Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Shadows

Grace Knox's life has been turned upside down. Her father recently died, leaving their family with a failed business, lots of debt, lawsuits against them, and struggling to survive. Her family's only hope is for her to marry a rich man. Fortunately, Patrick Devlin, a wealthy childhood friend, expresses interest in her. He's nice, age appropriate, and seems to truly care for her. Enter Derry, or Diarmid of Irish legend. He and the Fianna, ancient Irish warriors, were called by Patrick in order to overthrow the English rule of Ireland. Derry infiltrates the Devlin house to see if Patrick is the one who called them and what his intentions are. Unfortunately, Patrick thought the spell didn't work and also calls up the Fomori, a rival band of ancient warriors known to be harbingers of chaos and enslavement. Will they put aside their difference to work to free Ireland or willy they destroy each other in an epic battle?

The Shadows immediately interested me because of the focus on Irish mythology and Victorian society. The book does explore Irish mythology that I wasn't famliar with before. The Fianna and the stories involving them were the most interesting part of the story for me. They were dead for thousands of years because their hubris turned them into selfish tyrants A spell was bestowed upon them to either find a cause worthy enough for a priestess to agree with them and sacrifice herself for it or they would simply fail and die. Their internal stories before this were also drama filled, with stolen loves, killer boars, jealous exes, and tragic deaths. The Fianna in the present posed as a street gang in order to blend in while they figure out their situation. Overall, I liked them, but I would have liked to get a better picture of all of them, instead of just the leader Finn and Derry. The Victorian society aspects were inconsistent and lacking. Sometimes Grace would freak out at impropriety and other times, she would embrace it. There were no concrete consequences for not following the expectations of her station and it made that part of the book fall flat.

Grace is honestly kind of boring. I feel for her and her situation, but her constant oscillating between Patrick and Derry is annoying. Plus her decision for this book will most certainly be changed at least once before the series is over. Her logic and thought process was odd and unnatural at times and I felt more annoyed by her than anything. It feels like nothing truly happens throughout the book. It takes a long time to even move forward with the characters finally becoming aware of each other. Nothing is resolved and nothing very exciting happens. It feels like a second book in a trilogy, which is typically all set up and no payoff which is saved for the last book.

The Shadows delivered on Irish mythology, but not much else. I felt as if nothing really happened except a lot of set up through the entire novel. I grew bored with the story as a result and I'm not sure I would even read the next book in the series.

My rating: 2.5/5 fishmuffins

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