(Click the book cover to see on Goodreads)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mythology
Title: The Prophecy of Shadows
Author: Michelle Madow
Length: 308 pages
Publication: January 26th 2016 by Dreamscape Publishing
Note: Barclay Publicity sent me this e-book via Netgalley for free in exchange for my honest review.
When Nicole Cassidy moves from sunny Georgia to gloomy New England, the last thing she expects is to learn that her homeroom is a cover for a secret coven of witches. Even more surprisingly … she’s apparently a witch herself. Despite doubts about her newfound abilities, Nicole is welcomed into this ancient circle of witches and is bedazzled by their powers—and, to her dismay, by Blake—the school’s notorious bad-boy.
Girls who get close to Blake wind up hurt. His girlfriend Danielle will do anything to keep them away, even if she must resort to using dark magic. But the chemistry between Blake and Nicole is undeniable, and despite wanting to protect Nicole from Danielle’s wrath, he finds it impossible to keep his distance.
When the Olympian Comet shoots through the sky for the first time in three thousand years, Nicole, Blake, Danielle, and two others in their homeroom are gifted with mysterious powers. But the comet has another effect—it opens the portal to the prison world that has contained the Titans for centuries. After an ancient monster escapes and attacks Nicole and Blake, it’s up to them and the others to follow the clues from a cryptic prophecy so that they can save their town … and possibly the world.
This book is written in first person past with limited point of view. The narrator is Nicole Cassidy, a southern-raised high school student who’s just moved to New England. That being said, she has a young, naive ever-changing view of the world. Though, the abruptness of her decision changes was a bit startling and unbelievable even for a teenager.
Pacing: The pacing felt off during most of the book. The scenes flowed together easily in the beginning, making the timeline very clear. However, the this ease fell apart in later chapters. Thus, the later chapters felt choppy and disjointed. While there are constant reminders about just where in the timeline the book is, the feel of the pacing didn’t quite match the timeline being confirmed by the characters.
World: The world was also quite choppy. Multiple parts of the town are described for the plot, but there wasn’t continuity between the scenes. The lack of smooth transition between scenes, made the world feel two-dimensional. There was no sense of a world going on around the main characters. Rather, it was just them and the parts they’re currently interacting with, but those parts vanished as soon as they found a different part of town to inhabit.
Writing: The writing style was sparse. It got right to the point of the scene, but didn’t build on what was going on around the characters. Unfortunately, this made the writing feel like it was meant for middle grade fiction instead of young adult fiction. One of the places this was most prevalent was during fight scenes. The scenes lacked a sense of urgency. There wasn’t the heart-pounding, exciting anticipation that generally comes along with these scenes.
Non-Spoilered Plot: Having moved from the southern United States to the frigid north, Nicole wants nothing more than to find where she belongs. Yet, she doesn’t expect that to involve discovering she’s a witch. Nor should it include a comet enhancing her and her classmate’s powers, which brings about all manifestations of Greek mythology ready to attack them. With no clue what’s going on, the five search for answers from a prophecy.
Character: The main character, Nicole, is a high school student who’s thrown into a world she knows little about. Both in the sense that she’s brought from the south to the north, and that she suddenly finds out she’s a witch. Naturally, she’s hesitant to accept what people tell her. However, it takes her less than a day to accept she’s a witch even though her proof of that is mediocre, at best. Unfortunately, this sudden change in her point of views made her difficult to care about. It also didn’t help that she seemed to lack any real personality, but rather seemed to just be floating along in the story.
The other witches that Nicole spends a great deal of her time don’t lack personality, but they lack depth. Each one is given a stereotype. They stick to this stereotype throughout the entire book and don’t show signs of having actual changing personalities underneath.
Plot: The main plot of this novel is the quest. In particular, it’s Nicole Cassidy’s quest to find the truth about what she is: human, witch, demi-god? Unfortunately, along the way, she must also find out who she is because while she has no idea where she fits into this new northern USA lifestyle, she also has no understanding of what her magic abilities allow her to do, or whom they may allow her to become.
Signs of her lack of identity are easily pointed out in the first few hours of the book’s time line. At first she reacts to the possibility of magic and herself being a witch as any normal sane person would: denial. However, within a matter of hours of this discovery (and no profound evidence that it’s true) she quickly accepts that she’s a witch.
Within a matter of days, not only does she accept it, but she’s overwhelmed with the idea. Though barely understanding her abilities and having not even done much with them, Nicole comments about wanting to get away from all the ‘witch stuff’ just three days after learning about it. She wants to go back to a normal life. Yet, just a few days later, she’s quite keen on the idea of unraveling a prophecy supposedly regarding her and her new-founded witch friends.
With clues planted all over their small town, the five must use their new abilities, gifted to them by the passing comet, to figure out what’s going on. Yet, none of them struggle with their new abilities. Even with talk of being tired and feeling out of energy, none of them show any real signs of fatigue. Though, it’s often emphasized the consequences of over-exerting one’s energy, these consequences are never put to the test. None of them even seem to come close to running out of energy. Even Nicole, when she heals three different people, including herself, only falls asleep in a boy’s arms.
This boy, Blake, and Nicole also seem to share a ‘special’ bond that draws them to each other even as Blake is still dating Danielle, another girl in their group. Their attraction to each other is never explained. Yet, it’s constantly emphasized over the week and a half in which book takes place to the point of being annoying and overbearing. At least, Nicole has the good sense not to get involved with him while he’s still in a relationship with Danielle, no matter how much he presses her to.
Unfortunately, that does little to ease the fact that she’s undeniably attracted to him even though she hardly knows him, or any of the other four in her group for that matter. She doesn’t know the first things about them, nor is she given the time since the story takes place over just a week and a half. Yet, the character interactions and magical ability development would likely take longer than just a week and a half. With that being said, I leave my rating for this book, ‘The Prophecy of Shadows’, at one star.