—Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2012
Enshadowed (Nevermore Series #2)by Kelly Creagh
True love takes a twisted turn in the second book of this modern gothic romance trilogy channeling the dark brilliance of Edgar Allan Poe.
While Varen remains a prisoner in a perilous dream world where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life, Isobel travels to Baltimore to confront the dark figure known throughout the world as the Poe/b>
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True love takes a twisted turn in the second book of this modern gothic romance trilogy channeling the dark brilliance of Edgar Allan Poe.
While Varen remains a prisoner in a perilous dream world where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life, Isobel travels to Baltimore to confront the dark figure known throughout the world as the Poe Toaster. This man, the same man who once appeared to Isobel in her dreams and abandoned her in Varen’s nightmare world, holds the key to saving Varen.
But when Isobel discovers a way to return to this dream world, she finds herself swept up in a realm that not only holds remnants of Edgar Allan Poe’s presence, but has also now taken on the characteristics of Varen’s innermost self. It is a dark world of fear, terror, and anger.
When Isobel once more encounters Varen, she finds him changed. And now Isobel must face a new adversary—one who also happens to be her greatest love.
Read an Excerpt
Deep into That Darkness
“Okay, Hawks,” Coach Anne said. “That’s a wrap. We can officially call that our last run before Nationals. At least until we hit Dallas.”
Isobel released a sigh, her shoulders slumping in relief.
Around her, tired whoops and clapping echoed through the gym, everyone breaking off to find their water bottles and towels.
A dull ache spread its way slowly through her as she allowed her muscles to unclench. Her whole body felt like a twisted rope unwinding.
Already, Coach had drilled the routine at least twenty times. Even if Coach had wanted them to go again, Isobel didn’t think she could have managed another pike basket toss, let alone landed one more full.
She knew she wasn’t the only one running on fumes either.
She’d felt the entire squad’s energy draining away little by little, like a machine operating on a single dying battery.
Coach must have felt it too. Isobel had no doubt that she would have drilled them until midnight if she hadn’t sensed her squad preparing for mutiny.
Then again, it wasn’t unusual for Coach to pull this kind of boot-camp, cheer-till-you-drop drillathon, especially right before a big competition. And this was the competition, after all. But her motivation for killing them like this lay less, Isobel knew, in ironing out any last-minute kinks and more in sending everyone home too tired to do anything but crash.
“I want you all to get some rest tonight,” Coach shouted above a sudden burst of laughing and talking, her words confirming Isobel’s suspicions. “That means no late-night Facebook updates, no texting, no two a.m. phone calls with Mr. or Miss Flavor of the Week, and no last-minute stunting in the living room—I’m talking to you, Miss Dorbon. I want everybody here in one piece and ready to go at five a.m. sharp. Got that?” Coach lifted one thick arm over her frizzy poof of brown hair and pointed at her wristwatch. “Bus leaves at six on the dot, so set your alarms. No hitting the snooze button forty times. No ‘I forgot my uniform.’ No excuses. I know I don’t have to tell any of you that we won’t wait if you’re late.”
Speaking of late, Isobel wondered what time it was. It felt like they’d been there for hours.
She glanced above the gym doors to the white-faced clock secured behind the protective metal grate designed to shield it from foul balls.
At the sight of the dark, familiar figure standing in the doorway, however, all thoughts of time flew from her mind.
Hands stuffed into the pockets of his black jeans, he watched her from behind reflective sunglasses, his expression calm, blank.
A panicked stirring arose inside her, coupled with a nagging sensation that tugged at the back of her mind, like a child pulling on the hem of her mother’s dress. It was as though some deeper part of her was trying desperately to get her attention.
Behind her, Isobel could hear Coach Anne’s continued tirade as she rattled off reminders about their uniforms and which colored tennis shoe inserts to wear. Blue bows for hair this time, she droned, not yellow. A-line skirts, not pleated.
The longer Isobel stared at the figure standing in the open doorway, though, the more distant Coach’s voice began to grow. The walls of the gymnasium, the squad, and the floor, too—they all blurred out of her vision until there was only him.
Isobel walked toward the figure and reached for the glasses, the urge to strip them from his face and look into his eyes nothing short of a compulsion.
He stopped her hand with his. The contact made her pause, and the nameless dread inside her melted away as his fingers intertwined with hers.
His hand felt so warm.
“Ready to go?” he asked.
His voice rippled through her, low, soft, and a little husky—like the hushed crackling of an old-fashioned record player just before the music starts. Quieting the tangled mesh of her thoughts, it numbed her like a drug.
Her eyes flicked down from his glasses to the slight smile that tugged at one corner of his mouth. A glint of light caught on his lip ring, causing the silver to flash.
Suddenly it was too hard to breathe. She wanted to feel that tiny slip of metal against her own lips, to kiss him. As if that would somehow help her catch her breath.
But she couldn’t escape the feeling that there was something about the moment, something about his very presence that she wasn’t grasping. It was as if her mind had misplaced some vital bit of information. Or lost it entirely.
“What—what are you doing here?” she asked him, because it was the one question that kept pushing all the others out of the way.
One of his eyebrows drifted above the top edge of his sunglasses. His half smile remained in place. “I came to pick you up,” he said. “You’re my girlfriend. I do that now, remember?”
The word felt like a switchblade to her heart. The pain it evoked was more tender than sharp, though, the kind that comes along with saying good-bye to a friend you know you’ll never see again.
“C’mon,” he said before she could ask any more questions. He began to turn away and she felt his hand tighten around hers, squeezing, tugging her after him. “We should go.”
Isobel found herself following him, her steps falling in stride with his.
She wanted to look back, to see who’d been watching and who had noticed. Certainly Coach had seen her go. Isobel couldn’t understand why Coach wasn’t yelling at her right that very second, shouting for her to come back and that practice wasn’t over until after cooldown. But she didn’t have time to turn around. She and Varen had already reached the double doors that led out into the school’s rear parking lot.
They pushed through, greeted by a cascade of snow that poured from above, the gray-purple clouds all but blotting out the sky, leaving no room for the cold winter sun.
Varen’s black 1967 Cougar sat alone in the empty parking lot, a dark inkblot surrounded by a sea of vacant whiteness.
Isobel frowned. Where were all the other cars? Where was the line of minivans and SUVs waiting to pick up the rest of the squad? Where was Coach’s hulking, rust-red Suburban?
“I need to show you something,” she heard Varen say, though he didn’t turn around.
Isobel’s focus narrowed in on the nape of his neck, the place where his hair, black and silken, jagged as crows’ feathers, brushed the collar of his T-shirt.
Had she only just noticed how long it had grown?
A breeze whipped past them, and his bare arms made her wonder why he hadn’t worn his jacket.
“Varen, where are we going?”
“You’ll see,” was his only response as he hurried her through the parking lot. Beneath their feet, the snow, still fresh and powdery, made no sound.
Reaching the Cougar, he opened and held the passenger-side door for her, the cab light illuminating the familiar burgundy interior.
She hesitated and glanced back to Varen. Shifting his weight from one foot to the other, he gestured to the upholstery. “Yeah,” he said, “sorry about that. Still waiting on those mink seat covers.”
Isobel shot him a wry smile. Before she could return his trademark sarcasm with her own dry quip, though, something about his appearance made her pause.
There was something missing. Something off . . .
She realized that even though she was looking straight at him, she could not see herself in the mirrored lenses of his glasses, only the reflection of blackened trees standing in rows behind her, their thin prison-bar trunks still visible through the thickening screen of falling snow.
In the reflection, a large ebony bird lifted off from one of the twisted branches, and the sound of its beating wings caused her to flinch and whirl. But when she looked, there were no trees. No bird. Only the rigid outline of Trenton High’s neo-Gothic facade.
From here, Isobel could just make out the four spires of the school’s main entrance tower peeking up over the roof’s ledge. The countless windowpanes glared white, refracting the overcast light like a thousand dead eyes. Even though she’d just left the squad in the gym, the entire building now appeared deserted—except for the top floor, where Isobel thought she saw the silhouette of someone standing in one of the windows, watching them.
“Get in,” Varen said. “Now.”
Isobel turned and sank into the car, spurred by the urgency in his voice.
She shut the door behind her and, glancing to the driver’s side, was shocked to find him already there, one hand on the steering wheel, the other locked around the stick shift, the bulky onyx gem of his class ring shining like oil in the stark light.
The car hummed. Isobel felt her seat vibrate beneath her as the engine rumbled, though she couldn’t recall his turning the key. The smell of exhaust fumes filtered into her awareness while the windshield wipers jumped into action, slashing back and forth to cast off the gathering snow. By now, the cascade of whiteness had grown so heavy that the world outside had all but vanished.
Beside her on the seat, the ratty old Discman Varen had rigged up to the Cougar’s dashboard radio sprang to life. Through the tiny rectangular window, Isobel saw the disc inside whir. A woman’s soft voice erupted through a hiss of static. Her humming, unaccompanied by any instrumentals, filled the car. Soft and sweet, sad but beautiful, the naked melody was one Isobel had never heard before. The voice, too, was unfamiliar, possessing an airy quality, wispy and almost shy.
Without warning, Varen snatched the Discman, yanking it free from the wires that connected it to the dashboard, instantly silencing the static and the humming. With a hard scowl, he tossed the CD player into the backseat. Grabbing the stick shift again, he threw the car into gear.
His foot hit the gas pedal and they began to move, accelerating to top speed. Isobel opened her mouth to speak, but Varen cut her off, turning the wheel sharply.
Pressed to the passenger-side door, she groped for something to hold on to, instantly reminded of that night he’d driven her home, careening down the road while ignoring her desperate pleas for him to stop. Fear erupted inside her like a match striking. She gripped the seat beneath her, able only to see endless white through the windows.
“Varen! You can’t even see where you’re going!”
“I don’t have to,” he said.
Isobel felt her muscles tighten again, coiling up, tensing in preparation for the impact that would surely kill them both any second.
“Varen! Ple—” Isobel stopped, her words evaporating in her mouth as she caught sight of the small clock embedded into the dashboard.
The hands of the clock looped opposite each other and spun lazily around and around, never stopping. She watched the needle of the speedometer tip to and fro like the pendulum of a metronome.
The gas gauge read empty, but she could hear the engine growling, guzzling fuel.
“Wait,” she whispered, more to herself than to him. “This isn’t . . . This is a dr—”
“Don’t,” he snapped, silencing her. “Not yet.”
His foot slammed on the brake. Isobel pitched forward in her seat as the car skidded to a halt, its tires shrieking.
Like sand being blown from a relic, the snow coating the windshield began to erode.
Or rather, Isobel thought, the ash.
Tiny blots of bright crimson now fluttered down all around them, lighting on the windshield.
The car jerked to a final stop, causing Isobel to fly back again. Frantic, she turned toward the driver’s side, only to find the car door flung open and Varen gone.
Outside, countless red roses bobbed their heads, their waxy leaves rustling in a sudden gust of wind that sent even more blood-colored petals raining over the car.
Thick and heady, the aroma of the blossoms weighed down the air.
Isobel fumbled for the handle on her door, which popped open as soon as she touched the latch. Jerking her arm with it, the door swung out wide over the jagged edge of a black cliff.
Far below, milky waters churned amid toothy rocks while the waves clamored one over the other, snapping like white wolves before smashing against the flat face of the cliff.
Isobel gave a silent shriek. She backpedaled for the driver’s side. Twisting, she grabbed hold of the steering wheel, using it to pull herself out on the other side.
She spilled hard onto the ground. Rolling onto her back, she hiked one knee up and kicked, sending the door of the Cougar slamming shut.
The echoing clap caused the car to disperse into ashes.
Isobel raised her arms to shield her face from the spray of grit. Through the settling dust, she saw that the cliffs had vanished, leaving only the surrounding walls of ruby blossoms.
In the midst of what appeared to be an enormous rose garden, a familiar structure became discernible through the screen of the settling powder.
Isobel recognized the structure as the fountain from Varen’s neighborhood. It now stood in the center of a circular dome-shaped room enclosed by scarlet blooms.
Without the curtain of crystal water pouring from the ledge of its rounded green basin, the fountain was a silent and eerie monument.
Isobel pulled herself to her feet, her practice sneakers caked with ash, chalk white against a carpet of ruby petals.
Her eyes locked on the statue of the woman that stood at the top of the fountain, her stiff stone veil clutched in her hands, the fabric arcing out behind her nearly nude figure in a backward C.
Isobel turned in a circle. All around her, buds and blossoms in various states of unfurling dotted the trellised walls. High over the statue’s head, thick vines met at a circular opening at the top of the domed ceiling. Through the porthole, she could see a tangled webwork of black tree limbs.
What was this place?
And where was—?
Isobel started, nearly yelping as she found him standing right in front of her.
She peered up into eyes no longer shielded by sunglasses. Their centers were black, swept clean of color and light.
She searched through their darkness, desperate to find some irrefutable evidence in their depths that could prove it was really him.
“Is—is any of this real?” she asked. “Are you real?”
He lifted a hand to her cheek, his fingers brushing her jaw.
“Even if this is a dream,” he whispered, “I’m not.”
Isobel’s eyes widened, recognizing those words as her own, the same ones she had once uttered to him. She reached for him, her arms twining around his neck, drawing him to her so that his scent poured over her, that combination of incense, citrus, and dried leaves overriding the funeral smell of the crowding flowers.
He lowered his forehead to hers, his hair draping around their faces, the smooth strands tickling her skin.
“Don’t leave,” she breathed.
“I’m here,” he whispered. “Right here. Waiting.”
He leaned in.
Isobel tilted her chin up, ready for the press of his lips.
She wanted to let her eyes fall shut, but something, a sensation of being watched, stopped her. Her glance slid past his shoulder, her focus drawn to the statue atop the fountain.
Between the inky strands of Varen’s hair, Isobel watched its eyes slide open. She stared, transfixed, as the statue turned its head toward them, aiming those two empty pits of blackness straight at her.
What People are Saying About This
—Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2012
Meet the Author
Kelly Creagh is a 2008 graduate of Spalding University’s MFA in Creative Writing program. When not writing, haunting bookstore coffee shops, or obsessively studying Poe, Kelly’s passions include the ancient art of bellydance. She lives with her squirrely, attitude-infused dogs—Annabel, Jack, and Holly—in the heart of Old Louisville, Kentucky’s largest and spookiest Victorian neighborhood. Kelly is the author of the Nevermore trilogy. Visit her at KellyCreagh.com.
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I adore everything about this book except for the ending. Why, must you ask? Because when I turned the last page, the story is, for now, over. We have to wait to see what happens next and that is driving me crazy because the story got so much better in this sequel to Nevermore. I closed the book and I said out loud, "No, no way, it can't end like that! I need to know now!" I think it's pretty obvious that I love this book. After finishing Nevermore, I was so psyched for Enshadowed. It has everything I love about Kelly Creagh's writing: pulsing action, realistic emotion, and amazing imagination. In several ways, this book was a little more darker than the previous one. I think I feel this way because there is so much at stake in this installment. There is so much that is reveled in this novel. Like a complex puzzle, a lot of the pieces start forming together to paint a clearer picture of what might be going on. What is real and what is mere fabrication, though, is often blurred by the dreamworld. I felt as confused as Isobel as she struggled to work through the hints and facts to get Varen out of the dreamworld. Of course, it's always awesome to read about one of my favorite writers, Mr. Poe himself. I learned a lot about his burial site, the Poe Toaster, and the festivities that surround his birthday. Now I definitely want to go to Maryland and visit Edgar Allan Poe. Even though the ending is driving me crazy, I still enjoyed the novel thoroughly and I am so happy I went out to buy it on release day. I usually borrow books from the library or buy them at thrift shops, but I just had to get this one the day it came out. Now I will patiently wait for its sequel. Or at least I will try to wait patiently. 5 stars all the way.
Rather disapointed with how this second book came out. I felt like we spent so much time leading up to the acual trip, and then it all just rushed by. and oh heres the end of the book. REEALLY?!??!?! i had hoped for more after how good nevermore was. Will read the third book only because i want to see what happens to varen and isobel..If i was her i would feel like giving up after the chaos at the end of this book. Only recommend if you're invested in the characters...otherwise move on..spent 3/4 of the book waiting for the big action to start and for isobel to get herself together. Too long in my opinion.
I felt a bit let down by the second installment of the series. While we were able to obtain a bit more insight and information into the fantasy "poe-esque" world and understand a bit more about "Reynolds," the demon Lilith, and the shards of the soul brought to life in the form of the nocs, the novel dragged for me. There was too much "real-time" drama and not enough alternate reality face time for my taste. While the ending was, I believe, intended to be a cliffhanger to ensure that book three would be read, it had quite the opposite effect on me. Book two just felt too much like filler and actually reduced my opinion of the author notably. The world she has created has such possibilities! I sincerely hope she makes the most of them.
I am so excited about this book. I loved the first book!!!!!!
One of the best books I've ever read
http://hulsey2007bookblog.blogspot.com/ I am really enjoying this series. I love all the characters, the story line pretty much everything involving this series. Its just so captivating. It sucks you in, its an amazing series if you havent read it yet. There is one thing I would change, that aggravated me. Varen wasnt heavily involved in this book. All second books the 1 of the main characters that you fell in love with 1 of them doesnt show up in the second book. I dont understand it. He did show up at the very end but it wasnt for very long. I wanted alot more out of him. To see him alot more. That is the only thing I would change about this book. I really like the dark gothic feel of the story. I dont read that many stories like this, I think this is my first one actually. Its just so good to get out of my comfort zone. It does have romance which drew me in even more to this series. I could praise this series all day long and tell people all day long to pick up this series. You just have to read it. Romance lovers, dark gothic lovers. Just read it its an amazing series. I cannot wait to continue on to the last book. I just really need to know what happens. I love it so much. 4 stars.
omg i loved this book and the first one but why did it have to end the way it did. its going to drive me crazy till i know how it actually ends.
I realyy enjoyed the first book and am hoping i will like the second just as much;however, i know for a fact that i won't like it, i will love it.
I just finished the second. Can't be bothered further.
Was going back and forth with this, either 3.5 or 4 stars. That ending, just why, how, what? How could you book how could you? Haven't felt like this since the ending to Madman's Daughter. Loved the first book, the premise, characters etc and then with this I been putting off reading this for some time now. Just wasn't in the right mood you know? Lately I've been trying to catch up on sequels I had yet to read. This one while good was slow paced, with some things happening but at the same time stuff was happening. If that makes sense. Also glad to see Gwen. I like Isobel but at the same time was like, thank goodness Gwen is there. Even Pinfeathers made this interesting. And that ending, I was not a happy reader. I was more annoyed and thinking, please don't end it there, don't you dare book. And lo and behold, it did. Is the sequel here yet, no not yet. Well fine, I'll wait then. I'll wait (checks when next book comes out), you, got, to, be, kidding, me!
Does anyone have any info about the next book? I love this series, but i wish we the readers got more information about upcoming books and such.
I read Evermore and loved it but I hated the end because I thought these books were over forever!!! I cried for almost two days straight. I havent read this book yet becaus if I do I will cry all over my nook when it is over and break my nook s I have to borrow the paperback or hardback when my cousin gets it. The ending was pretty abrubt and upsetting according to most people here. Keep writing more in this series and in other series forever but only if you love me! ;)
OMG! Kelly is just an amazing writer! Without giving any spoilers all I can say is that by the end I felt like a piece of me had died. I thought the end of Nevermore was a cliffhanger.....this one is even worse!
Love Love Love it!!!!!!
This lady is driving me CRAZY!! With the 1st book, and now the 2nd, I was totally immersed in her words!!! The first one only took me a day to read and I was instantly wanting the next one to come. Thinking about it non-stop for the next month or so, no matter how hard I tried to distract myself! Definitely an awesome sequel to an already fantastic first book! It kept me hooked and wanting to jump in there and slap Isobel sometimes. I loved seeing the relationship with her and her brother grow though. He's so cute! And Gwen.... HAH Where is she in real life because she is flippin awesome!! I Love her! She's a friend <3 But I wont say anything about Varen. Don't want to give that away but I will say this... "READ THIS BOOK ASAP IF YOU LIKED/LOVED THE FIRST ONE CUZ OH LORD WAS IT SOMETHING!" Ahh such a perfect opening for the next. Its time for something good to happen... Hopefully... I REALLY hope Kelly Creagh is not going to make us wait yet another year for the last book to come out... Please please please!!! *fingers crossed!*
OK so im kinda pissed about this book. To me it seems like from the beginning Izo is having to do all the work in this relationship and its pissing me off. Also what is making me mad is how easy it was for varn to just take stuff at face value. I mean come on. .. . he knows how they work and he knows Izo so why would he turn on her like that. ALSO even if he did think that i think it is proof enough that it was false by just her showing up to take him home!? I just dont get it. You know Izo was the one that was told she did not deserve him. . .well i think he does not deserve her. I really really REALLY hope that in the next book that he starts to pull his own weight in this relationship. . .if there still is one.
LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! This book had me on my toes the entire time. I'm upset with how quick I got through it. Isobel is such a stronger person in this book. I so look forward to reading the next installment.