Thursday, April 24, 2014

In the Shadows

Book released 4/29/2014

Cora and Minnie are sisters living in a small, stifling town where strange and mysterious things occur. Their mother runs the local boarding house. Their father is gone. The woman up the hill may or may not be a witch.

Thomas and Charles are brothers who’ve been exiled to the boarding house so Thomas can tame his ways and Charles can fight an illness that is killing him with increasing speed. Their family history is one of sorrow and guilt. They think they can escape from it . . . but they can’t.

Beth says 4 Stars...
I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this book - I initially thought it would be in more of a straightforward graphic novel format.  Instead there are parallel stories told alternatingly through written chapters and the drawings.  This is one of the few times that I'm really sad that I had an ebook version of a novel because I'm sure the illustrations are even better in the hardcover.  I spent quite a bit of the book a bit confused about what was happening in the visual part.  By the end I realized what it was, but it definitely took a while.  Because of the transitions between the text and illustrations, the book can be a bit harder to follow than if it was exclusively text based.  However, Di Bartolo's artwork fits in perfectly with the style of the rest of the story.  I ended up going back and looking over the narrative from the pictures after I finished the book and got so much more out of it on the second go round.  The plot isn't a wild thrill ride, but instead relies on creating and unsettling and mysterious atmosphere while lettting the mystery slowly unfold in a surprisingly short number of pages.  I did wish that there would have been a bit more explaination around the mythology of the evildoers, but I always want more!

The characters were all quite well done.  Since the beginning of the story is told in chapters that center on the different characters before they all meet, it's easy to get a sense of their individual natures before the main action takes place.  Although there's romance between various characters, it doesn't feel false.  None of them immediately fall in love with one another; in fact, some of them even mention just having fun and flirting with someone they just met!  The shock.  What's nice about having an ensemble book rather than one with a single main character (and their love interest) is that everyone responded to the situations differently.  Thus, White was able to explore a vastly greater range of human emotion and action.  Arthur had a completely different history and knowledge base from, say, Thomas and thus acted in another manner entirely. Even though the book was short, the characters got time to grow, change, and connect with readers.

I really enjoyed this book.  It's definitely something different in a good way.  If you're tired of all the paranormal romances, but still want something magical this could be for you.  I would strongly recommend getting the physical book because I think it might be a better experience rather than reading it on a computer/tablet.
ebook from Publisher


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