Title: Radiant Shadows
Author: Melissa Marr
Review: Though Melissa Marr was never able to match Wicked Lovely as far as overall quality goes, I think Radiant Shadows marks a definite downward turn for this series. Though this is one of the strongest concepts I’ve seen from Marr, haphazard plot construction and a case of borderline instalove left me noticing many areas that could be improved.
Basically, nothing happens in Radiant Shadows until the halfway mark. It isn’t until 50% into the book that the two “main” protagonists have an actual conversation or spend more than five minutes in each other’s company. Before that, the first half of the book is just characters meeting up, talking about nothing in particular, and waiting around until something happens. While I’m all for slow buildup and creating a firm foundation for the action, but Marr spent too long with preliminaries, and if it hadn’t been for the unresolved Niall/Irial issue, I probably would have DNFed this.
In comparison to the first part, the second half of this book was nonstop action–maybe too much so. Because Marr waited until the end to introduce the actual conflict, everything was a little bit rushed and undercooked. The romance between Devlin and Ani jumped from “Hi, nice to meet you” to “Let’s spend eternity together” in the space of maybe 72 hours. There wasn’t much of an adjustment period for me as a reader, and it was a bit hard to take all of the twists and sidebars the author threw out in such a short number of pages.
However, based on the way things finished up, I think Marr put herself in a nice spot to finish off the series in the next book. But that doesn’t really alter the fact that Radiant Shadows itself is a bit rough and sloppy overall.
Another frequent complaint I have for this book (and for the series in general after book 1), is that I have no real idea of who these characters are. Even Seth, the only person to have a speaking role in all 4 books, is a mystery to me because he’s been presented in so many different lights and as so many different people. Marr’s characterization is definitely not consistent, and that makes it hard for me to follow along with the plot, simply because I can’t connect.
That being said, I did finish Radiant Shadows even though I didn’t really want to, and that was mainly because of the two kings of the Dark Court. I may not have a concrete idea of who Niall and Irial actually are, but the chemistry between them was palpable in every scene. I may actually ship them, weird enigmas that they are. But Melissa Marr was being a tease and I got a bit annoyed. Like, both are ancient and intelligent men–can’t they just kiss and make up already? Geez.
Anyway. Unresolved sexual tension aside, I thought Radiant Shadows was decent. This book definitely had the potential to surpass Wicked Lovely, but it was half-baked and in need of a bit more time in the revision oven. It’s unfortunate, really.
Buy it here:
Kindle Edition: amazon.co.uk
Also see: Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr