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The Shattered Crown (Steelhaven: Book Two): 2 Paperback – 13 Mar 2014

4.2 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Headline (13 Mar. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755394062
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755394067
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 3.1 x 23.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,008,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

You'll find yourself looking forward to what Ford dreams up next (SFX)

Exciting and different (The British Fantasy Society)

A perfect example of tight, gritty, character-driven storytelling (Luke Scull, author of The Grim Company)

If you like your fantasy full of guts and glory and with a clever plot then this is for you (Fantasy Faction)

Violent, vicious and darkly funny. Book Two can't come fast enough (Fantasy Faction)

A series to watch. Great stuff (Falcata Times)

Book Description

Steelhaven book 2: Blood oaths are sworn and broken in a city facing total annihilation as Ford's epic fantasy series continues.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By JPS TOP 100 REVIEWER on 23 Mar. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am afraid that volume 2 of the series did not work well for me, and was not as good as the first instalment, which itself was reasonably good but not original. The main item in favour of this book is the fast pace of the plot.

Even there, however, this is somewhat artificial, with the author managing to write some 391 pages without showing us once the fearsome invaders from the North who are expected any day but keep coming all through the book. This is a bit of a wasted opportunity and a pity. It also makes the story a bit inconsistent. By the end of Herald of the Storm, the northern invaders have vanquished. The king had been killed and his army shattered. Throughout this book, however, you get the distinct impression that the kingdom’s forces, while retreating to the capital, are still trying to stop the enemy, or at least fighting rear-guard actions. So, shattered or not so shattered? While this feature could have been intended to as a way to create suspense, the author has relied on it too much and it just did not work for me.

Another background feature that was largely missing was the defence of the capital city. I was expecting scenes of the walls and fortifications being repaired or strengthened. Convoys of supplies brought in by sea and land. The citizen militia would undergo hasty and summary weapon training. There is very little or even none of all that, with the story being mostly about the city’s criminal underworld (the Guild). Even the mercenaries who have supposedly flocked to the capital in search of employment are a rather pitiful lot and total just three companies and little over a hundred fighters altogether. In other words, certainly not enough to make a difference against the forty thousand enemies that are expected to besiege it.
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Format: Paperback
Last year I was quite taken with Herald of the Storm, the first book in the Steelhaven trilogy, so I was very much looking forward to this second instalment called The Shattered Crown. I liked the setting, the tone of the first novel, and the fact that there were many different flavours of type of story in the book. On the other hand I had some difficulties with the pacing and some of the characters. I was hoping that Ford would improve on the points I found lacking and keep everything I liked. And he did, mostly.

While in the previous book the seven viewpoint characters each had their own story arc for the most part, which only overlapped some of the time, the events of said book have conspired to clump the viewpoints together in fewer storylines. This clustering of the different viewpoints created a clearer movement in the plot, allowing the pace to pick up more and the narrative feel less jumpy; even if we are head-hopping, we don't hop storylines as often, so it seems more of a continuous whole. The story arcs are now mainly divided between the palace, the Greencoats, the Tower of Magisters and the underworld of Steelhaven. There is one significant viewpoint added, which is that of Regulus, former chief of the Sho'tana, a Southern mountain tribe. His is the outsider's view and an interesting extension of our view of the world Ford's created and of Steelhaven.

The characters I had some trouble with last time, mostly were better in this book, but unfortunately there is also a character that became decidedly less enjoyable than last time. Whereas I thought Rag and River could have been easily been omitted from the previous book, this time around Rag was vital and I loved her story line.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The second installment of a three or four installment series always seems to me to be the hardest. You need to build on the good premise and interesting character arcs developed in the first novel, expand the world building and bring in new elements all while setting up for the final chapter.

I'm pleased to say the Richard Ford has managed to most of those things very well. The action, complex characters and interesting conflagration of events are all here, just as his first novel. The author has interesting and funny internal monologues and some really top drawer dialogue.

Overall I think that 4.5* is fair, it is a great book in its own right but is just the merest distant short of the first novel but does set things up wonderfully for the next book.
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By Paul Tapner TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 30 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A fantasy novel. Second in a trilogy. That began with Herald of the Storm (Steelhaven: Book One) (Steelhaven 1) All about the city of Steelhaven, which faces threats both military based and internal.

This volume runs for three hundred and ninety one pages. It's divided into fifty four chapters. Plus a prologue and an epilogue. The lack of anything much in the way of exposition as to what went before means it's not a good jumping on point. So new readers should start with book one.

Those who have read that, read on.

As with said first book, this one contains strong language and some very brutal moments of violence.

When we left the story at the end of book one, River and Waylian both had missions. Merrick and Kaira had new roles. As did Rag. Nobul was still with the Greencoats. Janessa has to face up to new responsibilities.

Once again, the story focuses on the group of viewpoint characters that were introduced at the start of the series, with a different one the subject of each chapter.

Although

[mild spoiler]

one of them barely features. And one is added to their ranks. Regulus, a warrior of the Zatani people from the south of the realm. Who has brought a group of warriors with him on a quest for great honour. The first couple of chapters to feature Regulus could seem like clichéd noble warrior savage moments, but there's one gloriously evocative bit of scenery in his first chapter. And then when you realise where his storyline might go he starts to grab.

Meanwhile, as the threat of invasion draws ever closer and turmoil grips the city, it's leaders face stark choices for he fight ahead.
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