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Shadows Before the Sun by Kelly Gay
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Shadows Before the Sun

by Kelly Gay

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Charlie and Sandra go off to rescue Hank and along the way learn that they could be friends. Charlie does get to rescue Hank from the Circe and has to battle Death in the end. Definitely looking forward to the next book! ( )
  pnwbookgirl | Feb 7, 2016 |
The Good: This book was simply amazing. I felt wonderful things, horrible things, painful things and joyous things. A complete roller coaster of emotions. While the focus was on saving Hank, these really was so much more to it. Hank's situation fueled the progression, but things soon surpassed his survival and resolved plot issues that has existed since the very beginning. Another book is forthcoming, someday, but I would have been fully satisfied had this been the last. That's not to say I don't want another - I do and I'm pretty excited about it - but that I'm completely happy with the answers to my questions and where the story has brought us thus far.

The Bad: Not a thing. ( )
  TequilaReader | Oct 23, 2015 |
I'm really only medium-invested in the Charlie Madigan series. I like it. I'll keep reading when the new one comes out next year, for sure. But, as much as anything else, Shadows Before the Sun reminded me why Kelly Gay hasn't broken through into my top tier of favorite authors.

The first half/two-thirds or so of the book follows Charlie on her mission to rescue Hank. Hank has been captured by the other sirens and dragged back to Elysia to face punishment for having escaped the Malakim towers. Word filters through to earth that Hank has been executed, but Charlie doesn't believe it - she has to go see for herself.

We get occasional snippets from Hank's point of view, so we know he's alive and suffering terrible torture. This adds a lot of urgency to Charlie's mission, though she can't feel it as keenly as we do. In any case, we get a minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour account of Charlie's inter-dimensional travel, her impressions of Elysia, her exploration of Hank's hometown.

The rescue itself is pretty epic, and a lot of stuff happens. Major, major stuff. I'm going to do my best not to spoil anything, but most of my problems with Shadows Before the Sun have to do with the aftermath of this epic rescue.

After the first two-thirds, which are so focused and tightly plotted, Kelly Gay rushes us through events that could easily take up whole books; characters make decisions that, if properly handled, would mark major turning points in the series. I found myself almost shouting at my Kindle: "Wait...wait...what about all those lives you've just turned upside down? Can I get some closure? And I'm not buying this moment that ought to be touching! Shouldn't we save this for the next book? I can't believe you just threw away that opportunity!"

Because Gay failed to stick the landing, the whole book felt unbalanced and unsatisfying to me. I was pretty irritated when I turned the last page.

Beware - these are real spoilers.

So after Charlie rescues Hank, they end up in the sea goddess' underground grotto and have sex. There's no flirting or lead-up; quite the opposite, actually. Hank's sanity is in question, his soul is shredded and battered, and he's recovering from some serious injuries. But instead of a scene that deals with all this baggage he's acquired, Hank pretends to be normal, his usual self, and Charlie lets him. Personally, I was really disappointed to have waited so long for a consummation based on dishonesty and pretense. It felt so wrong to me.

Then, a whole slew of important things happen that barely merit a paragraph or two in the text: Hank gets some nifty new powers, he turns down the crown of his hometown, we have no idea what actually happens in his hometown after the entire government collapses, how the people or ruling elite react to the discovery of the Circe's wrongdoings.

Having spent a good 30% of the novel getting to know this city, these people, I wanted closure! Instead, Charlie and Hank just zoom on home, no passing GO!, no collecting $200.

There's also the subject of Alessandra. A lot of the latter part of the book hinges on the belief that Sandra and Charlie have bonded while traveling through Elysia together. But I didn't see it. Did I see the potential for a friendship? Sure. But it was so tenuous and new, nothing like the bond that the book tried to convince me had formed.

I continued to be annoyed by the fact that Hank kept acting totally normal while assuring everyone that he was, in fact, totally broken. If he's so broken, I need to see at least a crack in the armor - but I didn't. He and Charlie fall back on their old routine, no changes, and that was another let down.

And then - and then! - during the big final battle at the end, Hank is seriously wounded. And I'm sitting there thinking: okay, here it is, the first time Hank has been wounded after that terrible torture. He'll have a breakdown, his reaction will really drive home the deep and lasting effects of his experiences with the Circe.

Nada.

Hank cracks jokes and banters a bit with Charlie. That's it. No deep wounds seeping out to the surface, just same ol' Hank.

This battle, by the way? Another huge epic conflict that, in my opinion, could have been the subject of the entire next book - instead of a rushed coda to this one. I wasn't ready to switch gears and focus on a new villain, and I had no opportunity to savor the victory or what it meant.

In short, the final 25% of this book kinda ruined the first 75%.
( )
  MlleEhreen | Sep 20, 2013 |
This series just gets better and better for me, and SHADOWS BEFORE THE SUN may be my favorite yet. All the little pieces and allies that come together were interesting, and there's some new challenges on the horizon the promise to remake Charlie's world. Looking forward to it! ( )
  Capnrandm | Apr 15, 2013 |
I'm really only medium-invested in the Charlie Madigan series. I like it. I'll keep reading when the new one comes out next year, for sure. But, as much as anything else, Shadows Before the Sun reminded me why Kelly Gay hasn't broken through into my top tier of favorite authors.

The first half/two-thirds or so of the book follows Charlie on her mission to rescue Hank. Hank has been captured by the other sirens and dragged back to Elysia to face punishment for having escaped the Malakim towers. Word filters through to earth that Hank has been executed, but Charlie doesn't believe it - she has to go see for herself.

We get occasional snippets from Hank's point of view, so we know he's alive and suffering terrible torture. This adds a lot of urgency to Charlie's mission, though she can't feel it as keenly as we do. In any case, we get a minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour account of Charlie's inter-dimensional travel, her impressions of Elysia, her exploration of Hank's hometown.

The rescue itself is pretty epic, and a lot of stuff happens. Major, major stuff. I'm going to do my best not to spoil anything, but most of my problems with Shadows Before the Sun have to do with the aftermath of this epic rescue.

After the first two-thirds, which are so focused and tightly plotted, Kelly Gay rushes us through events that could easily take up whole books; characters make decisions that, if properly handled, would mark major turning points in the series. I found myself almost shouting at my Kindle: "Wait...wait...what about all those lives you've just turned upside down? Can I get some closure? And I'm not buying this moment that ought to be touching! Shouldn't we save this for the next book? I can't believe you just threw away that opportunity!"

Because Gay failed to stick the landing, the whole book felt unbalanced and unsatisfying to me. I was pretty irritated when I turned the last page.

Beware - these are real spoilers.

So after Charlie rescues Hank, they end up in the sea goddess' underground grotto and have sex. There's no flirting or lead-up; quite the opposite, actually. Hank's sanity is in question, his soul is shredded and battered, and he's recovering from some serious injuries. But instead of a scene that deals with all this baggage he's acquired, Hank pretends to be normal, his usual self, and Charlie lets him. Personally, I was really disappointed to have waited so long for a consummation based on dishonesty and pretense. It felt so wrong to me.

Then, a whole slew of important things happen that barely merit a paragraph or two in the text: Hank gets some nifty new powers, he turns down the crown of his hometown, we have no idea what actually happens in his hometown after the entire government collapses, how the people or ruling elite react to the discovery of the Circe's wrongdoings.

Having spent a good 30% of the novel getting to know this city, these people, I wanted closure! Instead, Charlie and Hank just zoom on home, no passing GO!, no collecting $200.

There's also the subject of Alessandra. A lot of the latter part of the book hinges on the belief that Sandra and Charlie have bonded while traveling through Elysia together. But I didn't see it. Did I see the potential for a friendship? Sure. But it was so tenuous and new, nothing like the bond that the book tried to convince me had formed.

I continued to be annoyed by the fact that Hank kept acting totally normal while assuring everyone that he was, in fact, totally broken. If he's so broken, I need to see at least a crack in the armor - but I didn't. He and Charlie fall back on their old routine, no changes, and that was another let down.

And then - and then! - during the big final battle at the end, Hank is seriously wounded. And I'm sitting there thinking: okay, here it is, the first time Hank has been wounded after that terrible torture. He'll have a breakdown, his reaction will really drive home the deep and lasting effects of his experiences with the Circe.

Nada.

Hank cracks jokes and banters a bit with Charlie. That's it. No deep wounds seeping out to the surface, just same ol' Hank.

This battle, by the way? Another huge epic conflict that, in my opinion, could have been the subject of the entire next book - instead of a rushed coda to this one. I wasn't ready to switch gears and focus on a new villain, and I had no opportunity to savor the victory or what it meant.

In short, the final 25% of this book kinda ruined the first 75%.
( )
  MlleEhreen | Apr 3, 2013 |
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To save her partner Hank, who is being held in a torturous state between life and death by the Circe in the siren city of Fiallan, Charlie Madigan must journey to Elysia, while jin crime boss Grigori Tennin searches for the divine being Ahkneri, putting Charlie in the crosshairs of Death.… (more)

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