Monday 18 February 2013

Book Review: Shadows by Ilsa J Bick

Alex had made it through the first few months of the apocalypse, but not unscathed. Is she really safe in Rule? And what about Ellie? Or Tom?
Only one way to find out.
 Okay, so you can probably hear my apathy and hatred for this book -- sceond in the trilogy, I might add -- through that little sort-of synopsis, so I'll just go through the good points with you first, so we can get them out of the way.

 I could not put this book down. It was like it was glued to my hand. Also, Alex's interactions with Wolf were interesting. The plot was done very well -- you aren't neccessarily told completely what's going on, but you have just enough breadcrumbs to get to the witch's house, if you see what I mean.

Okay, time for the bad things about it.

I didn't mention it in the review of the first book, because I still had hope for the series, but now I don't, I'll tell you: Ashes had a recommendation from Michael Grant, the guy who wrote Gone, on the front cover.
This troubled me.
Now I understand it. You see, Michael Grant likes this book because it is basically his book but with zombies rather than disappearing adults and a Lord of the Flies kind of deal.
For those of you thinking that's a good thing, just go, now. I never want to see you again, you crazy bastards.
I read Gone, and it was shit. The writing was terrible and there was no real depth to the characters, but the plot kept on moving and intriguing you. It drove me crazy, and I made sure not to read the next installment in the series because I knew I would hate reading it even as the plot dragged me onwards.

Substitute the word 'Shadows' into there, and you've got my feelings about this book, except the part about the next installment. Unfortunately, since this is just a trilogy and I've already read two parts, I probably will end up reading the last book.

 There was no depth to the characters. To be honest, I'm not quite sure about the writing -- though, as I said in my review of Ashes, I don't care for descriptiom -- but there really was no depth to the characters, or maybe I just wasn't feeling any emotional connection to them. The only reason I cared what happened to them because I wanted to know what happened next, and that is not a good feeling. I felt sorry for Peter in this book, but only in the way of 'if what it looks like will happen actually happens, it is gonna be one depressing read'. The only character I really had any feeling for was Wolf, and that was just a kind of 'ugh, it is creepy to fancy a zombie but he does seem pretty cool' thing.
I've changed my mind, this was bad writing. If you've read Ashes, you'll know it follows Alex in a third-person-y way, and on a writer's note: just because it's all third person doesn't mean you can tell us what happens in the future -- you're basically Alex but in a stalkerish, imagining what she thinks way, so you can't tell her bloody future, and besides that it's damn confusing to go back and forwards and back again 'later she'd realise this was a wasted effort, because she'd be eating cheese all day tomorrow' (I made that up, btw) WELL NOW I'M NOT FOLLOWING ALEX, AM I? NOW I KNOW THAT THERE'S NO POINT IN HER SEARCHING EVERYWHERE. YOU'VE PULLED ME OUT OF THE BLOODY STORY!
Okay, breathe.
So, it follows Alex, this book, but it also follows just about every character we'll ever meet in the whole book WHICH IS ANOTHER THING YOU CAN'T BLOODY DO. THIS ISN'T THIRD-PERSON OMNISCIENT!

Anger controlled. Anyway, like I was saying, it follows a lot of characters. This is both annoying and confusing, as there is no way to tell who the hell is thinking what you're reading until their name is called or you get the context or something. I'm imptient. I need to know by the end of the first sentence. The annoying part? It's like watching Helicopter Heroes. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of watching Helicopter Heroes, it is basically a show about people who get into helicopters and save people's lives and stuff. It's on the Beeb, so it really doesn't need to hook the audience in just before an advert break, since there are no adverts, but it does. There'll be some guy on a stretcher, and then the presenter guy will say 'will they make it down the hilltop with Bob? We'll find out later in the show', and you want to kill the guy.
 Which is what this book was like. You could basically have written a whole series out of this book -- the adventures were there with each and every character -- but it IS JUST ONE BOOK. There are only so many ups and downs and then cuts to something boring or something you've completely forgotten about since it was mentioned twenty chapters ago that a reader can take.

I think that's all the bad stuff about the book. I think this is the longest review I've ever written, which shows how much I absolutely hated reading this fucking book, especially as I have a violin playing related injury which means I'm typing this without the first finger of my left hand, which is harder than you might think. I apologise for swearing so much, and warn you: don't read this unlike you actually liked Gone, in which case you are more than welcome to dig your brain out of your skull with a rusty spoon.
This gets two stars, because I'm nice and a sucker for a good storyline and scary zombies.
Angry writer/reader out!

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