8.17.2013

The Darkness of Shadows, by Chris Little

I received a free copy of this ebook to review from NetGalley, on behalf of the publisher.

The Darkness of Shadows
Chris Little's The Darkness of Shadows is an inventive, if skimpy, introduction to a scary story of magic and abuse and family. Natalie Gannon has tried to put her past behind her. But as the book opens, Natalie decides to take matters into her own hands when her father resurfaces. Her plan to lure him to Florida and kill him is ruined when her father gets the jump on her and puts her in the hospital.

Natalie's story would have been heartbreaking enough even without the magical touches Little adds to her story. Not only is Natalie's father a complete psychopath, he's also a necromancer with plans to blow past the boundaries of his abilities and resurrect Natalie's mother. Natalie's only allies are her childhood friend, Valerie Guerrero, and Val's mother, Rita. Rita and Val took Natalie in when her mother was murdered and her father disappeared. Unfortunately, Natalie's attempts to end her father are hamstrung by the fact that Rita kept her magical inheritance from her.

William Gannon is a terrifying villain. Natalie and Val's battles with him a nail bitingly tense. Even though the main protagonists accept their new abilities with a minimum of skepticism, the characterization in this book is pretty sharp for all that Little uses as few words as she can get away with when drawing them. The story is original and unique in that there's no love story larded into the main narrative like so many other books in this crowded genre.

The Darkness of Shadows flew past and I finished it in about four hours. It's a good sign that I could just dive into the book, but I was able to get through it so quickly because Little uses the bare minimum of dialog, description, and plot to get you from A to B. This isn't a bad thing; most authors go too far the other direction and smother their story with too many words. It was refreshing, even though I would have liked to see Natalie's world more developed.

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