Friday, June 29, 2012

Through the Shadows by Gloria Teague

Published: April 1, 2012
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Tori is a fledgling writer looking for her big break. She has poured her heart and soul into creating her fictional worlds, but has a special place in her heart for her character Avery, a womanizing cad that she can't help but love. Due to her dedication and complete lack of ability to nurture her real life relationships, Tori experiences a painful divorce. But no matter how alone Tori may feel, she is anything but, for the very man who is the source of her ruin is about to become her salvation.

I had high hopes for this story. The description drew me right in, but it was clear from the get-go that it was going to be a tough read. There was just too much wrong to dismiss.

Despite what the description says about Tori's husband being jealous of the character she had created in her book, I didn't get that impression. I'm not even sure it was mentioned, actually. I'm not positive on the time frame, but I am fairly certain it's been about five years since the divorce and all I get from Tori is that she suffers from extensive writer's block, not that she is aching over love lost. But when her ex calls her up out of the blue, which bothered me immensely (why would he call her?), to inform her that he was remarrying and about to become a father, I just found it out of place and a convenient excuse to push her into depression and to further Avery's transition into reality.

Another problem is Avery's existence. It is only (somewhat) explained nearest the end. I gathered that Tori has been working on this novel for ages, and he has been watching her for nearly as long through dreamscapes and such. So just how long has this been going on, and why?

Tori fell pretty flat to me. I actually didn't like her much. I found her to be pretty annoying with her constant self-talk and mental jabbering. I understand that she was alone in her world and all that, but it became more an annoyance than an endearment. Her interaction with her mother were very unrealistic to me, and had she used the term "mommy" I wouldn't have been surprised. Thankfully, she did not. Also, her relationship with her agent was kind of strange and didn't strike me as deeply as it was meant to.

Tori's insistence that her mother and agent not interfere in her love life was also a source of aggravation. The two women were like twenty-somethings running around having drinks and scoping the scene for men, and the minute they decide it's time to set Tori up, she complies without argument. The date she is set up on is actually pretty nice and I got a warm feeling from Roger (the date). He seemed pleasant and charming and genuinely interested in getting to know Tori, but by the second date, he has done a complete 360 and was crude and bordering on being a rapist. It was almost like a snap decision had been made here. As if the author wanted to shake up the storyline to achieve the ending she was going for, rather than take the longer, more logical route and have Roger become a possible love interest that Avery would have to contend with. To me, it just didn't work well.

The only attachment I held to any character was Avery, which was actually quite well-developed and likeable. The writing here was descriptive and the thoughts and feelings Avery conveyed made him come alive in a way that none of the other characters did. Unfortunately, these qualities made Avery's part a bit of a departure from the rest of the story, almost like there were two stories smooshed together. The writing styles were so different, they just didn't mesh.

Overall, this could have been much better. The idea was great, the execution needs some work. I was trudging through the first quarter of the book, and the only thing that really held my attention was Avery's portion. However, the many questions this left me with and some of the unexplained things that I've already mentioned, really hurt my opinion of it. I give this story three stars because I appreciate the effort that went into it, and it isn't an altogether bad story. The problem is that, even though I think I understand what the author was shooting for, I shouldn't have to interpret it. It should be fairly plain and straightforward to avoid guessing games.

 Through the Shadows can be found on Amazon for $2.99 here.

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