The second installment of the apocalyptic Ashes series picks up where the first book left off. Alex has left the town of Rule to search for Tom and Ellie and is taken captive by a group of “The Changed”. This faction has adapted to their new lives by learning how to use weapons, cooperate with each other, and even ski! However, they are still deadly, zombie-like killers.
An elderly couple has given refuge to Tom; they are desperately trying to replace the void in their lives left by the death of their son. Peter has been taken captive by a vigilante group who are performing experiments on “Chuckies” and “Spared”. Chris, Lena, Kincaid, and Nathan are “rescued” on their way to the Rule jail and sent off, defenseless, to Oren. Other citizens of Rule are actually traitors and liars who will say and do anything to keep their “Changed” children and grandchildren alive and support their own agenda!
The paths of the some main characters will soon surprisingly cross, culminating in a tense, exciting climax that will leave readers hanging and drooling for the third book! I don’t want to give anything away, so that is much as I can reveal!
Shadows is a thrilling, gory, and exciting book! However, if readers want to be able to follow what is going on in the plot, they might want to reread Ashes, especially the parts about Rule. I read Shadows twice and made extensive notes about characters and plot in the second time through, just to keep track of everything! In fact, I caught many things when I read it for the second time that I had missed on my first read. Many of the characters are citizens of Rule, and while they are more developed, there are also new characters that appear briefly and then are killed off.
Ashes alternated between the viewpoints of Alex and Tom, but Shadows contains numerous points of view, as well as many flashbacks. The complicated plotlines are all going on at one time, so get ready to change personalities often! This might be a little confusing at first, but readers will eventually get used to it.
There is plenty of action, blood, and gore for readers to enjoy. There is even an orgy scene, although it is just alluded to, rather than described. Readers who have read Drowning Instinct will notice a similarity between a particular scene in that book and one in Shadows. In addition, the Amish culture and language is cleverly woven into this story.
Revenge and retribution are apparently going to play a large part in the third book. As with Ashes, there are plot twists and turns and a cliffhanger ending that will leave readers drooling for the final book in the series, Monsters, which will make its debut in about a year.
Ashes will be released on September 25, 2012. I highly recommend this book for high school and public libraries!
*Reviewers note: The copy reviewed was obtained at ALA MidWinter from Egmont in exchange for an honest review.