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.
©2012 Ilsa J. Bick (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
I am a blind lawyer and aspiring writer, trying to read a little bit of everything but partial to sci-fi and military fiction.
Let's begin by noting that I was not a huge fan of the first book. I was intrigued enough by the rather devilish cliffhanger to eagerly await this sequel's release on Audible, and keep waiting an extra two weeks beyond its print release date I might add. And unfortunately, though perhaps not surprisingly, I was somewhat disappointed.
So here we are with the same characters and some new ones, trying to live through the aftermath of the EMPs and finding out things aren't what they seem. Some characters come more to the forefront, as Alex is no longer an exclusive point of view. Questions are answered with cryptic clues into a more complicated struggle that most certainly requires a serious accounting in the third installment. Along the way, you will meet new people friendly and not so much, and get glimpses at how other communities have dealt with the end of the world and hordes of savage children.
One of this series's strong points is that it gives you a bunch of characters with real flaws, and serious problems internal and external to overcome. The trouble is that it tends to dwell on these, and, aside from a few exceptions commented upon by the characters, our heroes don't seem to be learning from their mistakes. I love seeing the protagonists encountering new obstacles, being caught off guard by unforseen events and having to save themselves and each other through intelligent action. But when I am forced to listen to the same character barely make it through yet another similar scrape brought upon by their own lack of situational awareness, I can't really credit him/her for overcoming unexpected adversity anymore. There is also the fact that while this story has more action than its predecessor, it also consists of multiple POV characters going in circles, sometimes literally, often without much agency. I don't know, maybe that last part may make for an ideal young adult novel in retrospect, as these are books about children meant to be read by children, who are often deprived of the ability to make big picture decisions and just forced to make due with influencing their fates any way they can. The author is a child psychiatrist after all.
If you had trouble with the gore in the first book, expect even more this time around. If you liked Katherine Kellgren's performance last time , you'll be happy with it again; if you didn't, you'll despise this book, with its whimpers, screams, and other emotional accents.
All in all, I guess I can't say I was excessively disappointed, but I was left wanting something, more. And yes, even though we're not left with a huge shocker in the last few minutes like last time, I think I will pick up the last one, just to see what happens.
First let me say that I think Bick is a very talented writer - that's probably what got me hooked into Ashes. The writing in this is still of a very high quality and I will continue to look out for what she writes in the future. But this book just wasn't to my taste - particularly as an audiobook - and I abandoned it.
As a lot of reviewers have said - Ashes (the first book in the series) has a distinctly different tone in the second half of the book. Shadows seems to continue in the vein of the second half of Ashes - which is the half that I didn't enjoy so much.
There was a lot of blood and gore which I understand I should expect from a "zombie book" but it was so relentless it lost shock value and became... a bit gross. It taught me that I probably don't enjoy overly scary or gory Audiobooks - the constant crisis is just too much for me. Listening to it could be a good ploy if you're on a diet though... this book put me off my food a number of times..!
But one of the main things that caused me to stop listening was the fact that there were so many characters, I just couldn't keep up. This was particularly hard to deal with in audio - as opposed to when you have the hard copy in front of you and you can go back and reread to figure out who's who. There is also no recap of the Ashes storyline so if it's been a while since you read Ashes (as was the case for me) you may have trouble picking up the story again.
The performance was good, Katherine is obviously a talented actress. Her blood curdling screams terrified me at times but I'm sure if you like the story, you'll be happy with the performance.
Overall, great writing but too many characters and too much gore for me. If you like gory zombie action - and if you recap Ashes before you start - I think you'll like this book.
I loved the books but was not happy with the narrator.
She just was not right for these books.
It needed someone with a softer tone and more like Alex would have been.
Or like Tom.
This narrator deserves an award. Her pacing with her voice when action in the plot is evident vs the slow measured tones of building suspense is amazing.
The author has managed to make me care for a set of characters who is constantly in a state of survival and instead of failing to entertain due to little if any romance the author had me hooked!
A brilliant story, one any lover of the genre will adore!
I was intrigued enough by the first book to listen to the second one. I thought it was a bit disappointing. The story seems to take off in a totally different direction, I was looking forward to finding out what happened to the main characters, but their story was just sort of sprinkled into what almost felt like a whole new book. Confused, not sure I'll continue on to the next one.
Willy Wonka of it
What I liked best were the moments where actual story was being developed. The moments where more of the event that began this tale was explained.
What I liked least was just about everything else. We jumped from party to party with each chapter seeming to NEED to end with a corny cliffhanger (made worse by the reader who is always over dramatic to the point of making you want to cringe). Throw in more plot twists and secrets than an Oceans Eleven movie and it gets very tiring.
The story also starts delving more into the backstory of the town our "heroin" entered in the second half of the last tale. As that part of book 1 was the most uninteresting, this is most unwelcome.
Our "heroin" is also pretty annoying, selfish and wimpy.
The most interesting were the developments in the story of the pulse that created the mess the world is currently in.
The least was all the backstory of Rule and it's kids and elders and the treachery and blah blah blah.
I try to avoid her when possible. She nearly ruined the Blackout series for me.
Well, since it's a trilogy, it will get a follow up book (and this one ended on a cliff hanger of course), but I'm not at all looking forward to it.
Not looking forward to the conclusion. I may read it at some point, but I feel like the author has pulled a bait and switch on the whole premise of the tale.
I disagree with the other reviewers who said the story has split up into too many new characters. In fact, there were only a few new characters added. I found this second installment of the story to be just as compelling as the first and could not stop listening until I reached the end. I would have rather this installment had a little more satisfying ending, but overall I was very happy with the story. I can't wait for the final book, because, yes, there were a few cliff hangers.
The story line is exciting and very tense in that, apart from the main characters, I am never sure who are the good guys. I found that the constant plot tension, with very little release, to be way too much. Rather than making me want to keep listening to find out what happens next, it made me want to throw the phone against the wall.
"Good second book"
Compelling Exciting Enjoyable
I loved the first in the series and this is a good continuation and even though I got lost at times, I finished the book wanting to know what happens next!
yes, these books had me hooked almost immediately, the characters are all so different but blend so well together. the story has you jumping through hoops, nothing comes easy to the characters which make you wish better things for them all....which leads to great suspense and excitment.
justin cronins...the twelve trilogy. same kind of theme and great characters that you want to succeed and not be killed lol
hard to say........the whole book!
not a funny book and not really happy cheery characters....not surprising with what happens to them ha....did have me biting my nails in suspense.
these are great stories by ilsa...what an imagination. everything follows on in this book, the characters stay true to themselves and just get better.expertly read by katherine, she is an amazing narrator...full of emotion, excitement, suspense and she really drags you into these books. well done to author and narrator.
"An excellent start"
It takes a couple of chapters for this story to really get going but then it keeps on rolling on and is very had to stop listening. My only critisism is that the performance can get a little too excitable at times which makes it harder to follow the action; I understand that this is to add tension but the words are capable of doing that on their own so I feel it is not necessary.
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