Monday, February 29, 2016

Mini Book Reviews: Enshadowed & Oblivion by Kelly Creagh

Title: Enshadowed (Nevermore #2)
Author: Kelly Creagh
Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Atheneum Books
Pages: 429
Add to Goodreads

Review for book 1 

True love takes a twisted turn in the second book of this modern gothic romance trilogy channeling the dark brilliance of Edgar Allan Poe.

Varen Nethers is trapped in a perilous dreamworld—a treacherous and desolate realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life. Isobel Lanley, plagued by strange visions and haunted by the nightmares of Varen's creation, is the only one who can save him.

Isobel knows that her only hope lies within a Baltimore cemetery. There, in the early morning of Edgar Allan Poe's birthday, a mysterious stranger known as the "Poe Toaster" will make his annual homage at the legendary poet's grave.

Only the Poe Toaster holds the key to the way between worlds. But great dangers lie ahead for Isobel. An ancient evil, draped in veils of white, is watching, challenging her for Varen's affections. When Isobel finally finds Varen, he is no longer the quiet and brooding boy who once captivated her, but a dark force, powerful and malevolent.

Could Isobel's greatest love also be her greatest adversary?

I read a ton of reviews for Enshadowed before deciding to continue with the series. Although I really loved Nevermore, people compared Isobel in Enshadowed to Bella in New Moon, which was a huge red flag. (Not to mention, who are those people on the cover?? That is NOT Varen and Isobel from the cover of Nevermore...) Ultimately though, I wanted to know what happened to Varen. I had to see him and Isobel reunited and I am so glad I decided to read this after all!

Enshadowed picks up a couple months after Nevermore with Isobel trying to make the best of her life without Varen. Although a good portion of the book was actually about Isobel trying to cover up her devastation over losing Varen, it didn't come off as mopey or annoying. I actually continued to find Isobel to be a strong character throughout this book. I was also worried about not having much Varen in the second book in this series, but I don't think it necessarily suffered for it. The little glimpses of Varen were honestly a little terrifying, but were just enough to keep me invested in his story. I also found myself enjoying Pinfeathers more and more as the book went on, surprisingly.

The story and world building in this second book were just as amazing as the first! The part of this book that actually broke my heart was when Isobel ran away. I felt so much for her parents, having grown enough to understand how painful those kinds of decisions can be, despite how good of an idea it might seem at the time, but I digress. I loved that the Poe Toaster was such a big element of the story, especially since he is someone you can actually research online. I love when books blend fantasy and non-fiction together! The dream world was explained in even more detail here and continued to be perfectly creepy!

Enshadowed had every opportunity to become an awful middle book suffering from what we like to call "middle book syndrome," but instead it held its own amazingly. And that ending was just incredible!! I finished Enshadowed and immediately had to pick up Oblivion to find out what happened next and (hopefully) get some more Varen in my life!

Title: Oblivion (Nevermore #3)
Author: Kelly Creagh
Publication Date: July 28, 2015
Publisher: Atheneum Books
Pages: 448
Add to Goodreads 

This electrifying conclusion to the Nevermore trilogy takes one last trip to the dream world of Edgar Allan Poe to reveal the intertwined fates of Isobel and Varen.

The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins? —Edgar Allan Poe

The fine line between life and death blurred long ago for Isobel Lanley. After a deadly confrontation with Varen in the dreamworld, she’s terrified to return to that desolate and dangerous place. But when her nightmares resume, bleeding into reality, she is left with no choice. Varen’s darkness is catching up to her. To everything. Threatening to devour it all.

Isobel fears for her world. For her sanity and Varen’s—especially after a fresh and devastating loss. To make matters worse, the ghostly demon Lilith wants Varen for her own, and she will do anything to keep him in her grasp—anything.

Can Isobel ever find her happy ending? Worlds collide and fates are sealed in this breathtaking finale to the Nevermore trilogy.

Let me start by saying I am SO GLAD they brought back the cover models from Nevermore for the final book in this series! Not that there was anything wrong with the models on the cover of Enshadowed, but these two ARE Varen and Isobel. When I first started reading Nevermore, I really wasn't sure what to expect, but I loved the first two books and Oblivion is an almost perfect conclusion to an absolutely amazing series!!

At the beginning of Oblivion, Isobel has once again found herself without Varen in the real world (or is it?). Things have begun to blur together and not only is Isobel not quite sure where the lines between real and dream even are, but her parents are thinking she's kind of insane, with good reason. Isobel continues to be a wonderful, strong heroine in this final book. It honestly surprises me that anyone has ever compared her to Bella! I love Isobel and the lengths she goes to to save Varen. Speaking of Varen, he's terrifying and so, so devastating to read about, but I loved him even when he wasn't particularly lovable.

This book is set mostly in the dream world which, while confusing at times, was completely awesome! I loved how much more was learned about the dream world and the veil. All of the mysteries surrounding this series came together and finally made sense. Battles were fought and won, characters loved and lost, and I loved almost every minute of it!

Honestly, there were some places where the book slowed down a bit, but it's really okay. Trilogies don't have to be all action all the time. I still really enjoyed this unique, creepy, wrap up to the Nevermore series. I feel like I actually learned a lot about Edgar Allan Poe's life and works and I feel compelled finally pick up my giant Poe book now! This amazing final chapter should definitely not be missed!