Del Rey, Dec 2007, $13.95
SHADOWBRIDGE is an odd place consisting of immense interconnected bridges sitting over an endless ocean with dots of land. People live on these bridges. On the Ningle Span, young shadow-puppeteer Leodora tells a story to the god Shumyzin in exchange for him revealing her future; however, he fails to explain what he means when he warns her to be careful.
Leodora already understand caution as her parents vanished without a trace and the old sot Soter saved her life, but her uncle treats her like a slave instead of a family member. Forced to flee after breaking several taboos that mean torture and death, Leodora accompanied by Soter as her manager begins touring the bridge communities dressed as a man, as only a male can troubadour alone. She performs as Jax the puppeteer. She, as a he, begins to obtain a reputation, but some prefer the new storyteller dead.
The strange world of SHADOWBRIDGE comes across as genuine because of the differing reactions to the endless sea as some people fear the water while others like Leodora feel at home. The gods act like the Greek gods with their whimsical interference for instance changing a contented but somewhat moronic musician into a superstar who understands the meaning of life to his bitter regret. Fantasy readers will appreciate this well written tale, but many like this reviewer will feel somewhat cheated as the abrupt ending of this book is no true ending but instead a feeder to the second part of the saga.