Friday, October 5, 2012

Review: Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh

Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh
My rating: 1.5 of 5 genies
Genre: YA, Horror, Romance, Fantasy
Published: August 28, 2012
Pages: 429
Publisher: Atheneum Books
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Purchase At: or

Goodreads Summary

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.

The Review

Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh strikes me as being an utterly absurd book. In some cases, it brings new meaning to the word, "filler," solidifying my idea that there really is such a thing as "curse of the second" in terms of book series and their sequels.

The book, following the preface, begins with a dream. Isobel, being in the middle of practising for Nationals with her cheer squad, is interrupted when none other than Mr. Nethers appears. They go off together, only to have a strange interaction, and before Varen leaves, he imparts a very eerie message, one I will NOT spoil. As the dream closes to an end, Isobel wakes without Varen. Christmas is around the corner, we even have snow but where I'm from, that white stuff is all annual, and it is revealed that nothing much has happened since we last left off. Like nothing. I use the word very literally because aside from inheriting the Dark One's moodiness, Isobel really isn't on a set path to finding Varen, let alone bringing him home. She has an idea of what could happen, providing that her very concerned parents do not lock her up in asylum before said plans materialize. Still, she isn't 100% on the exact details for Operation:Bust Varen from Clutches of Evil Demoness. Nope, we're still working out the bugs on that one.

Now, if I was Varen - or anyone trapped with Lilith, for that matter - I would be more than a little pissed. Maybe it was the overall pacing or the fact that the word "development" wasn't relative to Enshadowed's story-line at all. Isobel looked like a pouty, angsty, teenager; whining, but doing nothing about the problems in terms of solving them.



Listen up, I get that you miss Varen, I've missed him more probably these past months, but...can you LIVE a little?! Seriously, Isobel has a loving family, the most adorable little brother, and while they'd all give the world for her; she just cuts them out of her life completely.

Isobel : "Ah, life is so meaningless without Varen!

Very Confused Readers of Nevermore and now Enshadowed : *blinks* Were you always this annoying? Tell me you weren't always this annoying.

Yep, the death of one of my favourite characters just happened!

Her dad and mom kept trying for her to connect. Danny tried. Isobel wouldn't budge. And while I used to adore this coupling, hers and Varen, their relationship started to look a lot like every other PRN/YA out there where the lead heroine loses the love of her pubescent life, consequently slipping into manic depression. I couldn't stand this happening, not with Isobel and certainly not because of Varen. Because they were both better than this, or at least I thought so.

The only thing this book gets points for are its side-characters, Brad (believe it or not), Danny, Gwen, and Isobel's mom and her dad. The writing was pretty, but ultimately didn't take the reader anywhere. I could handle reading about a depressed protagonist if being inside her head did not make me feel depressed also. The only thing that got our little cheerleader acting lively was Varen, any mention or memory of him and she gained about a zap's worth of energy. Not that she did anything useful with this energy, mind you.

And as you can imagine, this source of restoration got old pretty fast. Isobel's perception of Varen suddenly took a turn for the worse; he became the 'tortured artist' and 'misunderstood,' giving the whole thing an awkward hero-worship quality. I became sceptical of him, disliking Varen to an extent when ordinarily I wouldn't have. The whole mess with was his fault.

Varen failed to connect appropriately with humanity, and hence, he sought the understanding companionship of a soul-sucking banshee. Go figure! The problem here is not that he is being made to face the consequences of his actions, but rather that Isobel seems utterly blind to him being at fault at all. She wants to stop Lilith from hurting anyone ever again, but what if they, like Varen, want her summoned? What then!?

Isobel : "Varen was tricked, and Lilith, she corrupted him!"

Every Reader, and I, who read Enshadowed and head-desked on a grand scale post-and during-the read. : "Sure, sweetheart. Hey, show me that pretty somersault of yours. Yes?"

This was absolutely unbelievable. That my intelligent, witty, Isobel would put aside rational thought, reason, to defend the Great Varen Nethers; there was just no point to it, like none at all. Whichever way you look at it, he is responsible for whatever's happening to him. Her denial of his involvement, more than anything, made her look stupid. You cannot seek to resolve anything by hiding or avoiding the truth; someone should have told Isobel. his Darkship: what the hell happened to you?? Frick, man, you were on a roll; people loved you, America's ovaries were in your favour!! And then you went and ruined it. I don't know/care if the tool committing that heinous act at the end of this book was you or just a Noc, but, that my friend was absolutely unacceptable. NO OVARIES FOR YOU. I am kind of royally ticked off about this, Kelly Creagh would have been better off never writing you (Varen) into this sequel and just sticking with the endless - and somehow elegant - prose of description.


Listen up Varen, you should file a character-complaint or something in the underworld's court of justice - that is, if Lilith will allow you - because you, my friend, have officially been victim to a total massacre. It will take a lot to win back this reader, I feel let down by this series. Maybe I should have just stuck to re-reading Nevermore and foregone Enshadowed, I would have been happier.

Major Problems

- The writing was endless, almost 430 pages worth, but there wasn't an actual story, nor substance.
- Somebody mentioned that Gwen almost became a plot device, but luckily I stopped reading before then. At first she was my Batman, saving the world/reading experience of this book for the masses, until I realized that Isobel's role was being greatly overshadowed by Gwen. Isobel is the main protagonist, and while she is there, her presence failed to accomplish anything by me.
- A chunk of pages at the beginning should have been sacrificed, if only to start the book off rightly, preferably when the action begins in Baltimore.

Final Thoughts

I leave Enshadowed thinking badly of both Isobel and Varen, even considering if the final instalment in this series will be worth the anticipation wasted on this second novel. This was a hard review to write, but if the next book is anything like this one, I'm thinking that maybe placing a hold for it at the library instead of pre-ordering a copy might be a better decision. I am safely disappointed, and I have said it before, but I'll say it again, this was not the sequel I waited almost a year for.
Verdict: Something saved this book from completely sucking. Otherwise, it would be forgettable at the very best, and yet, there were redeemable qualities somewhere. 1.5/5 genies.

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