Monday, September 24, 2012

Review: Shadows by Ilsa J. Bick

Monday, September 24, 2012 with 6 comments
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Title:  Shadows
Author:  Ilsa J. Bick
Series:  2nd book in the Ashes trilogy
Publisher:  EgmontUSA
Publication Date:  September 25, 2012
Source:  Netgalley
Purchase:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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.

I had to take a minute to catch my breath and collect my thoughts before writing this review.  I have so much to say and I'm not sure where to start, but I know that I want to keep this one shorter than my Ashes review...that one was a novel in itself.  Suffice it to say, Shadows was one jaw-dropping moment after another, and though I feared for Alex, I never wanted it to end.

Shadows resumes right where Ashes left off, but I suggest that you re-read Ashes before diving into this second installment.  There are flashbacks and other methods used to refresh your memory, but they don't happen all at once in the first chapter like in so many novels, and so I found myself a bit confused in the beginning.  I rather liked that feeling, if I were in the thick of things right along with Alex, not knowing who to trust or where to turn.

Lies and betrayal.  Aside from running from/fighting off the Changed, the Chuckies, the zombies -- whatever you want to call them at this point -- that seemed to be the main theme.  In Ashes, we only read from Alex's point-of-view, and so we only knew people's motivations as she saw them.  But in Shadows, there are so many perspectives that it's hard to keep track of at times.  Some of them actually led to a better insight into character motivations.  Some led to comprehension of the environmental and behavioral changes as a result of the EMP blast that changed the world as these characters knew it.  Some just drove me crazy, despite any awareness or understanding they might have left me with.  All said and done, though, they all tell a very realistic, if not horrific, version of the events after the EMP detonation.

SOOOO much happens in Shadows.  So much running.  So much fighting.  So much hoping.  And although this novel is 528 pages, it never felt long.  The pacing was such that I could barely catch my breath between chapters and POV changes.  I was steadfastly attempting to figure out just what was going on, who was on who's side, but as much as I tried, I was constantly proven wrong.  This novel may be a lot of things, but predictable is not one of them.

I recently read Outpost by Ann Aguirre, and these two novels are based on very similar ideas, though they are executed in two amazingly different ways.  The writing styles are each unique and exciting to read, but without divulging too much of the plot, all I can say is that they maintain a similar premise when it comes to the evolution of the "zombies".  It was very interesting to watch the way the two worlds each evolved and how older citizens always seem to revert to the old ways.

Shadows was gritty and gruesome and terrifying.  But it was also another one of those emotional journeys that strikes you to the core, leaving you as vulnerable as the characters in the story.  Ilsa J. Bick really goes for the shock factor with this series, and if the increase in action and suspense just from the first novel is any indication, I might need a respirator on hand to read the last book in this trilogy.

Rating:  Photobucket

Be sure to stop back by at the end of October, as I'll have a guest post from the author as part of the Shadows Blog Tour!


  1. Great review! I agree that even though the book was really long, it didn't feel like it because you were at the edge of your seat with all the action!! Check out my review HERE

  2. Now I have to read this, don't I?! As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I was really looking forward to hearing what you thought of this one since I loved/hated the first one, hah.

    Awesome review. The "Chuckies" part made me chuckle. ;)

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    1. Of course you do, Wendy! :P It gets even more convoluted, but at least they're not stuck in the cult-like village of Rule the entire time, if that's what you're worried about. Just be prepared, there is an insane number of POVs in this one...

  3. Thanks for this, I can't wait to read the book.

    1. I hope you do! Just make sure you check out the refresher the author posted before you do: :)


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