When a man in a torn trench coat warns college-student Evelyn Cheng that something evil is coming down the tunnel where their subway train has stalled, she is ready to write him off as crazy until the lights flicker and the terrifying creatures appear.
Through him, Evelyn discovers she is a seer and that a battle between good and evil is raging in New York City among her kind and the mysterious, otherworldly Elyuum, who seek to tighten their grip on the city.
Spanning multiple universes with a sprawling cast of characters, Evelyn and others must stop the Elyuum before they conquer all existence. (goodreads.com)
First I’ll start with the downers because they really pretty minor. I just kept catching things like wrongly-placed commas, incorrect use of further/farther, inconsistent use of toward/s and forward/s, etc. But aside from that it’s pretty well put-together and I didn’t find I was drawn out of the story at all with these little things.
Product placement was a little thick. A lot of brand naming going on. While I think it was done to provide the reader with an easy image it felt more like ad space. Something like this usually sticks out for me in books.
Lastly, I didn’t like where the book ended. The plot that was introduced at the beginning is not resolved by the end of the book, making THE SHADOW OF ALL THINGS mostly set-up. I don’t have a problem with series, of course, but each book in a series should be able to stand somewhat on its own, with elements linking one book to the next. Not be a Part 1. This felt very much like a part one.
With that being said, I didn’t want to fling it across the room when I was done, like I’ve wanted to do with other books that do the same thing. Probably because it didn’t end in the middle of the action and despite the plot not being resolved it didn’t feel like a larger manuscript with a random moment chosen as the chopped section. It ended on people settling into situations, into their circumstances, accepting what was coming. So there was something vaguely resembling a climax but it was kind of a fake-out. I didn’t feel all wound up at the end and left to hang. Let me put it that way.
I absolutely love the world Houston created. Very Cassandra Clare but, you know, good. Throw in some Diviners by Libba Bray and you have yourself a good feel for what this book will offer you. It takes place in the present and the myriad of characters it follows can all see behind the veil, so to speak. They see these horrible creatures that are effectively plotting to take over the world. Or the realm, I should say because SHADOWS deals with multiple dimensions.
New York in Houston’s world has a sort of layering quality. Thing A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by VE Schwab and her Londons, all the different types layered on top of each other and only people with certain abilities can access the different layers and travel between them. Except in Houston’s world those people are getting eaten by interdimensional creepers that leave skin sacks of their victims in gutters.
There’s really a creepy element to it that burrows in and makes you look around with narrowed eyes. What is REALLY going on around me? Houston gives good ambiance, sets a good scene, and plays with characters well. He flipped around between multiple points of view and he handled them all extremely well. Each scene change flowed into the next seamlessly and each character stuck out as their own entity, none of them blending together at all.
If you’re looking for something part horror, part maybe sci-fi, and all dirty New York you’ll find it in THE SHADOW OF ALL THINGS. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel. Please tell me there’s a sequel . . .
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.