Book Review: Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh

Hardcover: 429 Pages

Series: Nevermore #2

Publisher: Atheneum Books

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True love takes a twisted turn in the second book of this modern gothic romance trilogy channeling the dark brilliance of Edgar Allan Poe.

While Varen remains a prisoner in a perilous dream world where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life, Isobel travels to Baltimore to confront the dark figure known throughout the world as the Poe Toaster. This man, the same man who once appeared to Isobel in her dreams and abandoned her in Varen’s nightmare world, holds the key to saving Varen.

But when Isobel discovers a way to return to this dream world, she finds herself swept up in a realm that not only holds remnants of Edgar Allan Poe’s presence, but has also now taken on the characteristics of Varen’s innermost self. It is a dark world of fear, terror, and anger.

When Isobel once more encounters Varen, she finds him changed. And now Isobel must face a new adversary—one who also happens to be her greatest love.”

I started reading Enshadowed late last night, thinking I’ll get through a couple of chapters at best, then turn in for the night. Ha, right. The second installment in the Nevermore series draws you in just as fast and as sure as the first book did; I couldn’t stop reading even when I was sure my eyeballs were going to pop out of my eye sockets of exhaustion. <— there’s a lovely visual for you.

Enshadowed starts where the last book left us: Varen is still stuck in the dream world, with no chances of escaping on his own, and Isobell is trying hard to keep her promise of coming back for him, even though she doesn’t have a clue how to do so. Her starting point and only idea is finding Reynolds.

However unfortunate that is, we don’t get to see much of Varen in this book.  He makes a couple of short appearances, enough of them for the reader to understand he’s changed; being at the mercy of Lilith in Dreamworld has changed him and not for the better.

I loved Isobell in Nevermore and I love her even more in this one. True, at a certain point, her brain freezes, panic attacks and anxiety fits get to be a little too much; but she’s getting smarter and she’s trying to figure things out, how to save Varen. I like how that shows, rather than the author spelling it out for us, how much she cares about him and how far she is willing to go to get him back. She still has the same tenacity that made me like her in the first novel, still as determined, even when she’s scared beyond her wits.

Gwen is another great character and a very good friend to Isobell. She’s full of quips and snarky remarks, in a way that doesn’t make her look like she’s reading after a script.

All in all, I love Creagh’s characterization. She lets her characters grow, doesn’t constrain them to stereotypes.

Even though it’s not chock-full of action scenes, Enshadowed is a very easy and engaging read, a page-turner. You get more questions answered, like who is Bess/Ligeia/Lilith, what does she want, want really happened with Poe. In a way, I guess you could consider it a mash-up novel, because it combines fiction with A.E. Poe’s poems and real events from his life.

The plot moves at a smooth pace; I wasn’t even aware how the hell I ended up at page 150 when just a second ago it seemed I was at page 10, that’s how captivating the book is. And I gotta give it to Miss Creagh, she’s got serious writing chops! The writing is beautiful, in the way an intricate silver pendant is both gorgeous and delicate, creepy, dangerous, dark and spellbinding.

” Through deception and seduction, Lilith had found a way to access that hollow part of him that yearned for connection. Like black oil, she had poured herself in, filling his mind, his heart, and eventually his stories.  Stories that had not only given her strength, but had opened a gate to this world. In short, she had exploited that very characteristic of Varen’s that so many chose to judge him by.

His aloneness.”

Also, man, does she have a knack for keeping you, the reader, on your toes! Her cliffhangers are literally killing me. The ending was a complete surprise, emotional and tear-jerking and..that’s all I’m going to say about it. You’ll have to read the book and see what happens.
Seriously, read the book! Like, uhm, now.

~~ Spoilers down below! ~~

My thoughts during the final chapters:

Alrighttt! You found him. You go girl!

Oh, hmm, I guess he’s different. Well, who wouldn’t be, that’s alright.

Oh my God, what did he ju-OHMIGOD!

Oh, oh, phew. She’s fine, heh.

She’s not?!?!?! <– interogangbang.

Ah, yeah, she is. But..wait, did he do what I think he did?! O_O



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