Thursday, 26 March 2015

Review: Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh

Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh book cover

Title: Enshadowed
Author: Kelly Creagh
Series: Nevermore, #2
Format: Paperback, owned
My rating: 3 / 5

Add to Goodreads

True love takes a twisted turn in the second book of this modern Gothic romance trilogy channeling the dark brilliance of Edgar Allan Poe.

While Varen remains a prisoner in a perilous dream world where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life, Isobel travels to Baltimore to confront the dark figure known throughout the world as the Poe Toaster. This man, the same man who once appeared to Isobel in her dreams and abandoned her in Varen’s nightmare world, holds the key to saving Varen.

But when Isobel discovers a way to return to this dream world, she finds herself swept up in a realm that not only holds remnants of Edgar Allan Poe’s presence, but has also now taken on the characteristics of Varen’s innermost self. It is a dark world of fear, terror, and anger.

When Isobel once more encounters Varen, she finds him changed. And now Isobel must face a new adversary—one who also happens to be her greatest love.

-- As seen on Goodreads

My Thoughts

Oh boy... I have mixed feelings about Enshadowed. On the surface, it’s a fabulous book … but it doesn’t hold a candle to Nevermore, and this is where my problems lie. Nevermore was one of my favourite books that I read in 2014 – I adored it, and I still do. Granted, lots of the things I loved in Nevermore showed up here, but it was the things that were missing that proved the most frustrating. As I love Nevermore so much, I’m probably going to be harsher on Enshadowed than I should be, and it completely sucks! My expectations were SO HIGH, I’m gutted that I didn’t completely love this book.

As I mentioned above, quite a lot of what I loved about Nevermore is still present. I’m completely in love with Kelly Creagh’s writing style, and it’s easily my favourite part of this book. The imagery she creates just hits you out of the blue, and I kept stopping reading to admire and take in just how unique and beautiful it is. Now, I understand these types of descriptive books don’t suit everyone, but for me, her writing is sheer perfection, and it’s exactly what I hope to find when I read beautifully detailed books. I also love the atmosphere Creagh creates. Atmosphere wise, Nevermore was one of the best books I’ve read. Enshadowed didn’t quite live up to it, but it’s still above so many other books I’ve read lately.

So, you’re probably wondering what my biggest issue with Enshadowed was. Well… NOTHING happened for over 300 pages! It isn’t a short book: my paperback copy is 429 pages long. It frustrates me SO MUCH that the first 300 pages read like a really long recap of Nevermore! We do get a few new details thrown in, but for the most part, it feels like we’re still stuck within Nevermore. I love that book to death, but the point of a sequel is to experience a new story, and for things to progress! I felt it took far too long for Enshadowed to step out of Nevermore’s shadow, and become its own story. It bothers me even more when the last 100 pages are sheer EPICNESS! The ending is exactly what I hoped Enshadowed would be, but I can’t overlook that I feel it took too long to get to the point.

My favourite part of Nevermore was Varen and Isobel. I loved their story, and how their relationship grew over the course of the entire book, rather than everything taking place within 25 pages. Whenever I think ‘slow-burn relationship’, Varen and Isobel instantly come to mind. The banter, the narking, the dialogue and the eventual friendship that grew between them was simply perfection, and it’s easily one of the best slow-burn romances I’ve ever read. I didn’t realise just how important this was to the overall story until I read Enshadowed. Varen isn’t present in this book, and Isobel is haunted by the dream world he unlocked. The dream world and reality are very closely linked throughout the book, and I while I think it was excellently done, the problem I have was that the characters personalities I loved in Nevermore seemed to disappear! I connected completely with both of them back then, and I kept craving to see them back to their best. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen, and with Varen's absense and Isobel a shell of her former self, I'm left feeling so disappointed.

I fear this review has turned into one giant reminiscing session about Nevermore! I think the bar was set so high, it’s next to impossible for Enshadowed to even come close to matching it. Oblivion is set to be released this summer… and I REALLY hope it isn’t pushed back again. Right now, I hope I’ll look back on Enshadowed and realise it was just suffering from middle-book syndrome. I hope with all my heart that the last book will be epic – Varen and Isobel have become two very special characters to me, and I hope that their story gets an epic conclusion.

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