Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh (ADVANCED REVIEW)

Enshadowed (Nevermore #2)
by Kelly Creagh
PUB: AUGUST 28th 2012
by Athenium
Review Copy: ARC provided by publisher

Varen Nethers is trapped in a perilous dream world -- a treacherous and desolate realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life. Isobel Lanley, plagued by strange visions and haunted by the nightmares of Varen's creation, is the only one who can save him.

Isobel knows that her only hope lies within a Baltimore cemetery. There, in the early morning hours of Edgar Allan Poe's birthday, a mysterious stranger known as the "Poe Toaster" will make his annual homage at the legendary poet's grave.

Only the Poe Toaster holds the key to the way between worlds. But even greater dangers lie ahead for Isobel. An ancient evil, draped in veils of white, is watching, challenging her for Varen's affections. When Isobel finally finds Varen, he is no longer the quiet and brooding boy who once captivated her, but a dark force, powerful and malevolent.

Spoilers to Nevermore, some plot discussion of Enshadowed (spoilerish)

What can I say about Enshadowed? I’ve struggled with what to say about Enshadowed and in the end I think I’ll try to keep it short and simple.

I was, in the end, disappointed. I don’t feel like I got anything out of this book. I felt like the whole story was basically Isobel killing time and hanging out in her room until she could get to Baltimore for the Anniversary or Poe’s Death to catch the Poe toaster (aka Reynolds) to find her way into the other Realm to find Varen. Essentially that’s ALL THAT HAPPENED -For 400 pages. Then at the end there was a flurry of activity and action a bit of a twist and now we wait for book three. I didn't feel like Isobel did anything. I don't feel like she really grew or made changes. I didn't feel the struggle like I should have.

If you’ve read Nevermore, you know that the connection between Isobel and Varen was the book’s biggest draw. The two of them are so different yet they brought out surprising strength in each other. With Varen absent from the story, that tension is gone and I don’t think there was anything else there that filled it. (Yes there are Varen moments, but things are so different in this book, it's not the same.) Although I did enjoy the scenes with Pinfeathers. Kelly Creagh is great at making a character like Pinfeathers turn out to be so much more (and so much more interesting) than expected.

I liked Nevermore a lot. Even my disappointment in Enshadowed does not change my feelings towards Nevermore. I think it’s an imaginative story that combines fae-like elements with literature and gothic mystery, combined with Kelly Creagh having a really visual writing style that I enjoy.

 If Nevermore had a weakness it was the feeling that things that seemed important resolved too quickly and that sometimes Isobel seemed to be in the wrong place in the story or with too little understanding of what was going on.

Enshadowed has the same problems except without the same tension. I was never really invested in the outcome and found myself skimming pages not really caring what was happening. Isobel seems to drift though the book without really accomplishing anything or growing in any way and it got frustrating. Everything just seemed to take so long and I felt like she kept revisiting the same points over and over again.

Now the other side of this is that I still really like the series. Yes, I really do. I like the tone and feel of this series and I still like the characters. I just really don’t think this book had enough to it. It could have been cut down to 100 pages and had everything the story needed. 

The end of Enshadowed gives so little away and Varen has grown so far away from the Varen of Nevermore that I can’t begin to imagine what will come in book three, but I still have hope for something really awesome. Although I admit I really did like the ending. Once Isobel got through to the other realm things things got more interesting.

All in all, if you loved Nevermore, read Enshadowed because it’s still the same characters and the same feel and it will tide you over until the next book. I was disappointed, but maybe my expectations were too high. 

The first book in the series is called Nevermore

Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look. 

Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life. 

As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares. 

You can find out more about the series and extras at Kelly Creagh's website HERE

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