Shoalman Immortal is the second installment of the “Shoalman Chronicles“, which is a trilogy written by authors Toni and Kira Decker. In my opinion you can read it as a standalone because according to the Acknowledgements at the end of the book, it was written before the first book Images Eternal, which I reviewed previously and that you should definitely check out. 🙂
This is a New Adult book with a stronger fantasy touch and paranormal elements that in the previous book are less prominent, because the couple of Book #1 is made of two Guardians, Lucien and Mandy, who came from Romani origins and are sworn to protect the main characters of this second volume, Kyrissa and Robert.
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As I said above, Shoalman Immortal tells the story of who I believe can be the true protagonist of this trilogy, Robert Shoalman and Kyrissa Spears. Robert is an artist who is immortal and is cursed to paint away his most hateful emotions to feed the demon Balen. The night Lucien’s band debuts, he officially meets Kyrissa, who is Mandy’s best friend and roommate. He is curious as why she has so much interest for his paintings hung in the club, since they evoke feelings he is ashamed he has painted.
Robert doesn’t know that Kyrissa is one of his fans and she’s trying to research everything he has ever done, so when he finds out she is also an art student and has a dormant gift who could help him destroy his curse, he wants to teach her how to paint properly to unlock it. While Kyrissa is being taught, she doesn’t only find new ways to express her feelings on canvas, she also makes the walls inside of her crumble piece by piece thanks to Robert, and she slowly does the same with him and they form a strong bond they never thought possible before.
Story: the story is something I never read about before now. In Book #1 we found out that Lucien and Mandy have Romani origins, and so does Robert. I always like books where a culture is explored more or less, and this book gave an interesting insight on this aspect. I hope we get more explanations about the ink tattoos because here we finally realized what the story was about, which in the previous book we only superficially learnt. Perhaps the two books could be an only one, or the #1 could give more insight that was generously provided in this one. Nonetheless, it was a page turner for me, kept me at the edge of my seat and I actually read until late at night with my eyes half-closed just because I couldn’t stop reading.
Characters: Kyrissa and Robert’s relationship for me outshaded a bit Lucien and Mandy’s. Don’t get me wrong, I also loved the other couple. Mandy was an interesting woman and Lucien as well because he was so cute since he’s still a teen and innocent in a way, but Kyrissa and Robert had different layers of deep that are usually what draws me in a story. Kyrissa is more introvert than Mandy. She has learnt to bottle up her emotions ever since her mother died and she was left alone and seemed a bit aloof. It seemed as if everything was OK despite things hurt her, but she always had a sort of ‘well, whatever, let’s move on’ attitude that made her seem more careless than her friend. At times I felt she wanted to go towards danger, especially when she met with Professor C. Robert amazed me as a character. He is 500 years old but he is trapped in the body of a 22 year old man forever, unable to feel any pain. He comes from another era, and I liked how treated Kyrissa with respect as if he was still in 1800. They looked very realistic and I could feel their instincts as their relationship grew chapter after chapter and there wasn’t a love at first sight type of relationship, they slowly grew to love and appreciate each other and demolish the walls around them.
Overall, I find this to be a nice story with a good writing and plot points and characters. There weren’t harsh decisions or shallow people, I felt everything was crafted nicely and fell into place well. I was glad to know more of the backstory hinted in the first book, keep up the good work!
RATING: 5/5 stars