Monday, December 14, 2020

Shadows—A Lux Novel by Jennifer Armentrout

     I like YA, and I have recently published a debut novel in this genre. So when I was encouraged to read this well-received series, I felt I should start with the ‘Shadows’ novella, a prequel of sorts. The author penned it to introduce Dawson and Bethany, two characters that affect the book’s plot. Her intent is clear. She wants ‘Shadows’ to replace the tedious back story in Obsidian, the first book in her Lux series. 

     I get it. Unfortunately, I was not too fond of it. It went on and on about how beautiful Dawson and Bethany found each other. That there was a certain amount of insecurity in finding each other so attractive. Then there were the secrets. And how these secrets could affect their budding relationship in a negative way. Not that there were any gargoyles hidden in Bethany’s closet just waiting to be revealed. Bethany is pretty but not gorgeous, and she is a good artist. But other than Dawson telling his siblings that she’s a “really good” painter, there is nothing inserted to make us find this talent of hers remarkable. Dawson has green eyes, dark hair, has great abs, is not as good a fighter as his brother, and other than the fact he’s a glowing alien…Yawn! 

     I think the fundamental problem is there’s no real plot. There were no shared obstacles to overcome, other than the whole relationship-building process. There wasn’t a story arc to speak of, characters are introduced, and then there’s a repetitive narrative of Bethany and Dawson getting to know each other. This bonding goes on and on for the largest part of the book. The action picks up when the author throws Bethany off a cliff, followed by the horror-struck Dawson breathing new life into Bethany. But, from the cliff to the end of the story barely covers a heartbeat, just a few page fillers. And in a rushed together, lightly narrated confrontation with the story’s antagonists, she leaves us to believe Bethany and Dawson have both died. 

     Ah, but I don’t believe it, and worse, at this point, I don’t really care if they died. I can cry over someone losing their pet goldfish, and yet I felt nothing after this scene. Ms. Armentrout never managed to get me to care about these two vanilla characters. The writing wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t good either, and it needed another edit. There were just a few awkward sentences throughout. They did hang me up. 

     So I guess that spells doom, as far as me buying the next book in the series...right? Wrong! Included with my e-book version was a preview chapter of Obsidian. I wasn’t going to read it; I felt those few minutes of my life could be better spent walking my dog, Nigel. And then I thought, what the hey, after all, I did pay for the whole thing. And besides, it was too hot out for a walk. So I read it. OMG! I Loved it! I went to Amazon to see if the preview pages were longer, and it was. Two chapters were in the preview. I loved them! I was cranky when I couldn’t read the next page. I wanted it now, and I wanted to keep reading. I tried the library. Somebody had checked it out. I went to the half priced book store. They didn’t have it. So I bought the e-book version. I will let you know if the rest of the book is as engaging as the first two chapters were. 

     In conclusion, I can’t believe the same author wrote both Shadows and Obsidian. If my experience gives a clue, I would say Shadows is not going to encourage people to read the series, just the opposite. Readers who have already read and loved the series will like it no matter what, as loyal fans tend to be more least for a while. 

Take care and keep reading. Remember, you're never alone if you have a good book to keep you company. Shelley Lee Riley

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