Book Review: Shadows of Humanity (The Immortal Coil Book 2) by J. Armand

Dorian is back in New York after two years of training, but something strange is going on yet again---a mysterious being is killing all the vampires in the city. Then Dorian runs into William, a member of a brotherhood that hunts supernaturals, and William befriends Dorian, believing him to be the one who did all the vampire killing. Dorian goes with him to England thinking he might be able to make William see not all supernaturals are bad and to find a place where he fits in. But the mysterious being is still following, innocents are dying, Noah is being Noah, and Dorian's two years of peace are over as he gets caught up in chaos.

Book Review: Shadows of Humanity (The Immortal Coil Book 2) by J. Armand | reading, books, book reviews, fantasy, urban fantasy, lgbt, vampires, telepaths
Title: Shadows of Humanity
Book Number: Book 2
Pages: 394
My Rating: 4 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon


*I received an ecopy of this book from the author. This has not influenced my review.*

Much like the first book in the series, this one gripped me and sucked me in, and I blew through it a lot faster than I had been getting through other books at the time.

Also like the first book, this one was action-packed and filled with supernaturals and crazy fight scenes galore, but it still had a great balance with the character development.

And speaking of the characters… Noah was pretty much a major asshole again, as cocky and rude as ever, but you just can’t stay mad at anyone who has suffered (and who still suffers) as much as he has. And then he goes and does something like bring Dorian pizza and clothes and actually seem worried that Dorian might still be mad at him for something he did, and *sigh* Yeah, you just can’t bring yourself to hate the guy. At least I couldn’t. But I did think he deserved it when neither Dorian nor Vance was willing to help him while he was weak. Ok, fine, I still felt bad, but he needed to be taken down a peg, and that’s what he got for treating them the way he did. Honestly though, these books wouldn’t be the same without him. (And especially after reading later books in the series, I really do love his character.)

Then there was the new character, Gianluca. I’d been wondering who that character on the cover of Book 3 was because I can never resist black hair and green eyes 😉 But anyway, he was the complete opposite of Noah—whereas Noah was closed-off and secretive (as per usual), Gianluca was kind and open and genuine. Also, I feel like it can’t be easy to write a character whose second language is English and who still hasn’t perfectly mastered it, but his dialogue actually sounded genuine. And the slightly broken English somehow made it easier for me to imagine his Italian accent. (Ok it probably came out more Spanish than Italian in my head, but that’s not the author’s fault, haha.) Oh, and Gianluca’s powers involving shadows and darkness were kind of awesome.

There was also Dorian himself, of course. He once again made for a good protagonist. He was naive at times but compassionate, likeable, and growing as a person. And his shyness was realistic rather than exaggerated.

One thing this book did particularly well though, I think, was portray what it’s like to be judged for being in a same-sex relationship. It’s not like I didn’t know these problems existed, but there’s a difference between knowing and experiencing. And that’s one of the things I love about books, getting to vicariously experience things you otherwise wouldn’t. Being in Dorian’s head any time his love interest (technically there was no love, just feelings, but you get what I mean) tried to be affectionate in public, even just to hold his hand or put his arm around Dorian’s shoulder, seeing the way people stared and whispered, feeling Dorian’s anxiety… Dorian already had a lot of anxiety in general, so I think maybe it wasn’t quite as extreme or negative a reaction from everyone as he perceived it, but, well, 1) it’s good writing to take the POV character’s perception of things into account, and 2) that doesn’t even matter because that’s not the point. The point is that there are some people out there who react negatively, so I could understand why it made Dorian feel that way, and since worrying about being judged for holding someone’s hand is not something I’ve ever had to deal with, it was enlightening to better understand some of the prejudice other people experience for things I take for granted.

I only had a couple slight issues with the book. Well, I’m not even sure if it was a flaw or simply a personal preference thing, but I kind of wanted Dorian to not jump from place to place and character to character quite so much. Honestly I think I just liked some of the characters so much that I got anxious anytime Dorian left one to go do something else since I didn’t know when we’d see that character again. I also didn’t quite understand why Dorian went with William since that just seemed like a bad idea to me. But the plot still made sense and had a goal and all that though, so, again, these were small issues.

So overall this was another great, gripping book in the series with lots of actions and characters I cared about, and, well, at the time that I’m posting this, I’ve already finished the next two books (which got even better), so clearly I enjoyed it!

*I’ve read this book multiple times. This review was written after my 1st read.*

*If you’re interested in learning more about the series, you can find an interview with the author here!*

Reread Ratings:
4 Stars (1st Read – 2016)
4 Stars (2nd Read – 2019)


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  1. Dragonfly

    Well.. I hear you. I couldn’t hate anyone accompanied by pizza. Pizza makes anyone instantly unhateable.

    Ohhh…. a weakness for dark, green-eyed latin lovers, my little padawan has, huh? LOL yup I understand that too, because my hair is dark, I have THE MOST adorable accent and I’m well. irresistible 🙂 [lacking in the green eye department though]

    I would have to imagine Gianluca’s accent Italian though, since I’m immune to the Spanish one. WHICH IS TOTALLY CORRECT. What is wrong with your accent reading K?? Gianluca HAS to be totally Italian with that name. SMH!

    I DID NOT know D’ Orian [that’s the correct spelling btw], our elf on the shelf, was around doing who knows what with Vampires. That’s naughty. Coal for him next year. At least that explains why jumps from place to place and character to character. HE IS AN ELF.

    Still not ready to read vampires sparkling or not, but I’m glad you are enjoying this series this much, especially learning about M/M relationships struggles.

    And please note that ALL this was commented with THE MOST adorable Spanish accent 🙂 [not Italian!]

    1. Kristen Burns

      Hahaha yes, it is significantly harder to hate people when they bring pizza.

      Darn it, Daniela, I was about to propose to you and then you had to go and ruin it by not having green eyes 😉 Actually I’m pretty immune to Spanish accents too. And it turns out, according to the author, his accent is supposed to be a mix of Spanish and Italian, so HA. I had it right 😛

      Your elf on the shelf has been to some very interesting things in this series! Haha.

      Too bad, I totally imagined your whole comment with an Italian accent, just for calling vampires sparkly 😉

  2. Maureen Beatrice

    I haven’t heard about this series before. Sounds like an interesting one. I haven’t been enjoying fantasy novels as much as I did before. But maybe I should check out this series.
    Great review! 😉

  3. verushka

    Action plus great character development sounds like this author has found a great balance in their writing! I like the cover — the character has a delicious smirk lol! It’s not GianLuca is it?

    1. Kristen Burns

      These books really do have a great balance! And no, that would be the lovable asshole Noah on the cover 😛 Gianluca is in the cover of the next book!

  4. Wattle

    I had to go and look at the cover of the next book, and my immediate thought was ‘well, hello’ haha I am shallow. I’ve not picked up this series (I was on the fence about it) but I maaaay have to add it to the list.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Hehe it’s all good because Gianluca (the guy on the next book) is my favorite looks-wise too 😉 I love the series though, so I say you should add it to the list! 😛

  5. Lola

    I was looking forward to your review of this one and the later books as you seem to enjoy this series so much. Isn’t it great when a series sucks you in like that? I recently started a new series where that happened. Noah sounds like an interesting character who has a soft side even though he doesn’t treat others around him always good.

    And that’s neat the author got the broken language right. I once had a book were someone had learned english as a second language and it was written in such a way I could actually envision how the accent sounded. And I like it hen a book can give someone else their perspective so well that you can actually imagine what’s it like to be that character or be like that character. It sure can give you a better understanding of some topics if you can read about them like that. Great review and it sounds like this is one of those series that gets even better when it progresses.

    1. Kristen Burns

      My reviews start getting more fangirl-y as the series goes on lol. It really is great when a series sucks you in! Noah is such an interesting character. He started out so cocky and crazy but did turn out to have a softer side.

      Yeah, the broken English was really helpful with the accent. And I also love that aspect of books, getting to really understand different perspectives. Some books do it better than others though, so I love when that happens too. Thanks!

  6. Prabhleen

    Great review Kristen! I usually read High Fantasy but will definitely check this out! The thing that is hilarious is that if I read this book, I will no doubt imagine William as Will from The Infernal Devices, Noah as Noah from The Raven Cycle and Dorian as Dorian from Throne of Glass. LOL. Do you also do this? I don’t think I am the only one… plus not a big fan of the cover.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! I haven’t read any of those series you mentioned, so I didn’t even know they all had names of other characters lol. I have to disagree about the cover though because the covers for this series are some of my favorites! They’ll help you imagine the characters differently 😉

  7. Bookworm Brandee

    Gosh Kristen, you’re really getting me curious about this series. And I was hoping I’d already one-clicked book #1 but it’s only on my wish list so I’ll have to wait before I can get started on this. (unless I can find it in my library) The characters sound so well done I’m really eager to meet them all. And I agree with you about experiencing things via books and that Armand so deftly captures the feelings Dorian has over the fear of and actually being judged for his sexuality is appealing.
    I’m happy you’re continuing to enjoy this series. 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m going to have a giveaway for the first book soon, so you could always try to win a copy 😉 I do love these characters! And yeah, it wasn’t like I was told he had that fear and anxiety, it was like I actually felt it through him. Definitely good writing when an author can do that!

  8. AngelErin

    I’m glad you liked this one so much despite a few flaws. That’s great that you’ve already devoured the next ones in the series too. It must be good then!! Great review as always!!