The creature has vanished, and our story continues with an investigation into the mysterious death of a wizard named Almagest. Meanwhile, Kuelack discovers clues to the whereabouts of the firebrand stone bringing along the disinherited Dragonlord Ramus. Kuelack's wife, Gradine, is also on a quest, hunting down Aridain Bruins and his friends to kill and imprison them.
As Kuelack and Ramus unearth each piece, they find out why all fear the stone. Ramus intends to spoil Kuelack's plans by seeking out a sect of witches that are not influenced by the shards. Our hero, Aridain, stumbles upon some pretty green stones hidden beneath the tree. Like a moth to a flame, The Dark Taal is drawn inexplicably to these stones, and the struggle to control the shards continues.
The readers will go more in-depth with Aridain's story, seeing that even heroes can be corrupted by dark influences and struggle to control the power. The second book of the Foundation series offers a perspective into the struggle of humanity to control power and dives deep into the human psyche. With the series paying homage to the famous novel "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien, the readers can see how author Dean GE Matthews artistically plays with each character's personalities by pushing them to their fates either by accident or by other causes—seeing that sometimes, what drives humanity can be our very own darkness or other people's.
In the real world, the book can easily be attributed to people who desperately want to cling to a power that isn't theirs and seek domination over the world. Still, there are heroes like Aridain who will try and make a difference, reminding us that even if there is darkness within us, we must be reminded that power comes with great responsibility. Dean GE Matthews reminds us that the firebrand stone could be a stone, but there are other forces that drive us to do things we are not supposed to do. Moreover, telling us that even if someone is already a hero, he can be human too.
But how do we really contain evil? There is no right way to answer that, but stories such as The Shadow and the Shards will give us a peek into humanity's tendency to turn on each other for power. Much like how people of today would willingly do anything such as incite terrorism to take hold of power. Perhaps, this book will remind us that we should not become who we fear to become at the end of the day, but we should be better even if we are struggling to take control of the darkness within ourselves.
Dean GE Matthews creates wonderful characters with complex personalities for the readers to either love or hate. This is evident in Kuelack's nature, forcing the readers to understand why he does and why Aridain can counter his powers.
Evil may be looming upon us, but the choice is always in our hands.