Star Rating: 5/5
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Buy the book: Amazon
***SPOILER ALERT FOR BOOK 1, The Making of Gabriel Davenport*** It's pretty much impossible to do a review for the second book in a series without some spoilers for the first one. If you don't want book 1 spoiled for you before you read it, follow these instructions: Go buy a copy of The Making of Gabriel Davenport if you haven't already. Read it immediately. All better. :) I also recommend you repeat steps 1 and 2 with A Shining in the Shadows. No spoilers below for that one, though. ;) Okay, everyone ready now? Great. Let's go!
Synopsis (summarized from Amazon): Gabriel Davenport has been remade from darkness. Now, he must adapt to survive. In a small seaside town, Gabriel's maker unwittingly takes his wards into the throes of a deadly new game. There are rumblings on The Bloodvyne, the mental web of linked vampire consciousness. Whispers about a cleansing, about the ruling council hunting vampires with impure blood. Gaze long into the darkness, and you'll find old vampire foes out for revenge, new ones with their own agenda, and a witch who holds the key.
Allow me to begin by saying this book is the kind I wish I could forget so that I can experience the joy of reading it for the first time over and over again. I enjoy Beverly Lee's* writing so much! I know I'm probably starting to sound like a super fangirl, but it's just so enjoyable!
*Side note: she is one of the sweetest people on Instagram. If you're not following her on there - @theconstantvoice - you really should start.
Let's talk about feelings. So many feels. Firstly, I feel so sad for Gabriel. He never really got to know his mother and now he's never going to get to be an adult. And he's stuck in an situation without the best support at first. Survival is the number one priority, and that doesn't leave much time for grieving. Oh, honey! That's one thing this book does so well. It communicates emotion so well. It's almost tangible. One of my new favorite characters is a guy called D'Grey. All I will tell you is that he gives you a visceral reaction; his personality rolls off of him in waves as you read about him. Writing magic. That's what that is right there.
Along those same lines, we do get a really interesting mix of voices in this book. Some of it is told from the omniscient POV of the third person narrator. Some of it, though, is from the first person POV of Gabriel. That was really interesting to me because Gabriel's voice is way different from the omniscient narrator's. I loved it. It shook up the story a little bit, gave it some different dimension.
The characters, too, all had their own personalities and voices. And abilities, which I thought created a really well rounded world. They all felt very distinct. I am loving Olivia more and more as I get to know her. The pacing was fantastic, always pulling you along without going too fast that you felt like you've missed something. There's also a pig named Bacon, which, to me personally, will never not be funny.
I didn't read through this book as quickly as some others - I'm like a puppy dog with squirrels, except in this case the squirrels are books I want to read - but a really good sign was that I kept on coming back to it as one of my primary interests**.
**It's basketball playoff season at the moment, which means basketball games are on in my house every night. I usually complain more about this, but I've been devouring so many books lately, it hasn't bothered me nearly as much. Thus, A Shining in the Shadows was finished in bed one night while the hubs complained at the TV in the next room about all the dumb decisions Joe McBasketball-Pants was making as his team played the Terebithian Sportballers.
One more thing that I enjoyed about the book: the relationships. They're very sweet and everything I hope for with people in my life. I just want to hug them all! Of course, I'm not talking about the evil, I'm-going-to-really-enjoy-killing-you ones, though those are great too. I love to love these bad guys. Not that I'd agree to get a drink with them or anything. No, thank you. No telling what dark hole I'd end up in...
And now the part where I talk about stuff I didn't like...erm. Hang on. Let me check my notes. Well, this is awkward. I got nothing. I know! That sounds totally biased and not objective at all, but I legitimately have no complaints. You can tell Beverly Lee takes a lot of care to polish her books. For instance, I see a lot of technical errors in indie books - punctuation, spelling, typos, etc. - but I didn't see any of that here. I'm tempted to inquire with her as to her process because that's the kind of quality I aspire to in my own writing. Let me know what you think by hitting me up on social media - @danafraedrich . I'll be posting this review all over.
Thanks for reading!