Shadowspell - Jenna Black “I'm not the type to just sit back and let other people take care of my problems for me”
Dana Hathaway tries her best to make the most out of her “house arrest” state in Avalon as she can. But when the Erlking and the Huntsmen arrive in Avalon, it gets even more difficult for Dana to have a normal life. Is the Erlking out to kill her, at the behest of the Faerie Queens who want her head? Or is there something more?

I Liked:
Before I started this book, I was reaching urban fantasy burn-out. The last two (three?) books young adult urban fantasies (City of Bones, Entice, and Captivate) highly underwhelmed me. But I had liked Glimmerglass and seeing how I bought the sequel, I figured I might want to get it read now before I forgot too much of what happened.
You know that saying about how a sequel is worse than the original? So not happening here. This book is easily 10 times better than Glimmerglass—which is a huge compliment, as Glimmerglass wasn't a horrible book at all!
Our main character, Dana, is awesome. She remains a teenager, vulnerable and young, and yet I see more and more how mature she is, particularly with being raised by an alcoholic mother. She bites her tongue even when she wants to backtalk her parents (sure, she still does sometimes), she thinks about consequences of her actions (she works diligently to keep her feelings with Ethan in check, knowing what kind of a person he is), and she doesn't dump responsibility into someone else's hands. Sure, some of her choices are bad, but they also make sense to her from her point of view and make her grow and change.
Keane is a MUCH better character this time around. I definitely liked him more this time around and appreciated how he got more screen time to do things other than end up in “suggestive” lockholds with Dana. The antagonism between him and Ethan is interesting and palpable, and I even like the possibility of a Keane/Kimber relationship (have to love Dana for being so practical and thinking about her friend when considering a relationship with Keane). I also admit, I liked how Finn totally whooped his @ss, showing us that even the bad boy gets brought down a notch.
Ethan is awesome too. Still very much a Ladies' Fae (har har), he makes a choice that puts him in a sticky situation. It's so funny, I hate how he's a womanizer, and yet, you can see glints of a good Fae/man in there.
Kimber is awesome. I love how Dana actually has a female friend and not a female antagonist so they can bicker at each other over the same guy or whatever.
An unexpected new favorite is the Erlking. I was afraid, at first, he would be terribly cliched, but he wasn't! He is “bad”, but not really. He more or less is like Boba Fett: he makes his own rules and looks out for himself...or does he? I really liked the chemistry between him and Dana (yeah, it's a little gross as she is 16 and he is thousands of years old, but I'm weird), and I can't wait to see how that is wrapped up.
As I talked about characters, I kinda weaved in a bit about the story as well, but as it was really intelligent and unique, I want to spend a bit more time on it. In the beginning, there was a lot of “teen drama”, but for some reason, I didn't hate it. I didn't hate Dana struggling with her dad to go to Kimber's birthday party or the other fairly mundane things that happen in this book. I felt that it was well-written and nicely woven into the world of Avalon. Likewise, I was also afraid when Ethan was captured that Jenna Black would do a Carrie Jones and have Ethan gone for almost two books. I won't spoil anything, but I will say that Black refuses to do that in the slightest.
Basically, Ethan is caught and Dana has to make a sacrifice to return him...but is her “sacrifice” everything she thinks it is? This entire plot forces a lot of characters to change or to face changes. It's also a whole lot darker and more adult than most urban fantasy on the scene (“Oh, should I pick Boy #1, whom everyone can see I'll be with at the end, or Boy #2, who was thrown in at the last minute to make things more of a challenge?”). Boy, I can't tell you how glad I was to see this wasn't yet another Romantic Triangle Plot Tumor.
Lastly, the writing was good. After reading unwieldy prose, it was nice to read these pages where the writing literally falls into the background—exactly where the prose should be, so that readers can focus on the story that the author is writing.

I Didn't Like:
I really don't have much to put here, but I will say one thing: this is a whole lot darker and more adult than Glimmerglass. Dana gets involved in a passionate kiss with an older man, a makeout session with Ethan, and a near-rape.

Dialogue/Sexual Situations/Violence:
Two f-bombs, a few da**, he**, and sh**.
Pretty intense for young adult (though considering Jenna Black got her start in adult paranormal romance...). Dana and Ethan make out, going quite far (some of the terminology I've seen used in adult romances). Also, Dana shares a very passionate kiss with a much older Fae—this relationship may squick a lot of people out. Notes to bulging pants, lots of talk of virginity and sex, and a scene of almost rape.
The end gets quite violent with the gruesome (but mostly off-screen) deaths of 2+ characters.

Overall:
Stunningly awesome! I am a painfully slow reader, so when I say I finished this book in a whopping two days, it's impressive. The story is interesting and unique, the characters jump out of the pages, and pace is quick and entertaining. For adults and older teens, I highly recommend.
However, for the younger set, I would recommend to pass. This is a great book, don't get me wrong, but I don't think it's appropriate for a tween to read so much about bulging pants and a near-rape.