2015 Reading Journey: Shadow

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Shadow by Amanda Sun

Shadow is a prequel novella to Amanda’s Paper Gods trilogy. I have read it before, when it first came out, but when I wrestled Storm (the final volume) away from my oldest daughter, I decided I’d like to read the whole set of stories as a single, continuous tale. I don’t do re-reads very often, and I haven’t done a trilogy in one go more than a handful of times as an adult, but I thought I’d like to do real reviews of each story in the sequence, and that makes Shadow a good place to start.

So, taking it as the first piece of the story, Shadow introduces the two primary characters of Ink, Katie and Tomohiro, and it’s told in the first person for both, in thirteen alternating chapters plus both a prologue and an epilogue. The bookends are both from Tomohiro’s perspective, and we begin with a nightmare in progress. For Katie, we start with a different kind of nightmare, at the gathering right after her mother’s funeral.

After that, the two stories run in parallel. Katie starts to come to terms with her mother’s death, makes the move to Japan to live with her aunt, and starts school there. Tomohiro takes steps to remove himself further from the social life of a normal (Japanese) teenager and begins to make an effort to understand his dreams. The stories don’t quite come together, but do brush up against one another near the end, with the first day of school welcoming ceremonies.

Overall rating: 4 stars. Translation: this is a good establishing the background and character introduction story. It makes a nice prequel to Ink, but would have thrown the pacing of the novel off completely if it had been included. But since Ink is told entirely from Katie’s point of view, we also would have lost Tomohiro’s journey. You don’t need to read Shadow before Ink to enjoy either story. Actually, you don’t need to read Shadow at all to enjoy Ink, but if you’ve liked any of Ms. Sun’s other writing, you owe it to yourself to check it out. And, as of this writing, it’s available free in a couple of places.

Be well, everyone.

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