Book Diary: Shadow Unit 3

Shadow Unit 3 by Emma BullThis third installment of Shadow Unit contains  “Refining Fire” the Season 1 finale (either a long novella or a short novel, depending on how you want to consider it), written by Emmal Bull and Elizabeth Bear, together with a great number of vignettes. In it, one of the Unit’s members is captured by a gamma (the super-powered criminals the Shadow Unit is investigating) – quite a common maneuvre for crime show and fiction to raise the stakes and ratchet up tension, but I do not remember having it ever seen done quite this way before. Not only because it turns it out that there is a rather close connection between kidnapper and victim, but chiefly in the way that captivity is narrated – there is not even the faintest trace of glamourization here, and “Refining Fire” spares the reader none of the details that TV shows (and indeed, most novels) merely gloss over if they mention them at all. This is not for the faint of heart – there is not a lot of actual physical violence here, but an intense and very vivid depiction of what it means to be completely in the power of someone who has no moral restraints at all, which makes for a chilling and very uncomfortable read. It is not all bleakness though – the final vignettes show the reaction of all the team members to the finale’s events, and those are full with moments of touching friendship and heartwarming kindness. Shadow Unit is great stuff, and I’m greatly looking forward to reading Season 2.


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