Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh Review

Title: Enshadowed
Author: Kelly Creagh
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Horror
Series: Nevermore, book two
Star Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

sequel syndrome: n. definition: the second book in a series that breaks up a relationship the reader cares about.

This book made my heart hurt, I'll start this on that horrible note. God. I feel like Kelly Creagh just ripped my heart out of my chest and curb-stomped it. (I know, I know, I'm so dramatic, but that's how I feel.) Picking up where Nevermore left off, Enshadowed begins with Isobel, a mere shadow of her former, bubbly self, haunted by Varen and her desperate desire to return him to their world, and to his place by her side.

I don't want to reveal too much, as it is a sequel, so I'll try to be scarce about the spoilers. Even the synopsis is vague because I'd rather not reveal anything. But I'm so happy to say that my anxiety about this book was unwarranted. I'm sure you guys know what I'm talking about: the dreaded sophomore slump, the sequel syndrome, where you love a book, but when the second one comes out, the characters you love so much are ripped apart over some petty differences.

And while this book has some elements of that, it didn't bog down the story. I was completely, utterly riveted. Isobel journeys to Baltimore, trying desperately to find a portal into the world through which Varen escaped his (mostly) miserable existence.

One of the reasons I love this book so much is for its heroine: Isobel. Determined, hellbent, on returning Varen home to her, she nearly throws her life away in the process. I'm such a sucker for "love conquers all" books. It gives me so much hope for humanity. But it's also the originality that gets Creagh points from me. I've seen a lot of inspiration from the dark works of Poe, but this has to be one of my very favorites.

And then there are the puzzles that Isobel, as well as the reader, have to solve: How to get to Varen? How to help him? How to conquer the dark forces inhibiting his natural thoughts? I loved it. And then there's Varen himself, a character I sympathized with even more than Isobel, who hides in books and stories to stave off the pain of judgmental parents, teachers, and peers.

I loved this book. In fact, and honestly, I can't believe I'm typing this, it was even better than Nevermore. The pacing was breakneck, the tantalizing riddles kept me guessing at every turn, and the beautiful, poetic prose was enough to keep me flipping pages, almost fast enough to earn quite a few paper cuts. Almost. The bottom line: A sequel that more than stands up to the success of its predecessor, I absolutely adored Enshadowed, and I can't wait for Oblivion! Next on deck: Oblivion by Kelly Creagh!

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