March 28, 2011

Review: Shadow of the Sun by Laura Kreitzer

Shadow of the Sun
Author: Laura Kreitzer
Publisher: Obsidian Mountain Publishing
Series: Timeless, Book 1
ISBN: 1450211758
Purchase Information:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

*Novel provided by the author to Book Lovin' Bitches eBook Tours.

For more information please visit Laura Kreitzer's website

Gabriella's past is a mystery, but that never stopped her from achieving her goals. As a supernatural specialist, and far more intelligent than anyone her age, she has always been ignored by her peers. Because of the isolation she has always felt, she put her life and soul into her job. Being a supernatural specialist hasn't given her the divine intervention she always longed for, until one day a shipment arrives from Italy containing three dead bodies with an uncanny ability to regenerate. Gabriella is frightened and intrigued, but not as scared as she becomes when a dark creature attacks her.

As the bodies come back to life, the plot takes an unexpected twist that you won't see coming. The supernatural world only begins to unfold before her as angels appear, her dreams start to haunt her, and the very past she has forgotten comes back with startling clarity. Romance blooms, escape plans are made, an assassin is out to kill her, and death is only around the corner. But what is more terrifying than all of it is the fact she is the chosen one, the Illuminator, the one who will save them all.

Shadow of the Sun, the first novel in the Timeless series by Laura Kreitzer, was something of a surprise for me. There have been a lot of wonderful reviews and I was eager to give this novel a try, but like most I was apprehensive about a full length novel written by an Indie author. Luckily, it was all worry for nothing! Krietzer's writing ability quickly becomes evident showing her to be just as well versed in characterization, world development and most importantly, story development as any seasoned published author and in some cases better! With wonderful characters, a unique spin on Angelic lore and a great pace, this novel is one that I can honestly say, the hype is extremely justified!

Of course, that's not to say when I started reading this novel that I instantly slid right in to the story. In fact, it took me a chapter to really come to relax into the wonderful characterization and world building within the novel. But, once I was acclimated, I really came to love the world that Kreitzer created. The original spin on Angelic lore was fascinating and I enjoyed the in-depth historical development which really brought the world to life. Yet, even though the world of the Angels is nicely rounded, as the story progresses even more tidbits and insights are given which lead to a wonderful twist in the premise as things become clear that nothing is as it appears. The amount of details within the novel was also something that I truly enjoyed. I've always been a sucker for nicely depicted settings which make the story seem to pop from the pages. But with that said I think I should bring up the old tried and true sentiment of 'moderation' as sometimes the sacrifice of details helps to keep the pace moving. In this way, the descriptive quality of the novel can be a bit too much, hampering the progress and emotional appeal of the writing.

However, there is often a fine line between just enough and too much detail. For instance, I loved the amount of detail in regards to the characters' development. The insights and wonderful emotional appeal were great to see develop and I hesitate to say that anything about the thoughts or actions slowed down the pace simply because of the insight all of the descriptions offer into their psyches and emotional ties. This really helps to build a resilient, strong and intelligent female lead that is easy to like. With lots of emotional turmoil quickly being imposed upon her, Gabriella retains her inner strength with the tender support of her self-appointed protector, and Halo of the Sun Guardian Angel, Andrew. The electrifying connection between the two quickly grows creating an simmering undercurrent of desire and devotion that leads to a flourishing relationship that really draws the reader in. The honest and often times innocent Andrew was definitely a wonderful counterpart to the more practical and skeptical Gabriella. His earnest assessment of the world and the situations they find themselves in adds some stability to even the most dire situation as he oozes confidence and calm with an underlying skein of iron clad strength. But, really this novel evolves into an ensemble piece as the other Halo of the Sun Guardians are drawn into the destiny of the Illuminator and as the ultimate battle between good and evil begins.

But, while I love the secondary characters it often becomes confusing which ones you should truly focus on as each minor character is introduced just as thoroughly as the main ones. I was often mostly confused by the part they would play in Gabriella's journey as many disappeared just as quickly as they appeared. There is also some very definite confusion as to who the main love interest in the novel will be. This led me to do something of a double take as the chemistry and development between Gabriella and Joseph seems to go to waste, though a friendship does develop it often seems abandoned with little interaction between the two. However, by the end of the novel it does appear that the relationship and bond between the two will take on a new dynamic leaving me to believe that all the build up of the varying characters may come in to play later.

The writing style was also something that surprised me a bit. There was a wonderful flow that was a great mix of concise and descriptive. The pace is nicely set with lots of action and build up though the beginning has a nice sense of supernatural mystery surrounding the slumbering Angels. But, sometimes this flow was interrupted by the in-depth descriptions of the settings as well as an unneeded repetition of thoughts and histories. Since the story reads so fast, I often found the repetition to be more of a hindrance then a help as emotions and thoughts can often be run in to the ground. But, I think what nagged at me the most was the ending. It felt that the closer you got to the end, the more the story began to flounder, only to culminate in a climax that was jumbled and sort of anti-climatic given the scope of the story. But, there is still a lot of good in the story that overshadows the more disappointing aspects, leaving me eager to find out more about this wonderful cast of characters and gather some insight into the main characters that tended to remain more in the background.

Overall, this was a rather impressive read with a wonderfully original premise that leaves you wanting to know more about this unique world. The characters are endearing and wonderfully developed with a great emotional appeal that I truly enjoyed reading, making this a great debut to what promises to be a thrilling new series.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Scars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of the Book Lovin' Bitches Ebook Tours and a copy was provided to me by the author. although payment may have been received by Book Lovin' Bitches Ebook Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review nor was there an obligation to write a positive one. all opinions expressed here are entirely mine and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, the book's publisher and publicist or the readers of this review. this disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. 

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