17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Pretty Brown Girl
- Published on Amazon.com
First let me state that I have been a fan of the Vampire Huntress Legend (VHL) series from the beginning and I have posted reviews on randomly selected books in the set. I truly admire the author's ingenuity and seemingly limitless creativity as she takes the reader on an action-packed, mystical ride to Armageddon one book at a time. She filled a much needed void in the speculative fiction genre when she gave us Damali and friends.
That being said, I found The Shadows, the eleventh installment, to be a weaker link; hence the three-star rating (I would give it a 3.5 star rating if I could). There is no doubt that dedicated fans of the series will enjoy this book as it provides a necessary "breather" between battles (aka the systemic breaking of the doomsday Biblical seals). The team's pace is slowed but their attempt at rest and relaxation is foiled by the Darkness (again). Fallon Nuit is back and he is flooding the global airwaves with subliminal negativity. Through mass media, he is brainwashing the masses robbing them of their joy, hope, love, and light and replacing it with self-destructive thoughts; inspiring murderous and heinous intentions against mankind. In an attempt to draw the Guardian teams out of hiding to finish them while they are battle fatigued, the Darkness is scorching the earth with uncontrollable forest fires, flooding cities, destroying lives and farmlands with volcanic eruptions, tornados, tsunamis, etc.
In the meantime, it seems like Carlos and/or Damali will never learn from their previous mistakes - and it is Carlos (again) that blows their cover. Carlos's well-intentioned blunder compromises their location and they are soon on the run (again) seeking safety in Detroit with civilians (children and elderly) in tow. Meanwhile, Lilith nurses the damaged Anti-Christ chrysalis back to health. Elizabeth Bathory resurrects her first husband, Dracula, to exact revenge on Sebastian for causing her horrifying disfigurement. Dracula, instantly celebrated and elevated to a day-walking Councilman, leads the affront against the Neteru team. The direct and indirect results are devastating for both sides, particularly for Carlos; but it does nothing to stop the prophesies as the infamous and dreaded Pale Horse emerges from the depths of Hell. The End of Days is quickly approaching and the team is scrambling to regroup (again).
At its core, I found this book to be yet another episode where the Neteru team appeared to be clueless and in a reactive stance for most of the novel. It is a familiar scene that we have seen repeatedly before -- they are either under-equipped, outnumbered, and/or experience an epiphany at the VERY last minute - just in the nick of time to save themselves. At best, Carlos and Damali's leadership abilities are still questionable (my opinion only): Their overactive libidos have resulted in an "unplanned" pregnancy at what appears to be the worst time ever (however, I'm sure the Light will prove otherwise). They appear to have no proactive plan and continuously rely largely on instinct (and luck) to save their team -- they just seem to be fumbling and stumbling; making it up as they go along. The rebuilding of the Neteru team literally introduces so many new characters that I am finding it difficult to keep them (and their abilities) straight. Honestly, in this episode, I found Damali and Carlos's drama and angst well, quite frankly - boring. Sorry - but the pregnancy subplot is not working for me and there were just too many pages of team member introspection and their personal reflections. These elongated passages of "fluffy" dialogue really did not seem to advance the story. It was the "bad guys" that kept me turning the pages. Lilith, Elizabeth, Dracula and the others were much MUCH entertaining and easier to follow in all aspects -- they are a smaller, devious group which makes it easier track their interrelationships and group dynamics. Their endless bickering, twisted (but clever) antics, and ruthless plotting (against the Light and each other) along with their uncanny resourcefulness kept me engaged.
Readers: Fear not -- there is enough of the fan-pleasing elements of steamy sex, urban grittiness, and diabolical plotting to keep die-hard fans happy. Despite the shortcomings I noted, I enjoyed the book; but compared to others in the series, it was more of a challenge for me to complete. As mentioned earlier, I was and I am still a fan of the VHL series - I am looking forward to the next release to see where we will go next because I am committed to the series until the end.
Reviewed by Phyllis
June 19, 2008