Going into this review, I’m going to attempt not to sound like I’m ranting, but apologize in advance if it doesn’t work out. This was one of my personally hyped books of 2019, and a birthday read to top it. Unfortunately though, this book turned disappointing in the prologue. I’m not one to typically write a lot of bad reviews, instead I think of myself as a pretty easy person to please. Since I’ll be going into the downsides of this read, there are big spoilers ahead, so if you want to read the novel, please don’t continue. For those of you still reading, this is personal opinion (a review). Here we go.
This is going to be one of the hardest reviews this year for me. I read the first book, Onyx & Ivory, last year, nearly a month after it released and loved it. I even read two other books that had similar vibes, and decided not to continue those series, Onyx & Ivory was sooo good. That’s where this review gets difficult; this one seemed to fall flat where the other did so well. If you want to see my review of Onyx & Ivory click here.
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars
Shadow & Flame is the sequel, starting not where Onyx & Ivory left off, but an entire year after. Yes, a whole year, which is where my frustration started, and continued. To try to make up for this, the author tried to put it in a prologue, but for me that just seemed to amplify the fact that we skipped and then time skipped again to get to where the first chapter is. I’m one of those firm believers that time skips should be reserved mainly for long periods of travel, or if we go from different ages (like a flashback but forward). Not between books, or when there is a supposed war in that time skip. I nearly thought I had missed a book, because I honestly believe the author could have written a third book here. I’m trying not to rant, but the disappointment began at the point where I realized that I hadn’t missed a book, but still had to wade my way through the confusion. It felt like the plot hadn’t been fleshed out past the first book enough, and left me a little bitter.
Once I got over the whole time skip part, the writing got better, but not the disappointment. This is where I began to take deep breaths. Two big characters are “killed off” in the prologue, which at this point I also was going ‘why is there even a prologue in a 2nd book??’ So, once we have two dead characters, everyone tries to move on, though Kate tattoos them on her arms in remembrance. From there we are also given multiple character povs, which makes it difficult to get into a book for me personally. This one was at least done when you’ve connected with the other character, but the pacing of the chapters got a little short, and gave the feeling of one side being a lot more interesting than the other, so the balance wasn’t really there.
When it comes down to it, those were the two major issues that made it hard to connect to the book or follow it in regards to the beginning. I still enjoyed the novel after that, but these problems hovered like a dark cloud, making it hard to truly say I loved or liked this novel. Onyx & Ivory seemed to have been so well done, that it made this sequel a bad follow up to go through. The author’s writing is really well done, but that intro just about killed me, hence Shadow & Flame just not being what I had waited a year for.