I finally finished Maggie Furey's Shadowleague trilogy sometime in November. When I first started the series with "Heart of the Myrial," I thought it was a pretty stereotypical, predictable fantasy series. It ended having a few surprises, getting progressively better with the final two books -- "Spirit of the Stone" and "Echo of Eternity."
The story centers on a group called the Shadowleague who are supposed to be the only beings on the world that can penetrate the barriers between the different countries on the planet. Each country is divided by a curtain wall that keeps the different elements and geographical landscapes separate. Some are rainy and mountainous -- others, dry and arid. Specifically designed to cater to the species living in each different location, every country is perfectly suited for its inhabitant. The dragons, who need sunlight to survive, are located in the dessert. Humans who rely on cattle and farming are in a green, lush plains. But then something begins to destroy the curtain walls separating the different climates, causing all of the species to begin to deteriorate. The destruction of the curtain walls wreaks havoc in each country as normally dessert lands become rainy and mild, tropical climates turn bitterly cold. Humans, centaurs, aliens, and dragons all begin to suffer and die.
Later on in the series, the main characters discover that the world was actually built by a superior alien race -- it is a giant machine that is slowly breaking down, destroying the curtain walls in the process and mixing the weather. The Loremasters of the Shadowleague are specially selected members of each race on the world, the gate keepers of the knowledge of the planet. They alone know the secret to penetrate the curtain walls, as they alone have shared knowledge of all the different countries, so of course they alone can save the planet.
It sounds cheesy, I know. It is a straight up adventure fantasy, but a good one, with likable, well-rounded characters and an enjoyable, entertaining storyline. Simple enough, but a quick read and one that keeps the reading interested.
A Softer World: 1248
2 years ago