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I’m Coming To Eat You Up

A review of the long-awaited Shadows, by Ilsa Bick (the sequel to Ashes!). You can finally find out WHAT HAPPENED TO ALEX? OMG DID SHE GET EATEN OR WHAT?!

I’m Coming To Eat You Up

BOOK REPORT for Shadows (Ashes Book 2) by Ilsa J. Bick

Cover Story: Shadowy
BFF Charm: Sure
Swoonworthy Scale: 0
Talky Talk: A Bird's-Eye View of Gross
Bonus Factors: Dogs, The Midwest, Explosives
Relationship Status: Seven-Year Itch

Cover Story: Shadowy

I don't really have much to say about this cover, except, um, at least it doesn't show Alex in a prom dress? The colors are very thriller-y, there's some smoke, and a lot of shadows. Not too exciting, but it doesn't make me want to barf. Well done?

The Deal:

This is super important, yo! DO NOT READ THIS if you haven't read Ashes and are opposed to spoilers! Because there will be spoilers for Ashes here. Otherwise, I've tried very, VERY hard to avoid spoiling anything from this book, which does lead to a rather vague synopsis.

It's been months since the Zap that turned countless teenagers into mindless cannibals and killed most adults. Most survivors are holed up in enclaves for protection, enclaves like the rather twisted town of Rule (is it a coincidence, I wonder, that the scary granddaddy of Rule, Rev. Yeager, has a grandson whose last name is Prentiss?! Maybe he's Davy's ancestor!). Alex just escaped from Rule, only to end up in the hands of a team of teenage cannibals, now known alternately as Changed and Chuckies, the latter thanks to the scores of PTSD'd Vietnam vets who survived the Zap.

Tom knows Alex is out there somewhere, and he's desperate to find her. So's Chris. We also check in on a coupe of other kids from Rule -- the sociopathic Peter and bitchy Lena. If you don't remember who these guys are, you might want to give Ashes a quick once over if you didn't just re-read it for FYA Book Club, because shit is happening too fast and furious for Bick to slow down and recap events for a couple of forgetful pansies (I totally had to re-read the last 1/3 of Ashes before I could get everyone straight).

Is the Change over? Are the Spared REALLY Spared? And who can anyone trust -- the lone old folks? The military? Bounty hunters? Other kids? Or only one's self?

BFF Charm: Yes

Alex, of course, gets to hang on to the BFF charm I already gave her. I'm not sure she'd really care, but she does seem to be a little bit sentimental, and it might stop a bullet or something later on. Tom for sure gets my BFF charm, as well as a HUGE, GIANT HUG for all the shit he went through BEFORE the Zap, and of course all the shit he's still going through. There are some new kiddos popping up at the end whom I want to wrap in blankets and tuck into my pockets and feed lots and lots of soup and keep safe forever and ever, too. So BFF charms not quite all around (you'll see), but I'm not being stingy, either.

Swoonworthy Scale: 0

I know, WHAT?! Where's my ROI? I paid into those tingles and swoons and light-headed, hot, hot kisses in Ashes, and then Bick had to go and separate Alex from ALLTHE GUYS. GAH. ALSO there's some gross, gross, GROSS SHIT going on, like cannibal Chucky orgies, and something else, and only my hopes for book three and the fact that there was too much plain-ass SURVIVING to be done to worry about swoon are keeping this swoon rating from dipping into negative digits. I'm still holding out, though. Next year. Next year's gonna be a big year. This was just a temporary blip.

Talky Talk: A Bird's-Eye View of Gross

Once again, Bick has written a book that's nearly impossible to read on a lunch break (or breakfast, or with a snack, or any food - especially spaghetti and meatballs. For the love of god, DO NOT read this while eating spaghetti and meatballs). In a departure from Ashes, Bick gives loads of characters equal billing with Alex. Starting with Tom (!), we follow him as well as the kids from Rule, Chris, Peter and Lena. This is definitely a middle-of-the-trilogy book, with most of the action centered around the scattered characters converging, and learning more about the Change and the world post-Zap. Don't worry, it's no Two Towers, but it still doesn't have the punch of Ashes, in part because it switches around among multiple characters and takes a while to begin to uncover big secrets. As the various threads start to converge, things pick up, and by the end I was -- once again -- in a cold sweat and dying to know what happens next. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT??

Bonus Factor: Dogs

Doggies! Again! They're the furry superheroes of this post apocalypse, but ... guys, um, just don't get too attached.

Bonus Factor: The Midwest

So I hear people from the Midwest are super, duper proud of it, or something. I've never been there, so I wouldn't know, but if you're from Wisconsin or Michigan -- especially the Upper Peninsula -- this is your book! Go cheese! And lots and lots of snow. THANK GOD I live in the south (I never, ever thought I'd say that).

Bonus Factor: Explosions

Bick knows her way around a weapon or twelve, and isn't afraid to BLOW SHIT UP.

Casting Call:

I had two thoughts for Lena, and one of them was Dakota Fanning, and the other was better, but I can't remember who it was now, so Dakota Fanning it is.

Dakota Fanning as Lena

And as for the guys? Sorry, maybe I'm just cranky, but every actor I looked at was either too douchey-seeming or too British, so maybe they'll get cast for the last one. Thoughts?

Relationship Status: Seven-Year Itch

Ashes Trilogy, I am totally committed to you, I just want you to know that. But we've been together for a while, and being whole middle-book-in-the-series has affected you. I know it's not your fault, because stories have to be developed and everyone has to end up in one place for the final battle, but you can't blame me if my attention wandered sometimes. I'll stick it out, because I know this is just a temporary lull in our relationship and before I know it, things'll be hot again. I still love you, I really do, but that early-day romance is gone.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from Egmont.  I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Shadows will be available September 25.

Meghan Miller's photo About the Author: Meghan is an erstwhile librarian in exile from Texas and writer for Forever Young Adult. She loves books, cooking and homey things like knitting and vintage cocktails. Although she’s around books all the time, she doesn’t get to read as much as she’d like.