What I loved: Let me tell you something… Ilsa J. Bick can write the heck out of an action scene. At one point, I had my Nook gripped so tightly that my fingers went numb and white and my tendons were straining against my skin. This author has an effortless ability to construct a moment of pure terror, pulse-pounding and wholly captivating. She also doesn’t skip out on the gore or the grit. When the Chuckies go to work on breaking a person down, tearing flesh from bone, Ms. Bick’s detailed imagery will make your stomach flip inside out and your eyes pop out of your head. As disgusted as I was by the pictures in my head, her writing kept me tethered to the scene and praying for the characters quick death. It’s the kind of work that definitely kept me on the proverbial “edge of my seat.”
What made me grit my teeth: Ashes was told in third-person limited, which I came to love about the book. It easily captured what was going on in Alex’s head while also giving us a broad scope of what was going on around her. In Shadows, we were giving a wide array of character POV’s, and I really feel like that was what held this story back for me. I was constantly being pulled out of the moment and thrust into a new character’s head, and it was honestly quite frustrating. For me, being able to connect to a character is one of the most important aspects of a book. So, each time there was a POV change, I would have to work that much harder to get back into the rhythm of the story. Not only that, but I felt like it slowed the progression of the story down drastically. Furthermore, I found some of the information to be tedious and unnecessary, and if I’m being truthful, some aspects of the story were dreadfully boring.
My Thoughts: I haven’t been this conflicted over a rating in a while. Several times in the book I found myself exasperated from drudging through the over-abundance of detailed information, but the moment I would decide to set it down, Bick would draw me back in with action and answers. For me, the delivery of the the story was the biggest downfall, and that kills me. The plot in Shadows far surpasses Ashes in my opinion, and I believe that had the author chosen to stick with the third-person limited she used in the first book, her second installment would have been knocked out of the park. However, I also understand that a lot of the plot would have had to change because so many of the characters were spanned out across the country. This is were I think novellas would have benefited this series. The plot of the book would have been more focused, but we would have eventually gotten to know the other characters and still experience the challenges the faced.
Overall, this series is wonderfully imaginative and despite being bored to tears in some instances, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Shadows. I’ll just keep my fingers crossed that the last installment will be a little more concentrated in regards to multiple POV's.
***Note:*** I received an e-galley of this title from the publishers via Net Galley. However, that did not influence her review in any way.