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Review: Harsh Gods by Michelle Belanger (Shadowside #2)

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Harsh Gods by Michelle Belanger // VBC ReviewHarsh Gods (Shadowside #2)
Michelle Belanger
Published: Aug. 30, 2016 (Titan Books)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review  

Reviewed by: Jenn

Rating (out of 5): 4.5 stars

Note: While this review will be spoiler free, it may reference previous books in the series.

Harsh Gods is the second book in the Shadowside Trilogy. I haven’t read the first book yet, so I jumped into the story without knowing some of the backstory, but that didn’t seem to matter because Michelle Belanger does a good job at leaving little breadcrumbs trails of everything you need to know in order to understand the story.

Zack Westland doesn’t remember a whole lot in his life at this point, but what he doesn’t remember still comes back to haunt him. Zack, still reeling from the events of book one, has sequestered himself away from anyone and everyone, but when a stranger knocks on his door, and requests him join him at an exorcism, Zack’s life is tossed upside down. The girl he’s asked to help, Halley, holds a secret that could unlock a big bad evil. An evil that Zack needs to stop.

While trying to save Halley, Zack’s mind starts to open up and the secrets of his past begin to come back to him: some he wished would have remained buried, some that help him survive, and some that he needs to help Halley. With the help of a woman named Lil and Father Frank, Zack’s journey to save a girl turns into a journey to save everyone from the Blood Wars.

What I loved about Harsh Gods: the characters. Belanger does an amazing job of giving us larger than life characters. They are angels, but don’t act like it. Lil is by far my favorite in the story. She is tough as nails, but sexy and alluring. Zack is a wonderful main character, but I think that Lil really steals the story whenever she is on the page. The interactions between Lil and Zack and Zack and Father Frank are a joy to read, and I became emotionally involved with almost everyone in the story.

My second favorite part was the world building. Belanger does a great job of building a world that we are familiar with, but is full of hidden secrets. The reader is discovering things when Zack does, so you feel like you are part of the mystery that is unfolding.

My only tiny negative about Harsh Gods is I thought it could have been a bit shorter. There were some areas I found myself skimming through, too much information that I didn’t feel that we needed to understand the story.

Harsh Gods is not a book I would have picked up off the shelf, but I am glad I had the opportunity to read it and will be reading book one some day soon, and looking forward to book three when it comes out.

Sexual content: none

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