Publisher: Entangled Teen (February 20, 2012)
Format: Kindle Edition
Plot: (should preface this with: you really need to read Obsidian before this novella otherwise the significance of a lot of what Dee, Daemon, and the other aliens say will be lost on you and a whole lot of action will seem rather abrupt and unconnected with the preceding events)
Alien triplets Dee, Daemon, and Dawson are living a quiet existence in rural West Virginia. Aside from the occasional fight with errant natural enemies, the Arum, and distant scrutiny of the Department of Defense, they are enjoying their lives blending in to the local high school and acting the part of typical teenagers. When Bethany Williams moves to school and meets Dawson, their two worlds collide and love instantly blooms. But as anyone who has read Obsidian knows, it is not meant to be. They battle nasty Arum, a near death experience, and all of the Luxen in order to be together but in the end, it’s not enough to save them from a pretty ambiguous demise.
If you’re anything like me or Ellen, you picked up Jennifer L Armentrout’s book, Obsidian, on a whim and were blown away by how sexy she makes aliens. I mean, whew, I’m fanning myself here because Daemon is hot. No really, he’s HOT. And mean, infuriating, exasperating, insufferable…plus a ton of other adjectives that really can’t do justice to him or his sexiness. So when we heard that Jennifer would be writing a back story about the twin brother, Dawson, we were all ready to hop on that gravy train. With that said, Shadows is exactly what I expected it to be. It’s nothing more than a flushed out version of what we glean from Obsidian and just fills in some missing details that really weren’t that important. What we know before Shadows: Dawson falls in love with a human named Bethany and because of their love, they both end up dead. What we know after reading Shadows: Dawson falls in love with a human named Bethany and after lighting her up like a christmas tree with his alien mojo, they become targets of the Arum and a certain something else which I believe is purposely ambiguous so that these two characters can make a come back in a later installment. Regardless, we don’t get anything new here. Some fun and snarky comments by Daemon about never falling for humans (ha!) and a little bit more of a glimpse of Ash, Adam, and Andrew’s life. Other than that, there’s not much. This is a nice filler/backstory until Onyx, Obsidian’s sequel comes out. I should point out that a few things really struck me about this installment. One is that the dialogue and writing seemed a bit off. Not bad per se but not up to scratch with what I’ve come to recognize as Jennifer L Armentrout’s usual style. The characters don’t really have personal voices like they do in Obsidian and they all talk a bit ghetto this time around. I mean we all love a bit of trash talk but it seemed wholly out of character for some of these characters and it really made each character seem interchangeable. One other sticking point is the love between Dawson and Bethany: wow, does it feel extremely sudden and forced. It’s as if he takes one look into her big brown eyes and BAM! Hormones take over and he’s in love so deep and dark that he’s ready to talk about marriage. At 16. Just didn’t buy it but then, maybe I’ve become a cynic at the ripe old age of 29.
So based on the following criteria:
How much did I like the heroine: 8. Bethany is definitely no Katy from Obsidian but she’s a good foil for the pretty even keel Dawson. She’s arty and dreamy and is trying not to fall head over heels for the gorgeous guy who’s on her from day 1. Props to her because one look in that boy’s emerald eyes and I’d be a goner.
How much did I like the love interest: 8. Dawson seems like a laid back version of Daemon. Less intense, more controlled, not as powerful in his Luxen abilities. I’m going to dub him The Poor Man’s Daemon because he’s almost as good as the real thing but not quite. He does seem sweet and does some alien voodoo in order to get Bethany back from being dead to being alive. So he scores some bonus points.
How believable is the plot: 7. I don’t know what it is about Armentrout’s brand of alien that makes this so convincing. The hidden glow they all have and their absurdly model-esque beauty notwithstanding, I’ll say that for the sake of argument aliens could hide among us if they could hide their other worldliness and stayed away from people. Some points are lost though for the speed with which the two main characters fall in love.
How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 7. Jennifer L Armentrout is a master at producing a well crafted story. Here her style falls a bit flat and seems not to flow as well as it normally does. The constant use of slang and ghetto talk is distracting and forces the characters to lose their individual voices. Even Dee, who is so fun and flighty, seems mired down. Still well written but the pacing and style leave a bit to be desired.
How much did I want to keep reading: 10. I want more Daemon! Of course I’ll keep reading. Admit it with me: he’s the only reason we read and the Poor Man’s Version of him was satisfying but not on the visceral level we all crave. More Daemon!
Final Score: 8/10. In the end, I think this story was bogged down by three things. 1. Our expectations for what the story should be. 2. Armentrout’s desire to tide us over until Onyx is released thereby sacrificing a bit of quality. 3. There really isn’t enough story here to warrant a whole novella. As mentioned above, this is a flushed out version of what we learn about Dawson from Obsidian. It doesn’t provide any surprises or shockers beyond the fact that maybe, just maybe, Dawson and Bethany are still alive out there. It’s a good filler but I still want more! Sigh. Can’t wait for Onyx…only 3 more months, people!