Review: Shadowcry by Jenna Burtenshaw

Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Why I chose this book:

   At first glance, this seems like a whirlwind of an adventure with secret books, and an interesting society and culture. Well it was at that, but was it worth the time I took to read it?

Publisher: Greenwillow
Publish Date: June 21, 2011
Format: Hardback 
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal 
Buy: B&N || Amazon || Indiebound


   “The Night of Souls—when the veil between the living and the dead is thinnest—is only days away.

   Albion is at war … and losing.
   The wardens have descended, kidnapping innocent citizens for their army, but looking for one in particular.
   And fifteen-year-old Kate Winters has just raised a blackbird from the dead.
   As her home is torn apart by the wardens, Kate’s discovery that she is one of the Skilled—the rare people who can cross the veil between life and death—makes her the most hunted person in all of Albion. Only she can unlock the secrets of Wintercraft, the ancient book of dangerous knowledge. Captured and taken to the graveyard city of Fume—with its secret tunnels and underground villages, and where her own parents met their deaths ten years ago—Kate must harness her extraordinary powers to save herself, her country, and the two men she cares for most. And she’ll make a pact with a murderer to do it.
   Those who wish to see the dark, be ready to pay your price.”
  To preface, this is a very interesting novel. I don’t read many “darker” novels or stories that deal with spirits, the raising of the dead, or anything like that, but for some reason, this story caught my interest.

The 3 things you need to know about this book:

I wasn't sold on the characters
   I liked one character: Silas. He was one of the antagonists for the main portion of the book. He was the most well-rounded character in the novel; whereas, Kate and her friend Edgar were slightly limp in their actions and reasonings. They both had solid backgrounds that the author could have done so much more with but apparently chose to do nothing.

Is this medieval? Dystopian? Industrial setting? Terrible version of steampunk?
   The world of Albion was an interesting twist to the setting. I assumed that it was speaking of England, since Albion is an older word for it. However, it was not a fantasy book. Rather, it took place in a time where everyone rode horses and the only technology was seen through a train, so I was assuming it was during the industrial period. But then, Burtenshaw made it an odd dystopian fantasy novel by calling England, Albion and the rest of Europe, The Continent. It was very odd, and every time I saw the names, I secretly whispered, “Make up your mind already!”

Major potential but an overall let down
   This plot had MAJOR potential! I actually thought it was very interesting having a book called Wintercraft (which I thought was a creative and fun name) that held secrets pertaining to the Veil. Because of Wintercraft and the history that inspired it, Burtenshaw needed to tell a more factual story within her characters’ lives; however, she didn’t do that as well as she could have. I felt that there were moments that the plot lagged because she was filling in needless details about the past and history of everything. I think it would have been much more helpful just to write a two part prologue: one that held a more plot-organized history, and the other that she had as her original prologue.

   The summary created a mystery for me, and I wanted it solved as soon as I had read it. It was an interesting story, I will give it that, but I feel as though it could have been developed more. Which could have made it an all-around better novel if the author had taken more time on it.
   It was an interesting book. Sadly, not one that I would read over again or go out of my way to recommend, but it had a gumption that was admirable. However, that was the only redeeming quality.

I gave this book 2 stars on my Goodreads.

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