Saturday, 28 March 2015

Review: Shadow, Shadow by V. B. Marlowe

Publication Date: 16th February 2015
Publisher: All Night Reads
Length: 312 pages

Huge thanks to Netgalley for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

"The four of you have been blessed with a great gift. Well, it's a gift for you, but a curse for someone else." 
Harley receives a mysterious gift on her sixteenth birthday--a shadow box. The box gives her the power to trade someone to the shadows, meaning they will disappear and cease to exist. Harley can't imagine doing such a horrible thing and is warned that using the box comes at a price. Unfortunately, not using the box can be even more costly. Harley must make this life-altering decision as she discovers frightening revelations about the town she calls home.

This is one of the occasions where my stubborn determination to finish reading a book really irritates me. This book was terrible and is one of the examples of where a good blurb and cover can really hook you and the story within really doesn’t live up to the expectations set.

Whilst the premise sounded great nothing about this book actually worked. The characters are all supposed to be sixteen, and yet they come across as eleven or twelve. The motivations are haphazard at best and nothing really hangs together with any sort of coherence. There are so many things touched on in this, but they’re glossed over and nothing is really given any emotional depth. Harley is an abusive relationship, but it isn’t given any weight. It felt thrown in there as an added piece of drama and isn’t handled appropriately. Her parents are cardboard cut-outs and none of the interactions or relationships feel real.

The duel narrative points were completely unnecessary and Teaghan’s was very poorly written. It went over some of the same things that were already covered in Harley’s parts and added nothing more to the story. There were no real motives for anything, none of the decisions made any sense.

And then there is the complete lack of plot. Nothing really strings together – there’s a prologue that has no bearing on anything else in the story. It probably holds slightly more relevance to something later in the series, but for this book it is completely pointless. As is the epilogue. A character who was mentioned briefly half way through suddenly appears and starts dishing out wisdom, for no real reason, and in a way that again makes no sense. The rest of the story opens lots of possible plot threads and then doesn’t tie any of them up by the end. It all hangs on the reader wanting to read the next book in the series which is terrible plotting and means that the book feels like you’ve just wasted a lot of time reading it. It needs to be a full and complete story in and of itself with some hooks to make you want to go and read the next book, not a prelude that makes very little sense without the rest of the series.

All in all I really wish I hadn’t bothered. By the time I was two thirds of the way I was basically skimming and only reading the important parts, which is always a bad sign. Bad dialogue, cardboard cut-out characters with no real depth or emotional consequences to actions. No plot, terrible pacing, there really wasn’t anything to redeem this one. I won’t be keeping an eye out for the sequel.

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