As you all know, I was less than enthused about the cover and visual presentation of this book, and it seems to me that I haven’t read any posts that say that they LOVE the cover (if I’m mistaken, please tell me!). Which is too bad. But all is not based on appearances, and I did start to read The Shadow and Night right after we finished up the last tour. Like other have mentioned, it was a slow start for me too.
The prologue was very informative. Was it compelling? No, not really. Was the information necessary? Probably. Could it have been done differently? Oh, I’m sure it can… but I’m not a novelist, so I’m not sure if I’m qualified to really have an opinion on that matter. I didn’t think it was terrible, but it wasn’t all it could be.
I got interested around the time that Vero was introduced to Merral. For some reason, his character interested me so. It was interesting, but not compelling. Around chapter 9, I was hooked, and definitely wanted to read the book. It was good that the book got progressively more interesting, and not just in a “oh what will happen next” kind of a way, but the plot and the characters became more complex. I think that Walley did an excellent job creating interesting and complex characters, even though we didn’t come to care about them until partway through the book. For some reason, I just didn’t connect with Merral all that well. Perhaps it’s because I tend to not connect to male characters because they’re weird (you know, being male and not fully understanding the psyche and stuff), but part of me thinks that it was partly to do with the writing. And possibly, just because Merral isn’t someone that I think I would have hung out with if he was a real, live person. Nothing against him, but we’re just cut from different cloth.
I do have to say that I absolutely LOVE the name Merral. I’m not sure why, but I do like it. I mentioned it to my husband, and he said that it was probably because my favourite sandals, the ones that got me through my pregnancy were Merrells. It’s possible, but I kind of doubt it 😉
I must also say this: During the initial uptake of the book, the first 200 pages or so, I was really put off by the “Praise God” and “Bless You” type language. I kept trying to tell myself that it was just to show the contrast of the ultra Christian society, with how the people will change, but I can’t tell you how much it irritated me. It didn’t seem real, mostly because we’re not like that in real life (or at least my social circle isn’t). So I chaffed at that. I obviously got through it, and I noticed that it declined significantly through the book. So due to that fact, I assume that Walley did it to be able to compare the societies both pre- and post-invasion.
Over all, I did enjoy the book. It was slow to start up, but once the action really got going, I did find it compelling. It took a little longer to read in contrast to some of the fluff I read (mmm… brain candy), but it wasn’t as hard to read as some other books that I have ground myself through. Truth be told, I’m not all together sure that I would have continued reading the book had it not been for the Tour. I am sure that I would have pushed myself through eventually, but with many breaks to read other things.
I would recommend this book to other people, with the disclaimer that the first 150 pages aren’t all that exciting, but once you get through those, you’ll really enjoy it.