I'm getting towards the end of Book 2 (Pattern) at the moment and thought now was a good time to give my thoughts on Shadow.
It's impossible to quantify the scope of the plot in Shadow simply because I still don't know what the plot is. OK I've followed the adventures of Poldarn for a while now but there's something else going on that I'm not yet sure of, although I'm starting to get some ideas.
It's a bit like Agatha Christie in some respects. A mystery, littered with clues and red herrings. During the first book I was wishing I was a single man again, able to sit in the back garden on a Sunday and read through the whole book in one sitting (OK maybe two for one this thick). Because there's so much information thrown at you in such a confused manner that it's hard to take it all in. Mind you, you do end up in the same situation as Poldarn does, having lots of "I'm sure I'm supposed to already know something about this" sort of way.
For anybody enjoying the first book but feeling buried under information, I can tell you that the second is more relaxing. We are told at the end of the first book who Poldarn is (although I'm still suspicious) so the second is more about character development, and about filling in some of the memory lapses. And the feeling of deja vu still keeps coming back.
It's just such a nice change to have a fantasy book with some real mystery to it.