I just wanted to post a review of "Shadows of the Dark Crystal" by J.M. Lee. I've just finished reading it, and I must say that I'm very impressed. I figured that I would like it, but it was everything I hoped it would be and then some. I'm going to attempt to write this review without spoilers because I highly recommend that you read this book yourself. You will enjoy it, especially if you enjoyed the movie.
The characters are very likable and have excellent motivations for what they do. Their arguments and bantering flows very naturally. At the end of the book there are even some surprises about the motivations of certain characters that I didn't expect. It was great to see the differences between the various clans of Gelfling. I'm hoping that in future books we'll be introduced to the remaining clans as well. The differences between the cultures fueled many interesting conversations with the characters, and it was wonderful the way they banded together to face something greater than their differences.
I was pleasantly surprised with the dark tone of the book. One of the things that most of us remember about the Dark Crystal was that the movie terrified us as children. I'm pleased that these books can frighten a new generation in the same way. The Skeksis are far scarier than the ones in the movie. This might be because they're younger and stronger, but there is another element that makes them particularly terrifying in that they are the ones capturing the Gelfling themselves. They actually kill some of the main characters by the end of the book. (No, I'm not telling you which ones...) Also, the character of "The Hunter" essentially the bogeyman of all Gelfling, and was written in such a way he lived up to the part.
The descriptions of the various settings are very good, as with the descriptions of the characters. Even without the beautiful pictures (and the pictures are gorgeous), you get a very good idea of what everything looks like and there are very few confusing descriptions, especially for a book based in a fantasy universe. While there is a glossary in the back, it's hardly necessary since most of the analogies the characters make are clear enough to get a good idea of what they're referring too, and the "real world" references are at a minimum which shows Lee's experience as a fantasy writer.
I highly recommend this book. It took me only two days to read it because I couldn't put it down. From those of you who read this blog, you know I have two children, so finding time to read this within two days means it had to be exceptionally good. ;-) Well done, Joey. I'm looking very forward to the next one. I knew they picked the right person to write it.
Go buy this book right now!