“The Light was evil, and it always has been. Forget archetypes. They’re completely wrong, and they always will be.”
Round two of Shannon A. Thompson books! If you read my review of Take Me Tomorrow, you know who Shannon is. (And if you haven’t read that review yet and don’t know who she is, well … click the link.) This time, I am reviewing Minutes Before Sunset (Timely Death, #1) and Seconds Before Sunrise (Timely Death, #2). Both books are split into two points-of-view. There is Jessica who has just moved back to her birthplace, the small town of Hayworth, and is now set on a mission to find out what happened to her birth parents. Then, there is Eric, a silent, arrogant, seemingly careless high school student and Shade. What? “What’s a Shade?”, you ask? Well, a Shade is … hmmm, this is hard to explain. Well, a Shade is from the Dark, which obviously means he isn’t from the Light, the contrasting group of evil beings residing in Hayworth. A Shade is the alter ego and paranormal form of a member of the Dark, a secret population possessing powers of all sorts, but not in a superhero X-Men way. That being said, Eric, or Shoman as he is named in the Dark, is the First Descendant. As such, the fate of the Dark rests on him as he prepares for the Marking of Change on his eighteenth birthday. Then he will fight against the Second Descendant, Darthon, till death, forever determining the fates of their people.
In Seconds Before Sunrise, Jessica loses her memory, her desire to find her parents, and her confidence. But relentless nightmares lead her to risk it all and find the mysterious boy who holds the key to her issues (summary paraphrased from Shannon). Meanwhile, Shoman has to deal with his feelings and responsibilities of being the First Descendant as the Marking of Change comes closer every day.
Let’s pull the band-aide off real quick – I think these books (by these I mean all that I have read by Shannon thus far) could use some editing. No, there is nothing to completely throw off the reading experience, I just pick up mistakes really easily and am OCD enough to mark them (part of the reason I would love to be an editor for some poor, unsuspecting publisher). There are some minor spelling glitches here and there, but the biggest issue with Minutes Before Sunset is the lack of consistency. In one spot, telepathic communication (perks of being a Shade) is marked with italics. A few sentences later, there are no italics when there should have been. Maybe there was some reasoning for this, but either way it caught my eye and I had to reread some sentences to understand if they are telepathic.
My second issue is that I do not understand why all the female heroines in YA lit are SO TINY!! Sure, you could argue that it makes them less threatening, but c’mon! That’s a total cop-out! Perhaps this issue is just personal due to my above average height of 5’8″, but where are the big girls in YA lit, a genre that could really do a lot to boost some self-esteem with some varying body types? (Don’t get me wrong. This is not a stab at Shannon – just a general frustration that comes with the genre.) I’m just saying … I wouldn’t mind reading about a tall girl, or a curvy girl, or a midget! But let us all take a few steps away from the skinny 5’5″ girl who any guy in the book can easily carry in his arms. Sorry, ladies, but not all of us are so easy to sweep off our feet. Stepping off the soapbox now and moving on…
The character arcs are great. Though Eric is a little annoying and moody at first, he does come a long way. His is probably the most dramatic arc. Jessica, on the other hand, is pretty likeable from the beginning. She is smart and kind, giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, always thinking the best of a person. Even when she loses her memory and confidence, she still retains that something that makes her unique.
I also think both the plot is very engaging. There is more romance in this series than in Take Me Tomorrow, but once again Shannon manages to balance romance without making it gag-worthy, and this is coming from someone who can’t stand sappy. The only sap I like comes from trees, ladies and gents. The paranormal aspects of the Timely Death trilogy remind me a bit of Scot Westerfeld’s Midnighters, which I LOVED back in the day and have recently contemplated rereading. And though there are lots of clues along the way, especially about who Darthon is as a human, I find that it is not so predictable a story. (I have my thoughts on who Darthon is, but I will happily keep guessing!)
I really did love this series! It was intriguing, exciting, romantic, and so hard to put down! I actually bought the second one for my Kindle moments after finishing the first one. And now I am left in a puddle on the floor awaiting the final installment, Death Before Daylight, the dramatic conclusion that will end the long running conflict between the Dark and the Light. (Again I beg, don’t break my heart, Shannon. And if you do, let me down easy and include a box of tissues with every purchase!)
As always, I love to learn where Shannon’s stories come from, and this one is no exception! It all started with a dream she had… (I wish I could find where I read about this, but alas! once again I am unsuccessful!)
Favorite Quote: “‘The Light.’ She let the word linger in the air, and she hugged her knees against her chest. ‘Those are the bad guys, right?’ ‘Depends on who wins, I guess.’ I smirked, but she didn’t smile.”
Random thought: In conjunction with the above quote … Isn’t it true?! Don’t the winners always write history and make themselves out as the good guys? Awhile back I read an article that talked about how unfair this is. Unfortunately I can no longer find that article. So enjoy this one in lieu. It’s quite a bit more humorous anyway. But I truly do wonder what history would look like told from the losing side.
In light of the insinuation that a main character will die, Shannon has a great guest post by Zoe Moretz that discusses the death of the protagonist in YA fiction. You should check it out, especially if you are currently mourning the loss of a beloved character! (*Coughcough* Looking at you, Veronica. No hate, just tears. OK … Maybe a tinsy bit of