This is a direct sequel to Beyond the Shadows, Hub’s first book. Selena and Brayden return to the valley they struggled out of to find more cross-over shadow people.
When I said this was a direct sequel, I meant it: The first book ends on a cliff-hanger, and this one starts at the same point. We’re thrown straight into the plot, which would be a problem if you didn’t know this was part two, or had gone away and come back to the series.
The relationship between Brayden and Selena is fleshed out a lot more in this instalment, and they’re developing a chemistry now, a sense of a proper relationship growing. We also get to see more of the hunters and see what they can do – and what Brayden can do in response. At one point, Selena comments that Brayden would kill anyone who challenges him and warns the villagers not to try, and he really is that effective a hunter.
What worked best for me in the sequel was seeing more of Selena’s and Brayden’s relationship, and Selena’s drive to rescue more cross-over shadow people. It’s heart breaking close to the end when one of them slips back into the real world and Selena can do nothing to stop it.
Selena analyses combat situations very quickly and adapts them to turn the odds into her favour. It makes her a kick-ass fighter, despite her own limitations.
Where the book falls down is in the ‘stage directions’ for the characters, and a coherent sense of time and place for them. One sentence, Selena comments that they should look for somewhere to sleep – from which I assumed it was dusk. A few sentences later, we’re told it’s only the afternoon. A paragraph later, Brayden is making a fire.
Also, characters which I’d thought had gone off somewhere are back again. Brayden and Selena fall behind the main group for a few minutes; they find a cave, and suddenly the group is back with them.
One character is introduced as ‘near-adult’, and her tone and attitude is that of a child. It was therefore startling to discover she was supposed to be twenty.
Because of the limitation of the jungle setting, Hub realises the only way the group can survive is by climbing trees, and so there’s a lot of it going on. It gets a little repetitive, as do the repeated fights with the whip-cats.