Review: Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh ★★★★★

Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh
Genre: YA Paranormal
Series: Nevermore #2
Publication Date: August 28, 2012  
ISBN: 9781442402072
Page Count: 429
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Copy: Own Purchase  
Reviewed by: Janice
Synopsis: 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.


A very worthy sequel

For me, reading this book was like watching Empire Strikes Back. I first saw the movie when I was about 10 years old, way back in the days before smartphones, mp3's, internet in every home, DVD's, etc. Basically, in the Stone Age, lol. I was too young to catch the original Star Wars movies in the theaters, so the first time I saw any of the them was when they released to video (VHS) in the mid- to late-80's. They weren't released at the same time, either, or at least my parents didn't rent them together. Anyway, long story short, I can still remember that "WTF"-type feeling I had. It went something like this: The rebels are losing? Hunky hero Han Solo is on ice? Darth Vader is Luke's father? Wait, WHAT?!?!?!? I was stunned. Even worse, I had to wait a while before my family finally got their hands on a copy of Return of the Jedi so I could see for myself how everything turned out.

Well, that shock, that WTF-just-happened feeling...that's pretty much how I feel after reading "Enshadowed".

The story picks up a couple of months after Nevermore (book 1 in the series) ends. It's Christmas now, and Isobel is still struggling to deal with everything that happened on Halloween. Varen is trapped in the dreamworld. Reynolds is MIA. Her social life is pretty much nonexistent. Worse, the lines between dream & reality are starting to blur. She sees things, has nightmares, doesn't feel connected to the world around her. Her family is doing their best to be supportive but it's not easy when they don't know what's really going on. It's not as if she can tell them, either - or anyone, for that matter. Who would believe her? And yet, despite all this, Isobel is determined to rescue Varen. Somehow, someway, she's going to bring him back.

Sounds simple enough, right? Girl saves boy & they both live happily ever after.

If only it were that easy.

Isobel has a tentative plan - to be at Poe's grave in Baltimore on January 19th, because that's where (she hopes) Reynolds will be. He's her only link to the dreamworld, and by extension, to Varen. But how to get there, and what to do once she is? Will Reynolds help her or will he betray her again? Fortunately, she receives unexpected aid from her family & best friend Gwen (love that girl!), but is it enough? And then there is Pinfeathers. That's right, he's back, alternatively threatening, dropping hints, and of course talking in his usual circles. (He plays a key role in this book, IMO)

The entire story revolves around Isobel's quest. She doesn't give up, no matter how difficult things get. I love that about her. I can't say I agree 100% with all of her decisions but I understood why she made them in each scenario.

But back to the story. All sorts of new information is revealed. We learn more about the Nocs, the dreamworld, and the woman known as Lilith. We even find out a few of Reynolds' secrets. If you think, like I did, that you had everything figured out after reading Nevermore, think again. Enshadowed is full of surprises.

Varen is absent for most of the book. There's a brief, sweet scene between him & Isobel in the beginning (she's dreaming, of course), but after that, whenever he does appear, things are noticeably different. He is different. Darker. Not the boy Isobel fell in love with. To make matters worse, Isobel is inadvertently responsible for some of those changes. I won't say how or why because it would give away too much, but let me tell you, that scene with the pink ribbon is absolutely gut-wrenching. And the final scenes, OMG...

Enshadowed is not a happy book, but like the movie Empire Strikes back, its purpose isn't to wrap everything up in a neat little bow. Rather, it masterfully builds the suspense, ups the stakes, and makes us fear for the fate of our heroes. I am desperate to read more, to see what happens next, and it absolutely kills me, having to wait until sometime in 2013 for my next Varen & Isobel fix.

If you like gothic, suspenseful tales filled with twists, turns, and unforgettable characters, you simply MUST check out this remarkable series by Kelly Creagh.

5 Stars ★★★★★

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