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Radiant Shadows


Exiled - RaShelle Workman I wanted to love Exiled (I mean, look at that cover! Gorgeous doesn't do it justice!), but because of a slightly jerky plot and slightly underdeveloped characters, I did find that while I really enjoyed it, it was lacking in certain areas.The world-building was well-done. I had a very clear image of Kelari, what the alien race would have looked like, and the landscape that surrounded them. I loved the similarities to Earth, which made it easy to understand why Venus would have had an Earth Studies class in school. I wished we had spent more time on Kelair, and learned a bit more about Venus' family, but I supposed that it was the next book, Beguiled, will be for.Venus is an interesting character. I understood why she reacted so strongly to the human-like emotions that came with being on Earth, as she had been taught since an early age to think of the collective (as she was going to be Queen), rather than of the individual. Her physical reactions to both Zaren and Michael reminded me of my early teen years, and I loved how Zaren had to teach her the difference between a mere physical reaction and the development of deeper feelings. Her ignorance of human emotions became quite endearing, and I liked watching her stumble when caught using a Kelari term, or an out-dated Earth slang term (i.e., fabu). She did become a little confusing towards the end, where it seemed like Workman couldn't decide how sick the atmosphere was making her; in one moment she was on the verge of passing out, and the next she was running to Michael's side to make sure Zaren hadn't hurt him too badly.I wasn't a huge fan of Michael. He came across as a sleazy, shallow creep in several chapters, and even knowing about the type of abuse he suffered wasn't enough for me to reconcile those actions with his kinder and more loving ones. I didn't understand several of his reactions, and he was the reason I felt there were a couple of plot holes. I found him accusing Venus of his mother's death, even though they had spent the entire day together, was stretching things a little too thin and his eagerness to work with his deadbeat father was a little unrealistic. I also found the violence towards him a little unnecessary, as it didn't seem to move the plot forward. I think it was done so we would feel empathy for him, but as I didn't really connect with him, that was hard for me to do.The thing that bothered me the most though, was the alternating PoVs. Usually, I'm a big fan of multiple PoVs, but I found Exiled didn't clearly mark when we were switching narrators, and I found myself quite confused several times, having to go back and re-read sections to clarify who was narrating. Once I got used to the style used to differentiate the alternating PoVs, it did get easier. The other issue I had was that chapters seemed to begin and end at random. Pivotal dialogues were cut off in order to begin a new chapter, and I was left wondering why several times, as there was no break in their conversation, other then the new chapter heading. It was really quite odd.Criticisms aside, I really did enjoy Exiled. The story was original and fast-paced, and I found myself unable to put the book down. The aliens were fascinating, and I liked that they came across as a little strange, because they are aliens after all; it wouldn't have made sense to me if they reacted to everything just like a human would. I also loved that each chapter title was an 80s love song! I'm definitely going to be picking up the next instalment, Beguiled when it comes out next May!Originally published on my blog, Radiant Shadows