Although this novella is set before Obsidian in the Lux series time line I would actually recommend reading Obsidian first. The way Shadows has been written assumes that you have some familiarity with the world that Jennifer L. Armentrout has created so although you could read it as a prequel I think you'd understand more if you read it as the second book. It is definitely worth reading though and Obsidian fans will really enjoy getting to know the third Black triplet Dawson.
I have to say right now that I love Dawson, he is just so sweet and in a lot of ways the complete opposite of Daemon. Where Daemon is the one with the snarky attitude and bad temper Dawson is much more laid back and friendly. He is more open about his feelings and when he falls for Bethany he falls hard. But just because he is the easy going brother doesn't make him any less sexy, he is just as hot as Daemon and he'll manage to raise your temperature while you're reading! Bethany is perfect for him, she is sweet and quite innocent and can be very shy with strangers but when she opens up to someone she doesn't hold anything back. She isn't as quick to stand up for herself as Katy but she will bite back if she is pushed hard enough - especially in defence of those she cares about - and I liked the way she wanted to stand up for Dawson when his family were hassling him about their relationship.
What I loved most was the way Dawson and Bethany's relationship develops. It starts out as pure lust (don't most relationships?) but they take time to get to know each other and you get to see them build a real connection. Their story reminded me a lot of my first serious relationship and brought back those feelings of first love when you couldn't spend enough time just talking and neither of you wanted to put the phone down first. Shadows definitely focuses more on the relationship and could almost be a contemporary romance if it weren't for the whole fact that Dawson is an alien. Well no boy is perfect right?
Now as much as I love Dawson I have to admit that I'm the kind of girl who is always drawn to the fictional bad boys so he didn't quite manage to take Daemon's place in my affections - it was a close race though. It's funny because Dawson is much more like the kind of guys I end up in real life but when it comes to books it's always the ones like Daemon that I route for. In Shadows we get to see yet another side to Daemon and it helps to explain why he acts the way he does in Obsidian. No it doesn't excuse him for being a jerk but it does make it much easier to understand his reasoning and forgive him for his attitude.
Of course we also get to find out a bit more about the Luxen and the way that the elders and the DOD have so much say over how they live their lives. It must be so hard for Dawson, Daemon and Dee to have their whole lives mapped out for them and no choice about things like where they can go to college, what jobs they can do or who they get to marry. If you take my advice and read Obsidian first then you'll have a good idea about how Shadows is going to end, I'm not going to say much in case anyone reading this review is completely new to the series but be prepared for an emotional finish! I do have a theory about what happened though and really hope I'm proved right when Onyx is released in August. Jennifer L. Armentrout certainly packs a lot into this novella and it definitely shouldn't be missed by fans of the series.