Date Released: July 12th 2016
Publisher: Atom (Hachette Australia)
Source: Review copy via publisher
"Everything in Echo's life changed in a blinding flash when she learned the startling truth: she is the firebird, the creature of light that is said to bring peace.
The firebird has come into the world, but it has not come alone. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and Echo can feel a great and terrible darkness rising in the distance. Cosmic forces threaten to tear the world apart.
Echo has already lost her home, her family, and her boyfriend. Now, as the firebird, her path is filled with even greater dangers than the ones she's already overcome.
She knows the Dragon Prince will not fall without a fight.
Echo must decide: can she wield the power of her true nature--or will it prove too strong for her, and burn what's left of her world to the ground?
Welcome to the shadow hour."
The Shadow Hour is one of my most anticipated releases of 2016 because The Girl at Midnight was one of my favs of 2015. I’m not sure what to say about TSH – while I certainly enjoyed it, I didn’t think it wow’d me enough. I think this is because it took me so long to read it, partially because as I had so much going on in my life, but also because the story didn’t progress in a way that had me going “just one more chapter” whilst reading before bed.
The story opens with our gang hiding after the ending of book 1. The new threat that looms is the universe’s way of balancing Echo’s power and it’s basically this that drives the plot of book 2.
Whilst Echo is still witty in TSH she’s definitely a lot more subdued – which is expected given the circumstances. Don’t get me wrong, it’s the perfect character progression on Grey’s part but at the same time I missed her sarcasm and banter which brought so much life to TGaM. Echo is suffering internally – with what she’s become, with new responsibilities heaped upon her, and what’s to come. It’s a lonely ride for her as nobody really understands what she’s going through. I liked the way slowly accepts many things but is also willing to fight for what she hopes she can change.
I quite liked the glimpses into the Avicen and Drakharin worlds through Ivy, Rowan, Jasper, Caius, Dorian and even Tanith. They may be slight, but through slips in conversation and thoughts between these secondary characters I felt like I understood a bit more of their way of life prior to the mess. I loved the bonds of friendship that deepened between our gang, especially the understanding that developed between Ivy and Dorian.
Speaking of Dorian *bites lip* ohohoho MY SHIP. Dorian and a certain Avicen in this book had me smiling so much. Seeing these two trying to find a comfortable common ground was so endearing. At times it was a little too much push and not enough pull. But at some point, our shy Drakharin begins to slowly come out of his shell and our flamboyant Avicen responds in kind. FLAILLLL. As for my other ship? Well Echo is quite rightly indecisive in this book and my heart hurt for the guy I’m rooting for and I’m holding out hope in The Savage Dawn for them. I am so appreciative of Grey for writing a swoony romance in lieu of my other ship.
I think the plot in the first half of the book was what dragged it down for me. Not enough was happening – there were attacks, there was plotting but for some reason the pacing was off for me. I felt like there was something missing that gave TGaM that extra oomph. However, the book really picks up in the last quarter and the ending is INTENSE. Like knocked me off my feet and had me like omggggggggggggg what I NEED THE SAVAGE DAWN intense. There’s like darkness and pew pew and pow pow and boom and POOF ohmygod who died (did somebody die? You’ll have to read to find out). Whew that ending was so awesome. IT’S A CLIFFHANGER *cries* Can I please have the last book now?
My favourite aspect of this series though, is Grey’s writing. It’s descriptive and lush in an unassuming way. The way she teaches the reader words in foreign languages and puts in the definitions fits the situation so well. It’s not pretentious – it feels so natural and really adds substance to the story. The way she utilises 3rd person POV to describe character emotions too, adds dimensions to characters that, from Echo’s POV may seem unreadable. Grey’s style is definitely a highlight and what makes this series really standout.
While faltering in pace at the beginning, the strong character development, exploration of relationships and cliffhanger ending wrapped up in Grey’s elegant prose, makes The Shadow Hour an enjoyable sequel.