4.5 rising above Stars
Betrayal. It’s one of the oldest literary themes. It’s one of the oldest themes in civilization. People have been stabbing each other in the back since the dawn of time. If anything the driving factors have only gotten more complicated and convoluted. But regardless of motivation, a knife in the heart delivered by someone you love is always one of the harshest and hardest things from which to come back.
Penumbra picks up almost exactly where Semblance left off – Calisto has tilted the entire world off of its axis with her betrayal of Shadow, Aria, Lincoln and The Midnight Society as a whole, creating a splinter organization she has named, The Revenants, after murdering the top members of the core leadership to be replaced by no one but her.
Life as Shadow, Aria and Lincoln know it is in ruins. All three are wracked with guilt, grief and seething anger. Calisto’s manipulations have pit Shadow against Aria within their love, making them both second guess everything that has happened between them and whether they ever really had a future. Lincoln is left to wonder how he should chart his new course as a murderer, knowing the love of his life forced him to pull the trigger.
To say that they are all starting from nothing is generous. No matter what trials and tribulations they may have endured individually in their past, their current situation makes that all look like a carousel ride.
Shadow is riddled with crippling doubt about his entire life in the face of Calisto’s betrayal and turns to his self-imposed to-do list to cope instead of turning into the waiting arms of his love. Aria is caught up in the spin of a tornado of grief, overwhelming guilt and confusion in the face of being turned aside to by Shadow. Lincoln is walking tall, safely tucked behind his playboy façade, completely unwilling to externally confront his own feelings of loss and anger
Watching these three individuals walk the road laid before them with the sole goal of finding Calisto and making her pay would be interesting enough given each of their mental states. But because they are such incredibly complicated, intense, intelligent characters they aren’t content to simply tick line items off their to-do list. We get to watch them all tackle their individual and group demons in a grueling fight for their lives, love and future in an extraordinarily gritty, authentic and intelligent way.
Logan Patricks has crafted another brilliant thriller laced through with incredible heat, fantastic humor and genuinely larger than life characters. He exquisitely paces this story by expertly weaving complimentary, new characters and challenges to overcome throughout. He continually ups the ante by peppering in teases, taunts and temptations for all setting up the reader to constantly be checking whether there is still solid ground under our feet.
Patricks has rendered a perfect balance between mystery, a character driven narrative and a flat out fun story to read. Although the core theme of this series is betrayal, readers will never question or regret their investment in characters or story. Like its predecessor, Penumbra delivers everything you could possibly want.