Author: Tera Lynn Childs
Genre: YA, paranormal
Publication Date: September 4, 2012 (HarperTeen – North America)
Source: Publisher-provided ARC
Summary: Three teenage descendants of Medusa, now united, must claim their heritage to fight the monsters escaped from the abyss.
Gretchen may have known she was a descendant of Medusa long before her sisters–after all, she’s spent her life fighting the monsters that escape the abyss–but that doesn’t mean it will be easy to teach the other girls the ropes.
Greer has pressing social commitments on her plate and precious little time to train in her newfound powers. But that wretched second sight won’t leave her alone, and her fabled heritage seems to be creeping into her fashionable life.
Grace has worries closer to home–like why her brother, Thane, has disappeared. He’s hiding something. Could it possibly be related to the secret heritage the triplets share?
☆: 3.5/5 stars – a great second book in the series, but it could have been better.
Review: I found that this volume of the trilogy was far easier to get into, moreso than the first volume (probably because I’m used to Childs’ style now). The pages flew by and before I knew it, the book was done. All in all, “Sweet Shadows” makes some major progress in the series, yet left a bit to be desired. But you can definitely bet that I’m reading book 3.
I found that this book was far more plot-driven than book one – not a bad thing by any means, but it meant fast pacing, and it left some of the more important aspects (individual character arcs) sitting on the sidelines. While we do get some serious progress with Greer’s personal arc and how she’s finally coming to accept her role in the triplets’ destiny, I found that Gretchen and Grace were left out in lieu of mostly focusing on Greer’s arc alone. Gretchen, to a lesser extent, gets her own adventure in the book (along with answering the question of who/what Nick is – that was satisfying!), but Grace just kind of gets left out of everything. The only thing she gets is the mystery that her brother may or may not know something about the triplets’ and the coming war with the Gods/Monsters/Olympus/etc. That was more than a bit disappointing. It felt very uneven, and I wish that Grace had gotten a better character arc than just making a boyfriend out of Milo – it felt very wasted there and brought down my enjoyment of the book greatly.
However, it was awesome seeing Greer finally accept her destiny, as well as fight the temptation of her second sight – everything with her in it was awesome. Gretchen came in second, but aside from her sub-plot dip into the Abyss to search for the other Gorgons, there really wasn’t much going on with her. So that’s where I stand with the character arcs.
The worldbuilding was good and continued to contribute to the story quite well, but not at the pace I was expecting it to be by book two. We should be getting more answers than we did in this book, though Childs did accomplish the bit of setting up yet more questions to be answered in the final book. It was a bit frustrating, though the development of the Abyss into a whole new place was really great, and I love how we got to see more of locales where the sisters were meeting. The sensory imagery and language improved greatly in this book – especially in the sight and smell departments where it seems like whenever we encountered a monster, I got nauseous from the scent description alone. I loved the way that the Abyss looked and the characteristics of everyone who lived there, especially the Golden Maiden.
But mainly, the plot was a bit too fast-paced for me, and I wanted to linger more on certain areas of the plot that are going to carry over heavily into book three. While the ass-kicking action was great, it just kind of skipped over some of the more important emotional elements that I wanted to get into. I would say that this book suffers just a bit from middle book syndrome, if just in the neglect of character arc/emotional connection areas alone, but really, it’s a great continuation of the series otherwise.
Final verdict? If you’ve read book one, you DEFINITELY have to read book two. “Sweet Shadows” is out on September 4, 2012 from HarperTeen in North America, so be sure to check it out then! It’s a great end of summer read for sure!