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 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.
Not sure yet.
The narrator was excellent! Highly recommend her reading books. But the story was just lacking and unbelievable. I love fiction, technology, etc... I love scifi, fantasy, you name it. But you have to mold a realistic story around those elements to lure me in. And I felt like the supporting characters were just too over the top. It seemed like 9/10th's of the elderly in this book suddenly became sadistic, diabolic & evil. Just didn't feel real to me.
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!
Do you enjoy being screamed at for 13 hours? Then this is the book for you!
Don't dare turn down the volume when the narrators is screaming at you, because the next minute she'll be whispering.
Over all this series took an idiotic turn for the worse. I know to expect some silly love triangle in a teen genre book, and the first book hinted at it, but now our ignorant heroine is shown to be SO incredibly irresistible that even the zombie kid falls for her? Really? Barf.
Too many people running in different directions and every one is in constant peril. Gorier and less interesting.. Feels like a literary trick to try to hold up a failing story but how long can you raise the bar of drama until one needs a nap.
Kept my adrenaline pumping, just as Ashes did, but the gruesome descriptions also left me a bit grossed out! After the first few chapters I finally got the hang of the fast pacing and the jumping around of points of view. It was really fast paced and intense and it felt so real sometimes. I loved both book, but Shadows had me saying NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO a lot go back go back don't switch the pov now!!! The characters voices were very distinct and it was interesting to catch a glimpse into each character's lives and I did want to know what happened to the others at the same time so in the end it was okay. I can't believe I have to wait for the next book!!!!! When is it supposed to be released?
Hunger games meets Walking dead.
I don't have a favorite scene, (spoiler alert) but I never want have to bite into a zombie's face and taste decaying flesh or dead blood. Or wait not only having to worry about being killed and eaten, but now worrying about sex crazed zombie boy who can't wait to get into your pants yuck.
Ilsa J. Bick does it again with this second installment to the Ashes trilogy. Shadows has very much left me in a whirlwind of mixed emotions. Yes, I can follow multiple plot-lines, but the problem is in the climax and falling action, but there was at first too many characters having too many problems in too many places for the third book in the series to competently wrap up the story. How will Ms. Bick fix all of those people's problems without it sounding like a check list? I have fate in you not to disappoint me, I'll keep my fingers crossed.
I would highly recommend you read Ashes before you read Shadows.The world has changed and what is left is older people, young kids, people who for different reasons didn't change and the zombies or as they are called in these books The Changed or Chuckies.
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