Adventure (Teen), Fantasy (Teen), YA Fiction

Conspiracy of Ravens by Lila Bowen – Shadow #2

I received this novel as an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

After the spectacular first book that kept me at the edge of my seat, I was eager to start this novel. I wanted to know what the next adventure would entail and how the character of Nettie would transform.

Nettie Lonesome made a leap with no idea of how she would survive and who – or rather, what – she would become. But what remains the same is her destiny as the Shadow. Nettie Lonesome made a leap — not knowing what she’d become. But now the destiny of the Shadow is calling. The Shadow encounters a shapeshifter by the name of Earl, who tells him about a powerful man that captures monsters and uses their powers for something diabolical. They set off in search of this evil man with only a few provisions and their small band of friends. But as they make their way through the desert, the world of monsters and men stops looking so black and white and reveals that the true monsters may be hiding in plain sight.

For me, this novel was not as great as its predecessor. It started off right where the first book ended, with no gap in time. The introduction to Earl also occurred fairly quickly, so I began to assume that this novel would be relatively fast-paced, like the previous one. However, it moved a lot slower than I expected and I found myself getting quite bored for a large portion of the story. I mean, it was literally just them walking along getting on each others’ nerves and fooling around… a lot. The author continued to work the gender identity angle, and the way she went about it was interesting, but a bit weird for me. Nettie embraces her desire to be a male and creates a new identity as Rhett. I have no problem with this decision, but my problem stems from the way Rhett is portrayed. As soon as the transformation happens, suddenly Rhett starts having sex and not giving a damn about people’s feelings. I don’t like how this was associated with Rhett becoming a male, as if females can’t enjoy being sexually active or something, or as if males only have sex on their mind. It felt unfair to both genders to have this depiction, and I hope the author rectifies it in the next book in the series. The novel had a more abrupt cliffhanger this time, and that wasn’t a very pleasant experience to read. While this novel was generally good, it was long-winded, stagnant, and succumbed to gender stereotypes. Hopefully the next novel turns out to be better, because I still have high hopes for this author and this series!

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