Isobel knows that her only hope lies within a Baltimore cemetery. There, in the early morning hours of Edgar Allan Poe's birthday, a mysterious stranger known as the "Poe Toaster" will make his annual homage at the legendary poet's grave.
Only the Poe Toaster holds the key to the way between worlds. But even greater dangers lie ahead for Isobel. An ancient evil, draped in veils of white, is watching, challenging her for Varen's affections. When Isobel finally finds Varen, he is no longer the quiet and brooding boy who once captivated her, but a dark force, powerful and malevolent.
Enshadowed picks up where Neverwhere left off. Varen is stuck in the dream world and Isobel is back in the real world thanks to the lying Reynolds, whom Isobel thought was her ally. But no one seems to care that Varen is gone besides Isobel. Her parents want her to be who she was before, but she is no longer that person. She goes through life in a plastic version of her former self, trying to act like everything is okay, when everything is anything but. Isobel keeps seeing snatches of Varen, but is it real or just her imagination? Supposedly the dream world's tie with reality was severed, but old foes keep coming through the divide. Her only hope is to corner Reynolds the famed "Poe Toaster" on Poe's birthday in Baltimore. He is the only person who can cross between the worlds, and consequently her only chance of rescuing Varen.
Throughout this whole book I just felt terrible for Isobel. She is just being eaten up inside by guilt at having left Varen. Her parents don't understand her, her old friends think she's a freak, and even her new friend temporarily abandons her when she realized just how dangerous of a quest Isobel is on. Because good old Bess is way more than a scary specter, she is the demoness Lilith and she has Varen in her thrall.
While this essentially was a filler novel, it didn't read like one. I devoured this book so fast, and even though not terribly much happened, Kelly made getting from point A to point B very intriguing. There wasn't a dull moment in the book. Everything that happened just drove to make this creepy Poe filled world all the more terrifying. The only thing I have a complaint on is that Isobel literally spent the whole entire novel trying to get back into the dream world. And she was in the dream world for maybe 30 pages? If that? And Varen was only in about 5 of them. Like real face to face Varen time (including the epilogue). That kind of just irked me, but I can't even complain because the novel was so well paced it didn't even detract away from the story.
I have to say though that those last few pages, I was freaking the hell out. I about threw the book I was that agitated by how it ended. I was in a state of utter disbelief. I knew things weren't going to be peachy keen because no way could Varen be rescued that easily, but dear lord I never saw that coming. And the epilogue! I literally felt my heart crack in two. The pure utter despair. Just curse you Kelly Creagh. My heart is in tiny little pieces because of that damn two page epilogue.
To say waiting for the third book is going to be pure torture is the biggest understatement of the year. :/ But I still love it. Apparently I'm just a glutton for punishment, because I know the third one is going to be just as equally brilliant and just as heart wrenching as the first two.