I was a huge fan of ASHES, the predecessor to SHADOWS, as you can see from the joint discussion of it with Michelle we had last August. My favorite part of ASHES was probably the cool way Bick integrated fringe science and made it believable and fun. So, I was unprepared for how much SHADOWS strayed into horror territory. This sequel is Brutal with a capital B. I often found myself skimming over the gruesome descriptions of cheek biting and shoulder flaying and flesh eating.
In this installment, we don’t only follow Alex, but we get the story from several other points of view, including a Spared who seems to be going through the Change, a character who has been hidden by a compassionate older couple but who gets chased down by bounty hunters, a character who is captured by a sadistic militia who likes to experiment on Changed and Spared alike, and others. Thanks to all these POVs, we get a bigger picture view of just how horrific this post-apocalyptic scenario is. The multiple POVs also serve to move the different players into place for what I’m sure is going to be a major battle the third book, which means, in essence, I felt like a lot of this novel was merely set-up for the next one instead of really being a complete book with satisfying arcs in its own right.
Even though SHADOWS was too hard-core for me, I did manage to finish it. I may be too much of a wimp to read book 3, but I will certainly want someone to brief me on what happens (minus the gore).
SHADOWS comes out on Sept 25, 2012. Find out more about it at the author’s website
See index of all dystopian reviews on Presenting Lenore
FTC disclosure: ARC picked up at BEA 2012