If you've read the first novel in this series and are uncertain about getting the second one, trust me on this: GET IT. You will love it. And if you've never read any of Kate Forsyth's work before, get it too - it's a great introduction to her richly imagined world of witches, faeries, and lords.
Rhiannon is a half-satyricorn who unwittingly gets herself caught up in the affairs of the country of Eileanan when she flees her tribe. Found to possess strong magic, Lewen, a young man who finds her hurt in the forest on a winged horse, urges her to cultivate her powers at the Tower of Two Moons. But first she must face charges of murder and treason: Rhiannon has killed a Yeomen of the guard.
We get to really delve into all the characters in THE SHINING CITY. From Lachlan, the ruling Rìgh of Eileanan, to seemingly flighty Bronwen, engaged to the heir, every single character is driven by their own beliefs, ambitions, and wants. The best part of it all is that it's all completely believable, and when I say "completely," I mean it. Forsyth is gifted with the ability to really get to the heart of every single driving force in her characters.
The constant change in perspective Forsyth provides us with gives us a better look at the bigger picture, and it really works to illustrate the scope and depth she has imbued her world with. Some authors might stumble here, but she does it with grace and careful attention to detail.
Speaking of detail, the characters all speak in dialect, something that becomes a fun sort of "secret language" that only Forsyth readers know.
This is that rare sequel that is better than its counterpart. While THE TOWER OF RAVENS was wonderful in and of itself, I find that it worked much better as a set-up to all the events in this second book. THE SHINING CITY is jam-packed with adventure, intrigue, romance, drama, and a rich, well-imagined history and fantasy world. This is a book to enjoy!