In the months preceding the release of Shadow Souls
, I read the teasers that were available online and was excited by the tension and angst in the interplay between Damon and Elena. In my anticipation, I started creating scenarios in my head of what could possibly happen, so you could say that I had high expectations prior to reading this novel. When I finally got the book and read it, I must admit that I was a bit underwhelmed.
I think the book was better than its predecessor, Nightfall
; there weren’t as many Stephen King-like gruesome moments, but they weren’t entirely eradicated. Shadow Souls
begins with Damon, Matt and Elena on the road sparring with each other, while back in Fell’s Church, Bonnie and Meredith reluctantly make a visit to Caroline’s bedroom/den. Caroline’s description is so otherworldly that I don’t know what to make of it, and neither do Bonnie and Meredith. There’s an eventual partner switch: Matt returns home, while Bonnie and Meredith join Damon and Elena on their trek to the dark dimension to rescue Stefan.
I had a hard time dealing with the pacing of the story: Some moments were dragged out by the description, while other key moments in the storyline flew by. Also, I think LJ could have used a better editor. For instance, I had to reread Chapter 13, which starts with Damon driving, Elena riding shotgun, and Bonnie and Meredith in the back seat. Damon tells Elena that he can show her how to manipulate her aura/powers, and he does. The chapter ends with Damon telling Elena that they should get back to Bonnie and Meredith. Where/when did they leave Meredith and Bonnie, and when did Damon stop driving? This info was glossed over.
Some new characters are introduced: Lady Ulma and Lucien, two former slaves who are rescued by Elena and freed by Damon, and the Adonis, Sage, who comes onto the scene bronze haired and bare chest with a hellhound and hawk in tow. With this initial introduction of Sage, I was immediately taken in and wanted to read more about him, but then after rescuing Damon et.al., he promptly disappears, only reappearing when the others need his aid. Bonnie and Meredith are also for the most part relegated to the background, contributing nothing really significant in the form of dialogue or action to the plot. The same can basically be said regarding the Fell’s Church/Matt/Mrs. Flowers/Caroline storyline.
As for Damon, I wanted more scenes of tension and angst, as well as more moments of his dry wit, which I had enjoyed reading about in the original series. In this book, I expected to learn more about him, but he is still shrouded in mystery. All I’m really sure of is his inherent love for his brother, which I already knew from reading the previous books. So far for me, he’s still the little boy tied to the rock blocking his soul; his true potential as a character is yet to be realized.
That said this is the second book to a trilogy, and it’s expected that some of the plot points should yet be unresolved. I wish I could admit that I truly loved this book and that it met my expectations, but in the end I can only say that liked it—sort of.