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Shadows (Ashes) Hardcover – September 25, 2012
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Seventeen-year-old Alex thought the postapocalyptic town of Rule was safe, but its most prominent citizens are involved in a deadly deception that forces her back out on the road, where she battles zombielike “Changed” and citizen militias. Bick’s vivid descriptions of zombie meals and fight scenes are her strength and will continue to please horror fans interested in action over characterization; this is no story for the queasy. But readers will need the background from the first book, Ashes (2011), to contextualize the various characters and story lines in this second book of the trilogy. Grades 7-10. --Cindy Welch
About the Author
Ilsa J. Bick is a child psychiatrist, film scholar, former Air Force major, and now a full-time author. Her critically acclaimed, award-winning YA novels include Draw the Dark, Drowning Instinct, and Ashes (a 2011 VOYA Perfect Ten). Ilsa currently lives in rural Wisconsin, near a Hebrew cemetery. One thing she loves about the neighbors: they're very quiet and only come around for sugar once in a blue moon. Visit her online at www.ilsajbick.com or adr3nalin3.blogspot.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
Top customer reviews
Bick doesn't waste time recapping the storyline, but a helpful hint for those who've forgotten anything would be to visit the author's website as she has a great page to refresh your memory. Instead, we're launched into Alex's predicament, surrounded by Changed...and it's not a spoiler to say that while she lives, the situation is one of constant danger and vividly horrible positions. While we are dealing with Alex's dilemma, we are also bounced through the points of view of Tom, Chris, Peter, and a few others, making it hard at times to keep the action straight. But that's a minor quibble in this excellent, action filled sequel.
Bick is a master of keeping the reader on the edge of his/her seat, and I'm no exception. Many of her chapters end as cliff hangers, making the "just one more chapter" bit an almost constant issue. There is a point midway when the action slams back and forth between Alex and Tom that literally left me exhausted as the pages flew between life threatening situations. That segment alone would be worth the price of the book, but Shadows is so much more than "Chuckies" eating people; it's about relationships, fear, survival, and the degeneration of humanity. Just when it can't get worse, it does, and Bick succeeds in breaking our hearts more than once. When Jack entered the story, I nearly lost it.
I absolutely loved Shadows and one of my particular joys while reading is that Bick does not write down for the reader: her vocabulary is extensive and well used, and her knowledge, particularly of old mines, traps, and the depravity of humans, shines through. I'm impressed that Bick expects the reader to infer so much and that she's able to tie so many threads together so well. This is what young adult writing should be.
Big warning though: While I adored Shadows, it is filled with gore, to the point that I even skimmed a few passages to avoid the mental picture. And while I applaud Bick for not shying away from situations that bring the terror of the zombies to life, I do think those with a weak stomach might want to consider before reading. I'd recommend this one for those at the older end of the young adult spectrum, but adults like me will definitely find much to love. Highly recommended.
There's a lot of downtime as Alex plans, and plots. For a good portion of the book it's only Alex leaving the reader's who have read the first book ( which I'd highly suggest) to wonder what happen to Tom and Ellie. Alex is not the only POV at this time, she shares the lime light with Chris and Peter two young men she meets in Rule. Chris also becomes something of a love intrest for Alex, which I have to admit I didn't like at all. I kept wanting Tom to bust into town and sweep Alex away. Of course this doesn't happen.
In my opinion the book really didn't pick up until the second half, when things start coming together or falling apart depends on which characters point of view you look at the plot from. Also this is where the action and tension pick up so that helps too. We also learn what happened to Tom in this part of the book.
I really love Alex and Tom's characters they are both tough and tenacious. Neither want to give up on the people they love, even though they have no idea if those people are alive or dead. This hope drives them to incredible lengths, pushing against crazy odds for the elusive happy ever after.
The world Ms Bick has created is desolate and fierce. With these young people growing up fast to not only survive the elements and starvation but also creatures that were once friends and family. On top of fighting off a cannibalistic teenage horde, the survivors must figure out who they can trust when all the adults seem to have some sort of agenda. This trilogy keeps getting better and better. I never know what will happen or how the plot will twist keeping me on my toes and flipping pages like crazy. The cliff hanger ending had me reaching for book three as soon as this one was over.
The ending was pretty good though. The author is definitely knowledgeable about the things she writes about. I found her reference to BCGs funny and she seems to know quite a bit about explosives. The ending was well timed and organized and it's clear that this was not a "I'll write it and see how it ends" sort of book. It moved well and it was very descriptive. I'd give the ending 4 out of 5 starts.
Most recent customer reviews
I hate to say it, but I am pretty disappointed with this one.Read more