This sequel to Shades of Darkness (2016) follows Chris and Kaira, friends caught between mystical god-beings who fight over possession of their souls.
After Chris, a white boy, is found at the scene of the most recent of a string of murders at their boarding school, he’s haunted by the voices of birds who tell him that he is the Endbringer. A godlike being tells him that it is his destiny to kill Kaira, the girl he wants to save. Kaira, dark-skinned and generically Native American, has fallen desperately ill. Kaira finds herself in an underworld where a different being tells her she is the Shadechild and that she must kill Chris. In this underworld, gods are bound to feed the sacred Tree, which thrives only when fed with blood offered via human sacrifice. Chris’ and Kaira’s fates are intertwined, as both feel a determination to resist the pressure to kill each other, and it is only together that they might release themselves from the gods that claim them. The concept of this Norse-inflected paranormal is stronger than the actual read. The narrative stalls through lackluster pages in which little happens but angst, as if the author needs filler to get readers to the protagonists’ visits with the underworld gods, scenes that are disappointingly dull and lead to a sequel-bait ending.
Not much here for readers looking for an engaging supernatural adventure. (Suspense. 14-18)