Shadows (Ashes Trilogy #2)

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Shadows (Ashes Trilogy #2)
Author(s)
Publisher
Genre(s)
Age Range
14+
Release Date
September 25, 2012
ISBN
9781606841761
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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 thought Rule was a sanctuary for her and those she'd come to love. But she was wrong. Now she's 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.

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2 reviews

Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
5.0  (2)
Characters 
 
4.5  (2)
Writing Style 
 
3.5  (2)
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Breath-taking book
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
With the way Ashes was, I knew Shadows was going to be good, or even better. Ilsa Bick sure didn’t disappoint. I thought Ashes was exhilarating with it’s lush descriptions, amazingly written scenes but Shadows takes it one level higher. You start the book prologue with a shifting perspective – which wasn’t in Ashes and that is your first clue that this book is going to be more engaging. As the book progresses further, you have four perspectives and consecutive story-lines going and you wonder when at least two of them will cross-over. We see through the eyes of Alex, Tom, Peter and Chris/Lena – which practically keeps you holding onto the book with bated breath. Each chapter ends on a mini-cliffhanger, and the next one goes to the other person so basically you are going ‘oh sh**’ in your mind (I did a lot of mental cursing while reading this book) while the storyline just takes you through a roller-coaster of emotions. The old people of Rule are just plain manipulative and straight-out evil, if you ask me and god, was I gritting my teeth whenever Finn came up. That sadistic bastard just wore at my patience. Actually, leaving Grace and Jed at the start, every old person cannot be trusted.

The other great thing about this book was that you get a closer look at the Changed. Since Alex is captured by them (not a spoiler, since this was like the ending of Ashes) and she observed them in their ‘natural habitat’. In Ashes, I visualized them as zombies but in Shadows, I had to change my mental image – the Changed are like every other human being – except that they can’t speak, have the senses of a Bloodhound, have all the cravings (ew!) of a human but just are cannibalistic. The gore and the grittiness of this book series is so realistic, it’s like every post-apocalyptic movie come alive in your head.

The author once again left a cliffhanger – surprise surprise – with Alex’s life again in doubt; the number of times she has survived, man – she must be having a Rabbit’s Foot on her! Tom is on the search for her – and I have been shipping them since book 1. Peter I felt sorry for – no one deserves the ending he had in this book – that’s just plain cruel. What exactly is Finn trying to do – Change him? Also, did Chris die? Because that wasn’t clear enough but I can’t see how he is alive after that scene. Yes, that’s how the endings were left – and with me awake, once again. If I develop a sleeping disorder, it will be thanks to this series.
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Excellent plot that was dulled down by multiple POV changes!
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
2.0
Shadows picks right up where Ashes ended, throwing us headlong into a world ravaged by flesh-eating teenagers, also known as Chuckies & The Changed, and the survivors who are just trying to make it day to day. However, in this installment, we learn more about how The Changed are operating as well as evolving. From the perspective of several different characters, we are carried through the ins-and-outs of what daily life is like now, and that just maybe, the zombies aren't the biggest, most threatening monsters in this new world.

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.
Good Points
Great plot & nail-biting action!
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