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Stalking Shadows (Diamond Peak) Paperback – December 1, 2013
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I didn't like it quite as much as the first book. This is mainly because I'm eager to reach the end of the quest, thus find the middle somewhat of a frustration. The books overall quality is top draw, with a good pace and easy style. Unsurprisingly, some of the fantasy elements are very familiar to anyone that has read any of the genre but that doesn't mean there isn't a good deal of originality as well.
We can see all the classical elements of the moral quest, the long road searching for the magic that will allow evil to be defeated. The dark forces are embedded in the suffocating, black serpentine. Ariel, the heroine is growing in skill, becoming immersed in the magic of her inheritance, whilst fighting her instincts to run, or fall into the strong arms of her worldly lover, or even to sink into the smothering, beguiling, evil. Arial is as determined to defeat the Rasama as I am to reach the end of book three. I don't think Ariel really found anything but frustration in this difficult middle road either, all sorts of frustrations in her case, especially when this book started with her realising that her personal quest had so far failed.
I really need to move on from Sheldra, and Arial and Nick really need to get together with the job done. There are so many cravings that need ending, so Tahlia Newland, please don't keep us waiting too long. Don't give the serpentine over much time to grow, or else Arial will need a forth book in order to bring things to a head. Would Newland do that to us?
Tahlia Newland has built a world where every emotion matters. Where infection (called the Serpentine) can turn evil and selfish feelings into something far more destructive, requiring great mental discipline to combat.
Quote from the book:
'So, essentially, we're fighting our own emotions,' she had concluded. `Which is why defeating the demons can only be achieved by gaining command over your emotions,' he had said.
This world is the context for Ariel, a young woman in the grip of a prophecy, desperately trying to rescue her mother before her mother is killed... or worse.
Romance-wise, Nick and Ariel have their moments, though I confess that sometimes I want to shake them both until they kiss and make up. Their own fears and personal growth lend the story just a touch of Twilight-style angst, jealousy, and we-can-never-be-together-frustration.
One of the key facets of Ms. Newland's writing is she tends to follow Neil Gaiman's advice: "Find the right word, put it down." She has a skill for choosing words that deftly avoid passive-verb problems, skillfully weaving her impressive world-building and unique system of magic and power.
It's a visual writing style - you can see the action.
I enjoy the subtle (and not so subtle) message of all life being important, and there being hope for everyone, no matter how tainted. If you're interested in this book, do check it out.
In Newland's signature style, she turns internal struggles into fantastic battles of magic. Feelings have a color and a brightness, and evil has many faces and personalities. Even romance holds extra danger when a girl can zap the one she loves with the power of feelings. This can be particularly excruciating with a volatile teen! I admit I found Ariel's fluctuating resolve almost as aggravating as Nick did, even though we both knew why she felt that way. Newland really nailed the love/hate relationship with Twitchet, who amused, comforted, aggravated, and mocked the couple mercilessly.
Newland wrestles with the problem of evil, transforming it into a supernatural battle against a tenacious beast. I could really feel her anguish at the infection in society, the hopelessness of so many in the face of the disease, and the deep need for a hero to step in and defeat it. Her enemies weren't just beings, but sometimes sprits or animated objects, which gave an almost Shinto flavor to some of her terrain. They weren't simple "bad guys" either but individuals with a perspective and tragic past.
Newland's writing style just gets better and better. Her scenes take me out of my living room and into Diamond Peak. I know when I pick up one of Tahlia's book I'm in for a great read!
I received a copy of this book from the author for the purpose of honest review.
Most recent customer reviews
It picks up right after the ending of book one, so really should be read in order.Read more
Ariel and Nick are at it again, fighting demons that prey off your emotions.Read more