The Zane Halloway novellas by P.T. Hylton continues with the second installment, Swords and Shadows. I really liked the first novella, Thorns and Tangles, because it features a likable lead character and an intriguing magic system. Swords and Shadows builds on Thorns and Tangles by adding more political conflicts and Zane gets involved with more powerful individuals.
Zane Halloway is an assassin for a special guild of spy like individuals. His apprentice is the young Lily, a girl that always has Zane’s back, but is in the dark about Halloway’s past. In this novella Zane gets a mysterious job offer from a person of great power. Surprisingly to Zane, the person wanting to hire his “special services” is none other than the King himself.
I really liked this novella. It was written much stronger than Thorns and Tangles in my opinion. One of my criticisms of Thorns and Tangles was that there wasn’t enough description and non-dialogue scenes. Hylton still has a lot of great dialogue but adds a little more description that really showcased Zane and Lily’s abilities. I am looking forward to seeing the progression into the next few novellas too.
The plot of Swords and Shadows really worked for me. I don’t want to give too much away but it is nice to see some political intrigue thrown into this series. Zane is thrown into a situation that is difficult for him to figure out but it is great to see the resolution that he comes up. Lily completely steals the show in this novella though. Her character is coming into her own and I loved every scene with her practicing her craft.
These fantasy novellas are great to read when you are bogged down in something long or heavy. They are a quick read, cheap, and entertaining. This Zane Halloway series reminds me a lot of some novellas or short story fiction that I’ve read from R.A. Salvatore. I think if you enjoy R.A. Salvatore, I think you will like these novellas.
15/25 Possible Score
Plot – 4(Strong)
Characters – 3(Good)
World Building/Setting – 3(Good)
Writing Style – 3(Good)
Heart & Mind Aspect – 2(O.K)