*** Have you read Obsidian? If the answer is NO, then you might not want to continue. You have been thusly warned. ***
If you’ve already read Obsidian, this is one of those books you go into knowing the ill-fated outcome; knowing that when all is said and done that you’re going to be a little heartbroken. And yet, Armentrout weaves Dawson & Bethany’s story in a way that almost makes you forget you know the ending, that made me fall in love with both of them, and that made me hope beyond hope that, somehow, they’ll get their happily ever after.
Dawson & Bethany are as different from Daemon & Katy as you could possibly get. Dawson, while he shares his brother’s looks, confidence, and stubbornness, is at heart an optimist. Daemon is pessimistic, suspicious, abrasive and paranoid. He is this way because Daemon has taken on the burden of protector for both his family and his fellow Luxens. While Dawson clearly recognizes the dangers and risks of being what they are, he does not feel the weight of this responsibility as keenly as Daemon does. Dawson instead is friendly, compassionate, and wears his heart on his sleeve. He knows the risk a potential relationship with Bethany poses, and the rules it breaks. But he also “doesn’t think that love recognizes differences” and that love, true love, is worth pursuing.
Bethany, on the other hand, is quiet, a little shy and an introvert. She’s not one for confrontation (Good luck with the Black family, Bethany dear.), yet if push comes to shove she can stand up for herself. She’s open-minded, loving, and possesses a calm and an insight beyond her sixteen years. In short, she’s a total sweetheart.
Together, Dawson & Bethany are just so sweet. Their relationship isn’t built on snark, gaining the upper hand, or crackling sexual tension, but rather it’s something entirely different. It’s more honest, more innocent, perhaps a bit more healthy , but also perhaps a bit naïve.
Not just a love story, Shadows also provides some very interesting clues into the Luxens history on Earth, the Colony, and U.S. government-Luxen relations. It helps form a larger picture of what the Luxens face and gives the reader a sense of how decisions and events could potentially have consequences that are more far-reaching, more than is apparent in Obsidian. Since Obsidian is written from Katy’s perspective, I enjoyed the third person point of view of Shadows which gives more detailed insight into the Black and Thompson families, helping to create a more well-rounded view of those particular characters.
Though I love this novella, I’ll be honest, I was a little annoyed when I finished, feeling like the opportunity for something (that I’m not going to mention) was overlooked. I’ve been reading this book throughout the day with my good friend Heather, who also guest reviews for me on occasion, texting and emailing and Facebooking about Shadows and our thoughts over the course of the morning and afternoon. Anyway, once we both had finished, she brought up some very interesting points that I had clearly missed. (She’s super intelligent and awesome – a gentlewoman and a scholar.) I went back and reread and, lo and behold, it turns out that Armentrout did exactly what I wished she had. I was just completely oblivious. So I thought I should just be upfront that I was originally disgruntled due to my own inability to connect the dots, and now I’m not because of the insights of my wonderful friend Heather. And I must say the dots that were connected mean interesting things ahead.
Overall, Shadows is a fantastic and long-awaited return to Petersburg, WV where Armentrout has created a monopoly on amazingly hot aliens and epic romance. Seriously, August 14th cannot come soon enough.”