Click your heels three times and repeat after me: "There's no place like The Shadowlands, there's no place like The Shadowlands", and while the Club-proper did not figure prominently in this story, its inhabitants surely did. Protecting His Own was like old home week, in addition to predominantly being another, deeper chapter in the lives of Master Nolan and his rabbit.
They say, "never work with animals or kids", and these two sweet boys certainly stole the show, even from Nolan and Beth themselves. In fact, as a reader, had I not already "known" Nolan and Beth from their lives within the Shadowlands group, I am not certain I would have had quite as much to invest in them as characters of the series. The course of events as it pertained to the main story arc, while emotional and admirably expressed as such for the boys, were otherwise almost pat in their predictability for most other characters, including the bad guys and gals. I had anticipated an almost "Breaking Free" level of emotional intensity *for* the good guys, and *against* the bad guys, but I personally didn't get "there" with that aspect of the book.
On the other hand, I did get my cookie as it pertained to the revisitation with the Shadowlands family and with the introduction of some potentially new characters. The kids themselves and their particular story did invoke all kinds of emotional reaction from me, and I surely appreciated how the greater family came together for them.
While I personally did not find this book as impactful vis-a-vis the main characters of the story as perhaps I did in some of the earlier books in the series, the fact remains that this particular world is always a go-to for me. As a reader, it is pretty easy and comfortable to just drop yourself into the proceedings and as such, the read becomes an almost 3-D experience. Sustainable series are hard to come by, but Shadowlands definitely has all the elements. I look forward to hopefully seeing new members join the Club, and watch as their lives merge with their perfect counterpoints, much in the way all of our favourites have already done, right before our adoring eyes.