The Last Shadow by Michael Hardy

Like many books that I read, I went into The Last Shadow without knowing anything about it. Literally nothing – I’d never even heard of it before, but the author requested that I review it for a free copy, and who am I to turn down a free book? As it turns out, I was very fortunate to be offered it, as it was an enjoyable novel which I’d never have read otherwise.

The story primarily revolves around two girls: Nadia and Kris, who both so happen to find themselves at the abandoned Bright Pool Amusement Park. As I’m sure you can tell, this is a horror novel, because what other genre ever uses an abandoned amusement park as a setting? Soon they encounter Alfredo the Ringmaster, an evil entity lurking in the shadows and find themselves coming up against all kind of evil creatures.

It’s a very vivid story, which paints a very colourful picture in your mind. I could quite easily imagine this as a horror movie that came out in the 80s. It’s got just the right mixture of extreme gore and violence, mixed together with just a bit of self-aware humour that can joke about how over the top some of the things which happen are. Sometimes it feels quite fun and campy, but that is then contrasted against the fact that the things which are happening to the characters are genuinely very harrowing.

As the story goes on, you also get to find out how about the lives which lead Kris and Nadia to this point and I liked that the complete backstory had been fully planned out for each character as it’s not something that always happens in this kind of genre. The only thing that’s a bit of a shame is that the end of the novel doesn’t really feel like the end of the story: it’s like its the end of a first episode in a TV series about the adventures of Nadia and Kris – but, then, if the author is planning a series of novels, then that may well have been intentional.

Aside from that, I did think that there was occasionally a sentence or two which sounded a bit strange. It wasn’t hugely problematic, but it kind of interrupted the flow of the story and would take me out of things from time to time. I’m not a literary snob, so it didn’t really bother me a huge amount, but I can imagine it being slightly more annoying for some people.

Overall though, this was a fun read. The whole book played out like a movie in my head, which isn’t something I can say of every book I’ve read and I found myself really enjoying the dialogue between the two main characters as it was often quite snarky or jokey, which made them both quite endearing. I also never would have guessed one of the twists which is revealed towards the end of the book, so that was a nice surprise. If that sounds like something up your street, I definitely think it’s worth a try. Fans of horror movies and vampire fiction will probably get a lot out of this.

Score: 8/10

Buy it here.

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