Thursday, November 5, 2015

Book Review: Chasing Shadows by Ashley Townsend

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Title: Chasing Shadows

Author: Ashley Townsend

Series: Rising Shadows #2

Genre: Time-travel/Fantasy

Audience: Young Adult


Would you choose to entwine your fate with a hero of the past, even if it meant altering the future?

The murder of an ancient king spurs Sarah Matthews to travel back in time, putting her life in jeopardy as she races against the clock to solve a thousand-year-old mystery and pick up the pieces of her star-crossed romance. Her return to Serimone reveals that the kingdom is in upheaval and that the elusive Cadius has sinister plans for the throne. Unable to right the empire alone, Sarah reunites with Will, the love she left behind and the man beneath the Shadow’s hood. As they work together amidst lavish balls and explore the secret depths of the castle, they discover that the conspiracy runs deeper than they ever imagined. And when a counterfeit Shadow claims the life of someone close to her after a personal threat from Cadius himself, Sarah discovers that the price of questioning the new regime is a life.

Guilt-ridden and alone, she discovers comfort in her newfound friendship with Damien, a charming Spaniard who joins Sarah in her personal crusade for justice. But as she draws closer to his dark past and to the faceless killer in their midst, she realizes that the severed threads of time and the mystery surrounding Serimone Castle are unraveling rapidly, weaving new tapestries of devastation.

In this thrilling and deceptive sequel to "Rising Shadows," Sarah is forced into harm’s way countless times as she races to solve the puzzle before it is too late and Serimone becomes nothing more than a faded memory of the past ... And before Sarah becomes a permanent fixture in history.

**5 stars**

A lovely sequel to Rising Shadows by Ashley Townsend, Chasing Shadows deepened the storyline; drew me nearer to the characters; grew a certain love story …

Sarah Matthews is trying to forget her time-travel experience. College is about to start, and she’s in a frenzy to prepare for moving out – her room a mess. But in a whole different realm, a royal has died, foul play is suspected, and a young man longs for Sarah to return. She wistfully keeps a special necklace … but would have never expected the person who arrives on her doorstep one day.
In Serimone, new adventures and escapades abound. New romantic interests, danger, suspense, sweetness, and working through tangled relationships.
What Sarah thought was in the past is definitely not over yet.

Alright, so the beginning of Chasing Shadows could feel a little long. But not exactly dragging; because by the end of this book, I just feel it’s a beautiful, epic, exciting story that you can’t wait to dive back into! Something about long books where you’re simply getting to know the characters a bit before you really get into the action … they’re great! I really enjoyed going back to Chasing Shadows pages again and again; and am so happy that it graces my bookshelf! I also felt that came about more smoothly, clearer, and satisfactory than the first book; so good job, Ashley Townsend! Excited to see where Defying Shadows brings us!

Sarah … I got way more frustrated with her in this book! That horrid love triangle! I just do not understand girls who lead on two guys for like, forever. (Think Katniss and Gale and Peeta. Grrr.) So there were a few times when I wanted to give Sarah a good talking to. Ha. Like, stop fooling around and acting so oblivious and silly, and fight for the man who you truly love! But I will say, by the end of the book, I understood a lot more why Sarah acted the way she did. It wasn’t really so much a love triangle after all … Well, you’ll see. In any case, I do see why Sarah did what she did. It’s understandable. So there was a little bit of a warning theme of guarding one’s heart, which I appreciated.

I loved getting to know Will even better, and delving into his character more! *Sigh* There were a few instances when he really needed to step up and take the lead, I think; but overall, he was sweet, heroic, strong, and just … swoon-y. *wink* Haha. But truly, he’s a really valiant young man, who has a tragic past, and is broken on the inside, but too stubborn to let himself be healed. Really rooting for this guy, and hoping for really beautiful things to come in the next book!

Of course, we have Seth and Karen, each who I liked even better in this book! A new dashing young man is introduced, Damien. The charming, wealthy, fun-loving guy who causes all kinds of complications in this story! *grins* Are you intrigued yet? You should be! There were a few other new characters too, who were all fun to meet! Not sure yet what to think of Jade, and the rather shocking revelation of her. Eek! What can this all mean??

As for romance, besides the love triangle deal, I really enjoyed it! ^_^ There were sweet moments, funny moments, heart-rending moments, exciting moments! I liked how Ashley Townsend explored their feelings in the awkward and the good moments. There was uncomfortableness. Caution. Tenderness. I enjoyed a certain young man’s chivalry and how he was gentlemanly with Sarah and concerned about her reputation and whatnot. That all being said, I would recommend at least sixteen and up as for audience for Chasing Shadows. Some compromising situations are indicated, scandal mentioned time and again, awkward moments muddled through. Yeah. The main character is eighteen, so it’s probably actually more suitable for that age and up. But then again, this series probably has a more YA feel. So, whatever. I didn’t feel that there was anything inappropriate or even overly sensual. Overall, very sweet. Though quite real at times.

There was a little more of a violent/gruesome element than the first book. We have murderers on the loose, and quite a few intense and a bit gory scenes. Nothing radical. But it’s definitely a higher level than Rising Shadows.

I sort of felt that Chasing Shadows dipped in and out of having a faith theme. There were some really deep parts, like Sarah explaining her devotion to God to a questioning servant. That was raw and real. And there were other parts, like talking to Will about God still waiting for him to return; prayer; and trusting God. But it was kind of sporadic. It didn’t really bother me too much. There were two instances of swearing, which I was slightly surprised to find. And then there were three or four times where it seemed God’s name was being used carelessly. I was confused about why Sarah would be misusing the name of the God she was so dedicated to. Maybe I read it wrong? Overall, I very much appreciated the Christian aspect of Chasing Shadows. Though it was perhaps a little more irregular than Rising Shadows; it still had some poignant and beautiful faith moments and thoughts. I think the end-ish was pretty strong and steady too, on that matter.

But all in all … time-travel, medieval world, masked balls, terrifying escapades, gallant sweethearts … EEP! It’s just so much fun. I love Serimone and these characters. So yes, filled with romance, action, adventure, and suspense. A plan to uncloak a murderer. A longing to fall in love in the past. It was a thrilling adventure! Despite the slow beginning and some misgivings, I ultimately adored this book and couldn’t help but give it five stars! ^_^ And it seems there’s more fantastic journeys to come! So excited for Defying Shadows!

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