Monday, September 24, 2012

Early Review - Shadows (Ashes, Book 2) by Ilsa J. Bick (2/5 stars)

Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic
Size: 528 pages
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Release Date: September 25, 2012
ISBN: 978-1606841761
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd book in the Ashes series
Source: eGalley from
Rating: 2/5 stars

This is the second book in the Ashes trilogy by Bick. I loved the first book in this series, it was so gritty and engaging. This book was a disappointment for me. The book is even more grisly than the first one and switches POVs many times. There is no recapping so you better remember the plethora of characters from Ashes or you will be totally lost.

Alex has been captured by Changed who are threatening to eat her and is doing her best to survive. Tom is doing his best to recover from his wounds in Ashes with an older couple. All the other characters are also doing their best to survive. Pretty much this is the continued story of the horror everyone lives through in an effort to live.

This book was not nearly as good as the first book, Ashes. It still was a fast paced and action packed story but you switch POV so often that you never know who you are reading about. Alex is probably the character you read the least about. You also hear from Peter, Chris, Tom, and others in Rule. The plethora of POVs really slowed the progression of the story and fractured it a lot.

Additionally there is no recapping at all, so all those characters you meet in Rule at the end of Ashes...well you better be prepared to remember them all. I couldn’t remember then all and struggled to remember who did what and was involved in what actions as the story went on. I got so frustrated at points I almost didn’t finish the book.

The story was even more grisly than the first one with the added bonus of strange orgies between the Changed; all in all a pretty stomach turning read. There are lots of detailed descriptions of Changed kids eating humans; no detail is left unexplored. Gory detail doesn’t usually bother me, but there were parts of this book that made me go “ugh, yuck!”

There are a couple of good things about this book. It is an intense read, and even though the scenes are fractured, they are incredibly engaging because someone is just about to die on every page. It makes the book hard to put down. Given that (as you might guess) there is a huge body count in this just be prepared to watch lots of people die/be tortured/etc.

The other interesting thing was how Alex and others are developing Changed-like abilities and starting to struggle to remain human. I am super curious with how this all will play out.

Even with those points in the story’s favor I almost didn't finish this one. And in the end I am not sure if I am glad I did...nothing is resolved, this ends just like the first book did...right in the middle of everything.

Overall a very disappointing book for me. I loved Ashes and was incredibly disappointed by Shadows. Too many POVs fracture the story and the lack of recapping make it impossible to remember the multitude of characters. The level of goriness/torture/orginess was ratcheted up a level higher than Ashes and made this book even yuckier at points. The story still moves at a neck-breaking pace and is incredibly engaging. The developments around Alex’s changing powers are interesting too. Outside of that there wasn’t much here I enjoyed. I truly doubt I will be reading the final book in this series.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- Zombie Reading Challenge
- Horror and Urban Fantasy Challenge
- 150+ Books Reading Challenge

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