Oof. I’ve been meaning to write this post about Shadow Call (by AdriAnne Strickland and Michael Miller) for the last month. The thing with book reviews is that if you don’t write it right away, you lose the details. Unless you jot them down first (which I don’t).
Qole, Nev, and crew are back to harvesting Shadow, almost as if the tumultuous events of the last book didn’t happen. Except Nev is without a family, and even his friends onboard no longer fully trust him. Into this uncertainty comes a message from Nev’s parents, perhaps an opportunity to mend bridges. But tragedy strikes and the kingdom is thrown into disarray. On top of this, Shadow is starting to wear on Qole, and she must decide if using it is worth the cost.
I like a book with a plot that surprises me; as a writer and a voracious reader, that doesn’t happen as often as you’d think. So there was a twist in this book that was downright delightful (that there was a twist; the twist itself was less delightful).
Solara is a surprise in this book. Granted, it was clear that there was depth to her character from what we saw in Shadow Run, but she really came out of her shell in this book. Nev came into his own as well, thought that’s less of a surprise; we saw his personality and leadership ability in the last book. Qole was another delight. She breaks through her icy exterior, at times, to reveal a deeply passionate, deeply emotional girl (woman? She’s only 17…).
I wish we had seen more into Basra. We caught some fascinating glimpses in the last book, and I was hoping that we’d come to an even greater understanding in this book, but she/he kept her/his mysteries. I was disappointed.
What I loved about this book was the plot twist. I thought I saw how things would go from the beginning, so the wrench in the works was fantastic. The political and economic intrigue was interesting, but I feel as if it slacked off. That, and the buildup to war was too sudden. Politically, that would never have happened; there would’ve been outright rebellion if a new leader of a huge number of worlds jumped into war and against a nearly helpless entity. The intergalactic outcry would’ve been deafening. By far the most interesting part is the Shadow, this mysterious substance that’s dangerous and powerful and almost alive.
Meh. Let’s face it, the writing isn’t what draws the readers in: it’s the sci-fi angle, the young adult genre, the star-crossed love story, and the action. But the writing is totally acceptable.
This book is enjoyable; it’s a fun read. It gives you that YA space opera feel with plenty of angst. It’s not my favorite series (or even close). All I can say is if you want to become enmeshed in an interesting reality where humans have spread to the stars and are dealing with forces beyond their ken, then this is for you. But don’t expect soulful prose and lyrical writing. It’s pretty much pure action and fun with a side of average character development.