Review: Shadowspell by Jenna Black & Blog Watch Wednesday

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Author: Jenna Black
Genre: mythic/supernatural fiction, young-adult
Series: Faeriewalker #2
Pages: 320
Published: January 2011
Source: bought
Rating: 3.75/5

Glimmerglass, the first in this series, has been so far one of my favorite reads of the year. It was inventive, clever and engrossing with characters I actually cared for. It set a high standard for the rest of the novels in the Faeriewalker world, and I hesitate to say Shadowspell was on par with Glimmerglass. The tone and the pacing have a lot to do with my dismay; there is a lack of real urgency or tension throughout the novel. Several disastrous and worrisome things happen, but they're either so abrupt or unexplained that I felt almost left-out of crucial details, though I'd just read the paragraph. 

Certainly, the problems I had with this novel were not with Dana. Just as wry and dry as before, she is a breath of fresh air in a genre that is populated with vapid, unquestioning female protagonists. Her chemistry with Ethan sparks, though I did weary of the I'm-not-your-girlfriend/boyfriend-but- storyline between them. Either date or don't, just stop with all the jealously meanwhile, PLEASE. I also appreciated the fact that once Dana was aware of Keane's interest in her, she deflected it because of Kimber's interest instead of causing a love triangle. I appreciate reading YA novels where teenage girls have an actual caring, loving relationship instead of the "frenemies" standard. 

The one "human" problem Dana seems to have in her danger and Fae-filled life is still her mother, Cathy. Still in denial, and combative about the fact, Cathy grounds her daughter in a way none of the other characters can.  Dana's memories of life with her drunk, oblivious mother cripple many of her attempts at closeness still. This human problem in the midst all of the other Fae concerns is what draws me to Dana the most. She loves her mother, and she hates her mother for her complete inability to simply face up to the pain she has put Dana through. There is (finally) a real confrontation between the two in Shadowspell, and in that sad scene were all the explanations for Dana's withdrawn character. Her enforced house-arrest at the hands of her father is a sad symbol for Dana's lifelong feelings of isolation.

Sadly enough, Kimber's role in this was much reduced. To my sorrow, she remained off-stage or distant from Dana for much of the story. As Kimber is my personal favorite character  I was hoping for more than cameos and drive-bys; her sarcastic and acerbic wit is always fun to read. I am very much behind the match-up with her Keane: her stubbornness and his tempestuousness could make for a volatile and entertaining couple. Another character mostly missing from the action: Seamus. Dana's dad is hardly involved in this as well, I have to assume he is mostly operating offsides and has nowhere near the ambiguous and mysterious aura he possessed in the fist novel.

What I did enjoy was the Erlking. Deceptive and deceptively smooth, he was a master manipulator that I couldn't help but ruefully admire. Deftly maneuvering Dana into an morally impossible (but believable) situation, he is cut out to be the Big Bad of the novel. One of the novel's best surprises (and there were quite a few[Dana has a brother?! Seamus was Titania's Consort for 200 years?!]) was that Aunt Grace reappears as the meance in the finale, with the Erlking saving Dana. These kind of really unexpected revelations and surprises keep the novel lively and interesting from start to finish. I also thought it was amazingly appropriate that his modern-day Wild Ride would be astride motorcycles. 

Shadowspell was very much an intermediary novel, with not much resolution of big or small plotlines (status with Ethan/Dana's decision with Arawn/Cathy's house arrest), there was an excellent amount of anticipation built up for the finale, Sirensong. I was a tad underwhelmed by the ending compared to the fanastic ending of Glimmerglass, but it was fitting seque to the next novel. Overall, I liked this novel and I am looking forward to concluding volume.

Not much on the Blog Watch this week - I've been unreasonably busy. Why? Who knows. LIFE. Anyway. 
What I did stumble upon:

An open survey pitting Severus Snape from Harry Potter against Harry Dresden from Jim Butcher's Dresden Files in a wizard-off. I voted Snape (HARRY POTTER FOREVER!) but sadly he's tailing after the Chicago paranormal investigator. Right this wrong? (I first typed 'write this wrong'. Nerd.)

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, one of my all-time favorite novels, has a new edition being printed this year.  There's a short little blurb over here at the Secret Writer, if you've never taken the time to read this gem. And you really, really should.

Nice little article about learning in the indie publishing world here, by Belinda Frisch.

Great review of the one of the most talked about this year, Room, by Audra. This is coming up in my TBR pile, and this was a nice review to put me in the mindset. Now I probably won't review it because I will not want to invite the comparison. So read, go buy if you've not got it already, and then read.


  1. Do you ever find that you lose steam while reading a series? I actually avoid series a lot because I find I don't like most books as much as the first.

  2. sadly yes. I can think of a few that just lose steam or vim or something! I still have hopes for this one though.

  3. Oh, you must review Room so we can chat about it! -- I'm def curious to see what you'll think of it. I'm sort of getting really annoying about encouraging people to give it a try, now that I was all brave and stuff.

    I've got Glimmerglass on my TBR -- can't wait to read it -- I'm glad the sequel was mostly good.

    Also, I feel ya on life getting in the way of...everything else in my life. Le sigh.

  4. Ok, I might. Maaaybe. And I fully plan to read and love it, but my analysis is not up to scratch!

    And I loved loved Glimmerglass. Hope you enjoy it. I just hope she manages to end it the way it began: creatively.

  5. Love your side panels.

    Just stopping by to say hello and to take a look around.

    I am having a Father's Day giveaway on my blog if you would like to stop by.

    Hope you can visit.


  6. thanks for the link! I will check it out :)

  7. Thank you for following my blog. I really appreciate your thoughtful review of Shadowspell and look forward to reading more from you!

  8. Whoops! Sorry Jessie, I just realized that I accidently clicked on your blog through someone following me and that's who my comment was intended for. Nevertheless, my appreciation for your review and blog still stand :) Sorry for the confusion!

  9. I make the same kinda mistakes all the time. Thanks for the kind words! :) i'd gladly check out your blog if you'll leave a link!

  10. Thanks Jessie, I'm glad I didn't make *too* much of an idiot of myself :)
    My book blog can be found at:


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