Lost in Shadow
There’s something for everyone, right? What one person thinks is trash may be a DIK on another’s bookshelf. And that is fine. To be perfectly honest, this will not be a DIK on my shelf. Actually, I’m not planning on letting it stay on my shelf. I spent a large part of this book rage-reading, each page offering me something new to rant over. And while I hate the idea of giving a novel a failing grade, this one flat-out failed for me.
Emily has had a hard time for the past year or so, starting before the car accident that nearly took her life. Her friend Kat has joined her in a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Scotland, touring the city of Edinburgh and its ghost stories and haunted sites. When getting separated from her tour group leads to stumbling across a sword-fight, she is unwittingly pushed into a world where even the gods still fight.
With her help, Colin may be able to break the curse that has followed him since he agreed to his immortal life back in the 1600s, but what that entails and what will happen next, no one knows. And he must keep her safe from friends, enemies, and mortals alike if they are to win the day and save humanity.
Let me start by saying this – the premise of the story isn’t bad. Unfortunately, that is because it’s already been done. As I was reading, I was constantly reminded of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series. Colin is a Shadow Walker (Dark Hunter) who has traded his immortal soul to Thorne (Acheron) to help fight for the side of good. Thorne calls upon the power of Luna, the moon (Artemis), for his hunters, and fights against Dayne (Styxx) and the Day Walkers (Daimons/Appolites). There are also a lot of other references, including The DaVinci Code (the Rosslyn Chapel) and The Princess Bride (the Dread Pirate Roberts), as well as actual physical locations and historical figures, including the World’s End Pub and Bartholomew Roberts (again, the Dread Pirate Roberts).
A quick aside about the pirate Roberts, in this series he has been changed to Robert Bartholomew of Wales, the “Prince of Pirates”. Robert, it seems, is the hero for the second book in this series. When I first met him as a character, I knew the name sounded familiar, and I thought the author was just playing off of The Princess Bride character, but I looked a little bit further, and yes, Bartholomew Roberts was a real pirate and is also referenced in Treasure Island and the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Bartholomew Roberts was also from Wales, and was known after his death as Black Bart – who, again, is referenced in this novel. It honestly frustrated me to no end – it just seems like a lazy way to create a main character.
But back to the story – there was just so much I found frustrating. Emily just goes along with everything that happens, and Colin see-saws back and forth between caring for her and pushing her away. I did not believe in their romance at all, and was absolutely astonished when, after a whole week of knowing each other, they decide that immortality is the right choice as a couple, and that they need to get married. And the earth goddess in this novel, Terya, is the ultimate act of deus ex machina – not only does she ensure that the two get to be together, she also gives them, as immortals and thus unable to procreate, children. At which point Thorne, not to be outdone, gives Emily the power to shoot lightning bolts to protect herself. All the rage-reading!
This novel is so full of tropes and cliches that I am surprised the author had room for her characters.
The writing itself, while not terrible, was still hard to follow. Transitions between character points of view and even locations were slim at best, non-existent most of the time. There are so many details that don’t matter, but are there anyway (Emily collecting stray animals, and having saved an owl that would fly to school to wait for her to finish), and so many characters who are given backstory that is simply not necessary (Officer Monroe MacDonald who has history with the Day Walkers). And little details like having the policemen called Officer so-and-so could easily be fixed by a quick google search – the rank in Scotland would most likely be Constable, not Officer.
By the time I finished the book, I couldn’t tell if I was angry because it was just really that bad, or if it was just that I spent so much time being angry at it that I was going to think it was terrible no matter what.