Thursday, January 7, 2016

Book Review: Chasing Shadows (Rising Shadows #2)

About the Book:

Chasing Shadows (Rising Shadows #2)Title: Chasing Shadows (Rising Shadows #2)
Author: Ashley Townsend
Pub. Date: October 2, 2014
Publisher: Ink Smith Publishing
Pages: 376 
Rating: 5/5 stars


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. 


This was the last book I read in 2015 and boy was it a good one! This was the perfect sequel to Rising Shadows, and can be summed up in one word:


Not only did Ashley Townsend create another wonderfully epic novel, but she expanded the story a great deal and I literally have no clue what will happen next. There were twists and turns around every corner, and I was left on the edge of my seat! There are new adventures, new love interests, and new dangers in places you would least expect them. Overall, this was a lovely follow-up to an already fantastic series.

Chasing Shadows starts off several weeks after Sarah left Serimone. She's getting ready to leave for college in a couple days, and trying her best (but failing) to put her time in Serimone behind her. Sarah suddenly receives an unexpected visitor, and it's off to Serimone again...something Sarah didn't think would be possible. She comes to find out that 4 months have passed since she left, and the king is now dead. Karen needs her help in infiltrating the castle to prove that the king didn't die by natural means. While the beginning of this novel is a little slow, the story never drags. I really enjoyed being able to get to know the characters a bit more before really getting into the story. We get a little more background, and we get to experience castle-life before things get action-heavy. While the story was definitely clear in the first novel, Ashley definitely improved in not only her writing but also her storytelling. It resulted in a even more enjoyable experience while reading!


Sarah did leave me feeling a bit frustrated at times in this novel, but by the end, I understood her actions throughout the story much more. I will admit that I wasn't the hugest fan of the love triangle because I didn't like how Sarah basically strung the 2 guys along. However, as I said, I did understand her actions more at the end of the novel. That being said, Sarah did grow immensely in this novel. She learned some important lessons and her character was forced to endure some very challenging situations that no one should have to go through. But Sarah comes out stronger and tougher than before. She learns things about herself and that is where the beauty of her characterization lies.

Karen and Seth are the absolute cutest in this novel! Even though they aren't in this novel as much, it was still lovely to see how they are still there for Sarah when she needs them the most. We are also introduced to the charming Spaniard, Damien. As much as I didn't want to like him, I'll admit I ended up loving his dashing and charming ways. He adds some complications to Sarah's life, but he is so fun-loving and very sweet. Damien is definitely an intriguing character, and you'll have to read to find out more about him.

We also learn more about Will in this novel, which is a major win! Ashley really delved in deep with his character, and the reader gets to explore just what makes Will tick. The reader sees how vulnerable he truly is, and that by blocking others out, he's only preventing himself from fully healing from his tragic past. Ultimately, I felt that I had a much better understand of his character after I was finished reading the story. While there were times (just like Sarah) that I wanted to knock some sense into him, he is still the sweetie that we have come to love. Will maintains his protective, heroic, and strong personality, and you'll fall in love with him even more after this book.


The plot was fantastic, and while it was a bit more violent than the first book, it hits on some tough topics that force the characters to adapt and deal with challenges they never thought they would face. There were some pretty intense scenes that were written perfectly! The romance never overshadows the plot, and I loved the way Ashley went about writing it. She included all of the awkwardness and uncomfortable-ness of first love, but she also captured the tender, sweet moments that cause butterflies in your stomach. While innocent, the romance was still passionate and beautiful.

I highly recommend checking this novel out if you are a fan of fantasy and romance. There's medieval times, gallant knights-in-shining-armor, masked balls, and deception at every turn. Ashley Townsend crafts a wonderfully unique tale that you won't be able to put down! I can't wait to see what happens in Defying Shadows.

Thank you to the author for providing this
book in exchange for my honest review

Happy reading :)


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