September 26, 2012

Review: Shadows

Shadows by Ilsa J. Bick
Release Date: September 25th
Purchase @ Amazon

The Apocalypse does not end. The Changed will grow in numbers. The Spared may not survive.

Even before the EMPs brought down the world, Alex was on the run from the demons of her past and the monster living in her head. After the world was gone, she believed Rule could be a sanctuary for her and those she’d come to love.
But she was wrong.

Now Alex is in the fight of her life against the adults, who would use her, the survivors, who don’t trust her, and the Changed, who would eat her alive. 

Welcome to Shadows, the second book in the haunting apocalyptic Ashes Trilogy: where no one is safe and humans may be the worst of the monsters.

♥ ♥ ♥ 

After reading Ashes, I’ve decided to do something different and review Shadows while reading instead of waiting until after the book is through. I’m already in part two, which is only eight percent into the book and I am still extremely confused. While I like seeing perspectives from more than one person because it gives us a better view of what’s going on and where, there is a such thing as too many point of view at once.

Shadows picks up almost immediately where Ashes left off, except from a different point of view. We aren’t with Alex in the Zone any longer, instead we are with Tom! Although we don’t actually know that at first. I can’t tell you how excited I was to find that he was still alive, I knew he would be, but within the first few minutes of found that out he starts thinking about Alex and how something inside of him is telling him she’s in trouble.

At that point I started to feel terrible for Tom, because while Alex had been worried about him for a while she eventually settled into Rule until recently when she found her whistle at the end of the last book. Then of course I got mad because here he is thinking about nothing, but her and she’s getting a little too friendly with Chris. When we finally do see Alex she’s fighting the Changed kids and while the action is great and sort of has you biting your fingernails the end result is lackluster.

There was way too much time spent on the scene where they were eating a piece of Alex’s flesh. Description is important, that much description is gross. By the end of the scene I was confused and can only assume that Chris has a twin. I just got to part three of Shadows and while I can see more of the story is coming together it just doesn't flow right. The author has an excellent concept, and the pieces that were missing and a good portion of the questions I had are being answered, but there is way too much going on in this book. In Ashes, we started out with once concept and while all of these other plotlines are tied together in some way, it’s just very busy.

We've got Alex getting carried off by the Changed who are apparently grouping together and organizing while storing people up for the winter to eat so they don’t starve. Oh yeah and Rule has been cultivating and feeding the Changed so they don’t attack their settlement. Tom hasn't been mentioned again since the first chapter, I was right about Chris having a twin and the military are kidnapping the Spared and experimenting on them with the implication that Weller from Rule is involved.

Do you see where I’m coming from? Even Alex hasn't been mentioned in several chapters and she is the main character. She’s in the beginning of part three, but typically I enjoy books that focus on a set of characters that have a continuous arc so I can see them change and develop and who I can form some kind of attachment to or what’s the point? As a reader, I like to be able to connect with what I’m reading and for some reason I can’t seem to do that most likely because there are so many different characters and all the switching back and forth doesn't really help.

I miss when Tom, Alex and Ellie were together and I don’t even know if Ellie and Mina made it because they haven’t been mentioned. Tom alert! He finally comes back in chapter 24 though I’m not sure how long he’ll be there. The best part of this book so far, “They’re like some kind of crazy-ass ninja kill squad.” The rest of this chapter just confused the hell out of me. The Changed or rather 'Chuckies' as they’re now called are getting smarter or maybe communicating telepathically possibly both. What I don’t get is there are four different stories going on.

We have Alex and what’s going on with the 'Chuckies', we have Chris and Lena who honestly I don’t care at all about, running off with Nathan from Rule, then there’s whatever is going on with Tom, and lastly Peter being tortured. Do you see what I mean by disjointed? The concept of this story is good, but the execution needs an extreme amount of work and that is incredibly disappointing because I really loved the beginning of this series in Ashes until Tom, Alex, and Ellie were separated. Part four, five, and six were better, but not by much.

I don’t like sitting here and picking apart something that an author has taken their time and energy to write, but if I sat here and said that Shadows was great, I’d be lying. Overall I can’t in good conscious give it more than three hearts. I believe I’ve said this before, but I’m going to say it again. The concept for this story is great. The action scenes are amazing. When they’re in the mine in the last few chapters of the book everything is so intense and fast pace that it really keeps you on the edge of your seat.

That scene between Tom and Alex where he was trying to get to her was heartbreaking and written extremely well. The problem is all these scenes that don’t focus on the main characters. Wasting time on Peter, that Daniel guy, Cindi, all these minor characters that were introduced make the novel seem too busy. I felt like there was so much going on, I couldn’t keep up and it was confusing. We still have no clue what’s going on with Ellie, and with all the manipulating between characters, which is great, it’s just a lot. I feel like if you took out some of the in between chunks and focused on bringing the Chuckies down instead of some big Government conspiracy or whatever that the book would flow a lot better.

That being said I would not recommend this unless you’re like me and you have an obsessive need to finish a series. I need to know what happened to Ellie and Alex, so I will read the next book and hopefully it gets better because Ilsa J. Bick is a good writer, like I said it’s the execution that’s not quite right.

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