Saturday, September 08, 2012
Shadows Before the Sun by Kelly Gay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The worst book in a series is always the travel one. The reason I love a series is the characters and the way they interact. But for some reason so many authors decide to take their characters on road trips where they're totally isolated from the other characters, as though exploring cool settings can make up for the characters that we love. I do understand in this series that the other two worlds are part of the premise that the author wanted to explore from the beginning. But at least in the last book when Charlie went to Charbydon a few of the other characters went with her. This time on Elysia she was completely isolated from everyone in her family. The only person from Earth with her was the Oracle, Alessandra, a very minor character that while somewhat interesting was certainly not someone with whom I felt any rapport previous to this book. I think it worked better than most travel books. The Circe were properly terrifying and the contrast between their cruelty and the beauty of Elysia was effective. And to some degree, Charlie being alone and isolated was also an effective storytelling technique; seeing how she handled doing everything on her own was interesting and helped her develop her abilities. But for a good portion of the book I really missed seeing her interact with the characters that bring out her best qualities.
Early on in the series I sometimes felt like the some of the use of mythology was too heavy-handed, trying to incorporate too many famous myths and religious icons, it just sometimes made it feel a bit cheesy and like it was trying too hard to be cute. But in the last book or two I've liked this aspect a lot more, things have come together better for me. I thought the trip to Elysia was good for illustrating the concept that the author created.
Overall it was an engaging book. I really do like Charlie and the other characters. The author writes a good story and I feel an emotional connection to Charlie, Hank, Emma and Rex. And Brim, don't forget the hellhound!
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