Currently I'm a librarian and before that I was an archaeologist, a journalist, and definitely a bit of a world traveler. I tend to mostly read science fiction and fantasy, though I do love a good mystery and I'm a bit of a book dabbler overall. I've been doing Goodreads for awhile, but a friend thought I might enjoy this as well. Let's see, yeah?
I was really expecting this book to be great because the first was amazing! Ashes had great tension, great pacing, gore that didn't push things too far, and characters I really enjoyed. Shadows lacks these things for me.
I think part of what killed the pacing and tension for me is that Bick decided to move away from a single viewpoint and do a whole slew of perspectives instead. There are even character viewpoints that only last for a chapter before that character is killed off! Sometimes the tension is greater when you have no idea what is going on -- or just a hint. Ashes had plenty of hints, and not a lot of information about missing characters and that let me hope and worry. If Tom hears a gunshot or sees shadows moving around within the house, isn't that more suspenseful than if we get a viewpoint of what goes on in the house before we move on to a confused Tom?
Now, while the multiple viewpoints allowed for a lot more action, they also slowed the action down quite a bit. Sure, things happened for characters in fewer pages ofr the individually, but overall you had to wade through someone else's perspective -- or multiple someones' -- before you'd get to resolution.
There were also so many perspectives that sometimes they didn't stand out from each other so well. I liked Tom's viewpoint and personality and Alex's (when it was there), but many of the other kind of blended together. I don't feel like I really got to know most of them. They are just vehicles for plot to ride around in.
The other issue with tension was the ridiculous number of awful events (usually accompanied with a whole lot of gore). See, if nothing ever works out then I don't have any hope that things will go well for the characters. If I don't believe good things can happen to the characters, then I can't have any tension. I already know things are going to go south. Really far south. There will always be something to slip on or a miscalculation or a forgotten fact or item. Every time. The heroes are doomed to fail.
Now, interesting things did happen in the book and the story did advance. I do want to read book three, but I'm just not as comfident that I'm going to enjoy it. I guess I can't recommend Shadows until I know if Monsters is going to wrap things up well. I assume that there's no way to go back to a single perspective, but if I'm lucky, maybe there will at least be fewer... (though I doubt it)