Source: Author – I received this in exchange for an honest review. I received no compensation.
Publisher: Clockpunkk Press
Series: The Harvesting #2
Narrator: Kristin James
Edition: Audiobook, 8 Hours 34 Minutes
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy/Horror
Purchase: Amazon / Audible / Barnes & Noble
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
When Layla took the final step through the labyrinth, she thought she was saving the ones she loved.
She couldn’t have been more wrong.
The unwitting victims of a grudge seething for eons, Layla and the other survivors now find themselves in a war for our world. With vampires lurking and shapechangers plotting vengeance, if mankind has any hope of survival, Layla must decide whom to trust: the carnie girl? The quiet doctor? The tarot reader? The stranger with alluring gold eyes? Or the man she loves? And then there are the voices. What does it forewarn if the dead can speak?
When the world burns, mankind’s shadow side rises. Do we deserve to survive?
The Shadow Aspect picks up right where The Harvesting leaves off, with Layla leading her people out of the labyrinth into a new and hopefully safer area. Karsak puts us right back into the fray and doesn’t pull any punches…in fact she damn near ripped my heart out towards the end of this one and that takes some effort.
In this book we have two POV’s to follow: Layla, our main character from the first book, and Cricket, the new character introduced in the novella Midway. While reading Midway is not necessary, I would definitely recommend it because there are some things that you won’t really ‘get’ unless you have…plus it’s a damn good novella. These two women are both badasses but completely unique and approach things in their own way. After the horrific events of The Harvesting Layla is slow to trust again and much more aware of the other world that is threatening their very existence . We get a lot more of her learning about her ability to see the ‘other’ side and I really like the direction it went, it certain sets it apart from the other zombie books out there even more. We see her grow and become a better leader, able to stand up for herself and others..even when it doesn’t necessarily make sense to other people. While Layla has become the backbone of the group, Cricket has become it’s heart of sorts. She works hard to make sure everyone is alright, even putting herself in the line of danger to do so, and she genuinely cares for the people around her. These two make for a great duo!
The world building still continues as we get more info on the other inhabitants of the world and what exactly caused the downfall of humanity. I love what Karsak has done with the mythology to make it stand out despite the same overall idea being used in many other books. I don’t want to go into detail about the new players in this game, but they are pretty cool and I’m really looking forward to seeing how their newly discovered involvement comes to a head in the next two books in the series.
Kirsten James is excellent yet again as the narrator, as she effortlessly switches between all the voices she’s created for the entire cast. I’m thoroughly impressed with her and though I’m sad that this series is coming to I do look forward to listening to her other work. I’ve actually bought an audio I didn’t really intend on buying because she was the narrator…and for me that is enough.
If you enjoy urban fantasy as told by an author who knows how to make you feel but pull no punches then this is definitely a series to get in to. It’s well written and fun, and if you listen to the audio you get the added bonus of KJ reading to you.