Sometimes our darker half destroys us. Other times, it makes us whole.
Following Only Human is Shadow of a Human, Book 2 in The Human Cycle series by Puerto Rican author, J.D. Estrada. The supernatural, philosophical, and gritty urban fantasy ushers us back into its world with one of its many heroes, Nathaniel Runnels. Transformed (quite literally) from saving the world, he’s coming undone, dependent on an ethereal substance known as egnalem. This ochre dust has a connection between worlds, as does his vampire friend, Daniel. Going through his very own hell (of sorts), Daniel struggles to alter the future while sleuthing for the reason for the egnalem’s wicked refinement into gEl, a narcotic like no other. Their separate paths intertwine as a new and yet familiar threat comes to wreak havoc on the planet again.
Shadow of a Human is a sequel that manages to be quite a bit different from its predecessor while still striking the same tonal chords, albeit with more of a grindhouse feel. It’s darker and more grounded than Book 1, but still keeps its mystical and dreamlike qualities. Mix that in with more Easter Eggs spanning across anything from pop culture to mythology, and this is a fun, wild ride!
Book 2 shows J.D. Estrada’s evolution as a writer. The writing is smoother and page-turning while treating its audience with intelligence. That said, at times I did feel like I was on a chaotic quest I couldn’t occasionally keep up with. However, while re-reading it, I found all the pieces of the puzzle fit together just right. Aside from that, the book does have the rare punctuation typo and it occasionally becomes confusing when there’s a quotation mark when no one is actually speaking. Again, it’s rare so it won’t be too disruptive.
Check out this series if you’re a fan of supernatural urban fantasies! You might even embrace your own darkness doing so.
Thanks and take care, all!