another good installment. You need to be up to speed on the Borderlands series to be able to really follow it well. I wish I’d reread the other two books before reading this, because there were a lot of plot threads that I had trouble tracking. On the whole, though, Shadows Past is a good book once things really get going.