Book Review: THE SHINING ONES by David Eddings

Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: yes - second book of trilogy



Book cover for THE SHINING ONES: title in black on a white city with towers on a blue background

Sparhawk and Queen Ehlana must do everything they can to educate Tamuli Emperor Sarabian in the art of leadership if they are to have any chance of standing against the evil focus that threaten their kingdoms.

Sarabian’s enemies are regrouping and once again plan to attempt to take the empire for themselves.

But more disturbing than the political machinations of court, there have been reported sightings of Shining Ones among the hordes of monsters roaming the land. If Sparhawk and his allies are to have any hope of defeating this growing threat they must resurrect the sacred jewel of the Troll-Gods, otherwise the fate of not just their kingdoms, but the entire world, will be at stake… 

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


THE SHINING ONES does fall a bit into the typical second book of a trilogy pattern – there’s a lot of moving people around, gathering allies, and putting out fires as new ones are created. It’s interesting, but it certainly doesn’t standalone.

There is, however, a very enjoyable government overthrow sequence, and lots of minor schemes (the paperwork ruse is fun too!) I certainly enjoyed Ehlana’s solo bits when she and Sparhawk are apart more than his. I think the absence of Tynian reduces the banter in Sparhawk’s group, and instead there’s a fair bit of romantic drama.

Unlike previous books, this one is multi-POV. Sparhawk is still the main character, and most of the chapters are from his perspective. However, there are scattered chapters from other perspectives, as the story is spread across the continent and it reduces the number of “let’s recount what happened” chapters by showing the event rather than having a messenger tell them. There are a fair few chapters like this, particularly when Xentia arrives, given her special gift, so it helps there.

THE SHINING ONES is a book full of ret-conning for the previous trilogy. The second villain is revealed halfway through, and then there’s a chapter that basically inserts this villain into the background of all the events. It’s an interesting chapter. On the one hand, it’s mostly not rewriting the events, but adding a shadow-y puppet master, so it doesn’t feel like it invalidates the previous book. On the other, it’s feels a little like Eddings want to make sure we know this villain is very dangerous.

There’s also a lot of revision over what Bhelliom is, and how it works. Plus a furtherance of what it means that Sparhawk is “Anakha”, and his relationship with Bhelliom. This was much easier to swallow, because it’s not trying to force a villain into a book that was there’s before, but recasting a character.

This book ends on a much bigger cliff-hanger than THE RUBY KNIGHT does, which begins to set up the final confrontation.

Read my reviews of other books by David Eddings:

The Elenium (chronologically before this series):

The Tamuli (this series):

The Belgariad:

The Malloreon (chronologically after the Belgariad):

Companions to the Belgariad and the Malloreon:

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