This review contains unmarked minor spoilers for Shadowlands, book one of the Shadowlands trilogy.
When I read Shadowlands last year, I couldn’t really say I was impressed with it. I loved the murder mystery but the characters were incredibly lacking for me and I couldn’t really connect with any of them. Hereafter was a very lackluster book, but I could see potential in it. Hereafter was a very disappointing read, as I had higher hopes for it. While the characters slightly improved in Hereafter, the plot took a turn for the worse.
Shadowlands had a very interesting plot. The mystery and heart pounding tension made it an enjoyable read at times. Sadly, Hereafter suffers from Second Book Syndrome and what made the first book good was lost in this installment. It was mediocre, but not great by any stretch of the imagination. The big ‘twist’ of the novel was uninspired at best, as Brian all but spelled it out in the first two chapters. The overall plot was fell flat compared to Shadowlands.
In the first book, the mystery second narrator was purposefully obvious, I think. You were supposed to know who it was, at least vaguely. In this book, clearly it was meant to be a surprise. Instead of gradual foreshadowing, Brian went straight for a semi-reveal.
All the characters were some sort of modified trope – the MIA parent trope, the cold ‘slut’, ect.
After looking at the cover (I’m assuming it’s her sister in the background), you’d think that she and the father would play a major role in the book, especially due to some key plot points. But, no, not really. She spends hardly any time with either family member, as she was much more interested in spending time with Tristan. I don’t buy it. Her dad would be worried sick about her, especially because he thinks Steven Nell is out there. Would he really let his daughter spend practically all of her time out in the town, without any protection?
The hate between Nadia and Rory was really stupid, honestly. Rory immediately took Nadia for a provocatively dressed, man-stealing bitch and Nadia hated Rory for some unexplained reason. I’m not sure what started this immense dislike for her, but damn, Nadia hated Rory.
Rory’s obsession with Tristan was just plain annoying to read. I don’t like pining in my books and this was no different. Rory just wouldn’t shut up about Tristan’s sexiness or his amazing bod. I don’t care, Rory. I don’t care. The cheap excuse for a ‘romance’ reduced the impact of the ending.
The mystery of the souls going to the wrong place was literally all Hereafter had going for it, and it did it fairly well. The tension was well done in places and I felt involved in the story.
Shadowlands was perfect as a stand-alone and Brian should have left it at that. Shadowlands was an incredibly disappointing book, only occasionally entertaining. This book is only worth reading if you really enjoyed the first book – and even then, maybe it’s best to forget this book ever happened.