by Lisa J Bick (Author)
Shadows is the sequel to Ashes, and is the second volume in another of the dystopian trilogies that are so popular at the moment. This time around, humanity has been devastated as a result of a not yet fully explained EMP that has also turned most children into flesh-eating savages. Tom, Alex and Ellie struggle to survive in this new and brutal world.
Much of what happens in the series isn’t particularly novel, but there are some nice touches that set the series apart from the others. The main character, Alex, is suffering from a terminal brain tumour and children not affected by the EMP have become a valuable currency as people barter their way into settlements for protection.
This is an action-packed (albeit very gruesome) story that has very little of ‘people doing stupid things purely to advance the plot’ that plagued the earlier volume. The main characters are well-drawn and, for the most part, believable, although Alex (17) seems remarkably proficient in too many things that prove useful and the somewhat glib reasoning for this doesn’t quite convince.
One major criticism I have is in relation to the cover. This is a book with lots of action and strong leads of both genders that both boys and girls would enjoy reading. Despite this, the cover, though striking, will probably alienate many young male readers by featuring a girl’s face, thus suggesting that this is in fact yet another Twilight gothic romance clone, when it quite clearly is not.