Review: Shantallow by C.K. Kelly Martin

The short blurb bit: Shantallow is a novel about a young man named, Misha. He lives under the weight of repetitive nightmares and a father who wasn’t good for him. But in his dreams there is a beautiful girl.. and then, he meets her in real life. Tanvi, cocky and beautiful and all the things that Misha wants in a girl – says she will go out with him and very quickly they become a couple.

Things become unmanageable when Misha can’t control his temper… or his feelings … and he definitely can’t control Tanvi. As their relationship becomes dark and vindictive, they become victims of a kidnapping. But the place the kidnappers take them to has a dark secret all of its own.

The descriptive bit: If you like poetic prose, and a mystery then this will be a good title for you. The relationship between Misha and Tanvi is a destructive one and it runs its course throughout the story. Running parallel to the love story is a story about a haunting. Misha and Tanvi are drawn into the supernatural part of the story through no will of their own but they will have to work together to survive.

My thoughts bit: I really enjoyed the artwork that is in the book, it made this book much eerier. Overall, the story is very dark. The relationship between Tanvi and Misha is borderline-abusive, and certainly toxic after a certain point. It was a little difficult to read about Misha’s desperation when it came to Tanvi… but then I don’t think of that as a criticism. If a book makes me feel something … then I think it is very well written.

The unraveling of the main relationship happens quickly and escalates to a dangerous point before they manage to separate. It’s sad and more than a bit heart-breaking, but I think it’s also very realistic. Sometimes, the things that we feel the most strongly can cause us to panic when we think we are losing them.

Martin’s writing is very descriptive and I found myself reading some of the passages more than once because they were so beautiful. Even the spooky sections of the book … and there are a lot … are riveting because of the way they are written.

The story flows beautifully. Nightmares that Misha has been living with begin to come to life and he has to unravel the mystery in order to fight for his life. I won’t give away the plot of the story because I don’t want to ruin it but this isn’t the kind of book you should read if you want to have a HEA.

The warnings bit: mentions substance abuse, abusive relationship, bullying (including posting nude photos without permission), descriptions of dead bodies, violence.



I received an ARC of this book by C. K. Kelly Martin from Cormorant Books via CataList in exchange for an unbiased review.

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