I have no idea how I’m going to write this review without giving too much away. But I’m dedicated to sharing with you all my thoughts so let’s see how this goes shall we?
I picked up this book because of @thebiblioteque on Instagram is obsessed with Jennifer L Armentrout and I’m so thankful for bookstagrammers like her because she’s not wrong with her obsession and these books are amazing.
The Burning Shadow follows Evie right after The Darkest Star ends. As she’s trying to get back to her normal life with the new knowledge she has about Luc, the Luxen, and herself, the news starts displaying strange incidents of people catching flu-like symptoms and dying not too long after that. The government suspects it to be a Luxen virus making people sick, scared, and hateful about the Luxen populations living on Earth. It doesn’t help that one of Evie’s friends, April, is leading the protests against Luxen at school.
However, when Evie sees a sick classmate transform from teenager to bone-cracking, black-blood-dripping, and deadly-a-f, she reports the news to Luc who has no clue what’s going on either. Thus begins the second book where Evie, Luc, and the others find out the bigger nature of the fight against the Luxen and Origins.
Ok, I think I was able to describe the book without getting into too many details. Jennifer L Armentrout sets off running with this book so it’s tough to describe it without giving too much away. Granted, there’s a lot of nuances to Evie and Luc’s story that are fleshed out in this book, but all of it would give away the plot and some of the twists and turns JLA loves to include in her books.
This story gets bigger. The first book was about building the world and where everyone is in terms of the new Luxen. The conflict was more personal (I thought) relating back to Luc and Evie’s past versus being a bigger fight for Luxen rights. And The Burning Shadow is now getting into the bigger picture of what’s going on with these aliens. There’s a lot of new information being shared in this book including what happened to Evie that we didn’t discuss in the first book. The universe feels like it’s expanding and really showing you this world JLA is trying to create. I loved it!
I am also now a devotee to Jennifer L Armentrout. I want to check out her Lux series. I want to read her Dark Elements series. And I want to dive into the Harbinger series (I have the first book for that). She doesn’t waste time with slow burns, which I like because the story just keeps moving. But she also doesn’t skip on anything. There’s still character growth and story development and giant ass conflicts. I even love the fact that her characters don’t fall into many of the YA tropes we see in books nowadays. It’s marketed to young people, but it read adult. I had to keep reminding myself that these were still teenagers.
The last thing I do want to touch on which I feel like won’t give away the story is that a lot of what she’s writing here resembles a lot of what’s going on today. In this book, we see what happened to the Luxen after the invasion and the pardon from the president. We see their conditions and how they live and it reminds me a lot of the conditions down at the American-Mexican border.
I love that despite this being a story about aliens from another planet, it’s also a story about the aliens from other countries and the level of care America is giving them. All I could think about is how much this reminds me of the kids in cages and ICE and the deportations going on right now. It makes me happy that this isn’t just a frivolous YA novel and that there are real issues being discussed here. It brought a realness to the story and makes you care much more for the Luxen population within it.
Overall, this is an amazing book and only the second in her series. After talking to my friends, I feel like there will be lots so I’ll be here waiting for the next part of the story.
I received a copy of this book from Tor.com for free in exchange for an honest review. My opinions have not been influenced by the publisher or the author.