Review: “Shadowed Ground” by Vicki Keire

Shadowed Ground (Chronicles of Nowhere, Vol #2) by Vicki Keire (Click for Goodreads)

2 1/2 stars

Chloe Burke has only two choices left: run or fight.

As she wakes from a poisoned sleep with silver scars across her neck and back, her aunt’s diary may provide the only clues about the creatures of fire that hunt her. Through it, she learns of her own awakening powers, as well as more about Annwyn, the world of her childhood, now burned to ash.

She also learns of the blood sacrifice that will be required of her when she arrives at Gray’s Landing. It’s a sacrifice not everyone survives.

Trapped and hunted, separated from her last living relative and the only home she has ever known, Chloe must rely on the deadly Eliot Gray to guide her through the strange world she suddenly finds herself inhabiting. It’s a world where the Abandoned wear human bodies like cheap suits, where the Landing finds itself threatened by its nearest neighbors, and Chloe and Eliot must watch their every move.

As the world around them becomes increasingly hostile, Chloe and Eliot turn more and more towards each other. As the bonds of trust grow, they must be careful not to tread upon time-honored boundaries: those forbidding Guardians to act on feelings for their Wards. To do so would break the bond, and would leave Chloe unprotected as the pair makes their way to Gray’s Landing, and safety.

Members of the powerful Ravenwood family fall further and further under the Abandoned’s influence until Alexander stands alone. Cass and Miranda must find a way to take legal possession of the Landing amidst corruption and danger in Savannah.

A dangerous road stretches on before them, and Chloe and Eliot must learn to work as a team against the deadly predators that threaten a whole new world. Determined not to let the only home she remembers suffer Annwyn’s fate, Chloe finds herself in a race to reach Gray’s Landing before it is too late.

This review is from an ARC received from NetGalley. Shadowed Ground is now available in ebook format.

There is one important thing everyone needs to know about The Chronicles of Nowhere. If you read the first book, you already know this, but for anyone elses knowledge: The Chronicles of Nowhere are NOT novels. They are serialized stories. This just means that every installment (so far) is only 100 pages or so.

But here’s the thing. I am legitimately confused by this installment. For me, the logical train of thought is: If this book is going to be so short, let’s pack it with action–or, at least, things that move the plot along. Shadowed Ground … didn’t. Perhaps this isn’t the right mind frame for serialized stories, but that was the mentality I went into it with. It was, I guess, the wrong one.

This book is entirely Chloe and Eliot centric. It almost feels as if Alexander and Chloe’s mom are no longer important. However, it got worse when it seemed that Alexander’s and Chloe’s mom’s storylines had the most juice in them, but we never got to see them. Out of 15 chapters, 2 were Alexander and 1 was Chloe’s mom from the viewpoint of a drunk, recently dumped and fired lawyer, if memory serves. These not only had the potential for the most plot juice, but also the most action as well but they were mostly forgotten.

Chloe and Eliot’s story had no real plot juice. First they’re talking. Then he’s trying to teach her how to fight. Then they’re talking. Then they’re driving. Then they’re talking. There’s finally a sword fight over halfway into the book, but by then I’d lost my steam. I understand that Chloe is trying to deal with a lot, but the writing didn’t deal with it well. She spends so much time whining and freaking out that she becomes unlikable. Eliot is a cool character, but I don’t follow his schizo personality switches. They came without warning and seemed really out of place.

I really didn’t want to give this two stars, but I honestly couldn’t justify giving it three. So, it’s two and a half stars is my compromise. This book WAS better than a two star rating, whenever things were really going down or no one was talking (and Chloe wasn’t whining). Honestly, I just became far too frustrated with the lack of movement within the very short story. Keire clearly has the potential to write a really fast paced ride, but this just wasn’t it.

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