Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Oh, Lady Dear, Hast Thou No Fear?

With Varen trapped in the terrifying dreamworld surrounded by Edgar Allan Poe's most horrific stories, Isobel is determined to rescue him. Each night since his disappearance, Isobel has been visited by haunting and ghastly images of Varen's world. The more she sees, the more she is unsure of how to bring him back.
The "Poe Toaster", the one who visits Poe's grave on the early hours of his birthday, seems to hold the key Isobel is looking for. Unfortunately, her and her best friend, Gwen, find out that these dark dreams are dangerous and possibly fatal. But Isobel is relentless and pushes forward with any hopes of discovering where Varen is. Revisiting places present in her dreams, she slowly begins piecing the puzzle together.
Once in Baltimore, Isobel is prepared to take on any and all dangers in her way. But can she succeed in releasing Varen from this prison, or does he want to be saved at all? 

Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh was a book that took me a while to get through. It was not a bad book by any means, but because of the length and the subject manner, it does take more care.
Creagh's first novel, Nevermore, reflects the relationship between loner Varen and popular cheerleader Isobel. They were forced to work together on a project for English class, then suddenly they are sucked into an amusement park of Edgar Allan Poe's worst nightmares. After Varen does not return from the dreamworld, Isobel makes it her mission to get him out. This journey focuses on her determination and her transformation.
I adore Poe's writing, and these novels take all the most horrible aspects and combine it together to create a world of pain, despair, and fear. The second book expresses Isobel's desperation, and the reader can slowly see her slipping into Poe's "madness". These nightmares, illusions, and daydreams often deceive and take her to dark corners that hide reality and intertwine it with fiction.
This entire series has been great. The ride has been so full of passion and drive, yet the overwhelming theme of madness is present within.  The ending was unexpected, yet the entire concept of this story was unexpected. The lines between what Isobel sees as real and a dream are blurred, even for the reader.
The one tip I do have is that you need to take your time with this series. Because the dream world and the concept of Poe's stories are deeply embedded into the plot, it does take time to understand, comprehend, and move forward. And you truly want to savor it because the descriptions take center stage; not the dialogue between characters. The entire time reading I just kept thinking, "This would be a really cool movie" because I can see the scenes and I know this would be a great spooky concept for Hollywood to cash in on.
Also, Creagh made these stories long. You are not just getting a quick plot with a cliff hanger. Everything is carefully done, and it is so worth it. These novels definitely fall into the Gothic Romantic genre, and I am sure that Poe himself would applaud this writer's efforts. Well done, and I cannot wait to see how this one ends.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

My Only Love Sprung From My Only Hate

Romeo Montague; a name that has been remembered for his ruthless and evil ways. He has been cursed by the Mercenaries to spend eternity in his rotted corpse, until he was given a second chance by the Ambassadors. These two sides are at war, and neither side will stop until they achieve their final goal. Juliet's nurse, on the Ambassador side, gives Romeo the chance to redeem himself after his horrible acts of murder and deceit. She transports him back into the body of Dyan Stroud, the young boy who was deceiving Ariel Dragland. Romeo's task is to show Ariel that true love exists, and he takes this challenge.
Within days, Romeo has pulled out all the stops in order to win Ariel's heart. But this time, there is something different. Romeo's heart begins to succumb to Ariel's touch, her voice, her desperate love for him; He has fallen in love with her. However, just as Romeo's soul begins to change for the better, Ariel is falling deep into a pit of anger and vulnerability. The Mercenaries have been watching; and they have been manipulating Ariel's inner thoughts. Now, both Romeo and Ariel are in a fight for their lives and in the middle of a war. But the more the fight persists, the less anyone can tell which side is really telling the truth. 

Romeo Redeemed by Stacey Jay was the sequel to Juliet Immortal. Romeo and Juliet did not die in Verona, Italy as Shakespeare explained. They both were brought into a good vs. evil war, meanwhile fighting each other the entire time. This story tells of Romeo's second chance after his lying and cheating ways. Juliet's Nurse gives him the second chance he has been hoping for, and so his journey begins.
The reader cannot help but feel sorry for Romeo. He continues to express how he's only showing Ariel the way of love, but you can feel the love in his words. He begins to let himself be taken by Ariel's love, but it appears maybe this second chance was misguided. Perhaps Romeo was just a pawn and always destined to fail.
As I said with Jay's last novel, I really connected with her writing. It has a beautiful flow to it, and each scene could take you immediately there. The characters are so well developed you can feel their anger, especially when it comes to Ariel. She is such a broken character that it is no wonder the evil side has targeted her. Meanwhile, the reader can see a change in Romeo's arrogant "bad boy" exterior. Towards the end, I did really want him to succeed in his journey because he has truly changed. But the great surprise was the story behind the Ambassadors and the Mercenaries. The more the story continued the more you can tell something was not right and there was a different reason behind the war and the recruitment of these two star crossed lovers. 
I truly enjoyed this series. The two characters are reunited, the plot does come to a close, and in the end it seems everyone does finally get what the deserve. I do love how Jay incorporated the aspects of the play into her novels. It's a fresh new idea, and it is something that fits into the modern world. Definitely worth a read.