Published: 2nd July 2012 by Text Publishing
Format: Paperback, 352 pages
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal
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It’s almost a year since Gaby Winters was in the car crash that killed her twin brother, Jude. Her body has healed in the sunshine of Pandanus Beach, but her grief is raw and constant. It doesn’t help that every night in her dreams she kills demons and other hell-spawn.
And then Rafa comes to town. Not only does he look exactly like the guy who’s been appearing in Gaby’s dreams—he claims a history with her brother that makes no sense. Gaby is forced to accept that what she thought she knew about herself and her life is only a shadow of the truth—and that the truth is more likely to be found in the shadows of her nightmares.
Who is Rafa? Who are the Rephaim? And most importantly, who can she trust?
This book was recommended to me by Mandee at veganYAnerds, who said “It’s your kind of book”. She was absolutely correct. I loved everything about Shadows, from its setting (Australia) and wonderful world building in which the angel mythology makes sense, to the characters, who are all well-rounded and interesting, and the plot, which is gripping and a lot of fun to read. I ripped through this book and read it until 3 am! I especially enjoyed reading Australian YA fantasy since I am more used to reading Aussie contemporary stories.
Paula Weston brings all her otherworldly creatures to life vividly and I remember being pretty freaked out by the hellions and demons she describes. While there was nothing clichéd about her world it did have some familiar elements that ensured that I wasn’t completely lost the moment I was introduced to the paranormal aspect of the story. It’s no secret that I love angel books, but I usually find that the mythology is either built on shaky ground or convoluted and difficult to keep track of. In Shadows the mythology is simple, with the reader only having to really keep track of four different types of angels/demons, and the relationships between them are clearly explained and consistent. I love the idea of the Rephaim and can’t wait to learn more about their origins.
One of the main things I enjoyed about Shadows is that it follows slightly older characters (18 – 20), so everything about them is that much more mature. I loved Gaby for many reasons, primarily because she is not a helpless damsel that always has to wait for someone to rescue her, but neither is she instantaneously great at everything she tries with her new angelic buddies. She is a realistic character and deals with the changes in her life with fears and motivations that I empathised with easily. Although I didn’t agree with Gaby at times, in the end I understand she was placed in a desperate situation and made the best decisions she could. I also really enjoyed the romance aspect of the story. Gaby’s interactions with Rafa do not take over the compelling plot but augment it well, and again I found that her reactions were realistic. Rafa is an amazing character who starts off as the typical hot, mysterious and dangerous paranormal love interest but quickly develops into a conflicted and complicated character. I hope that he will continue to feature heavily in the series.
Many people may not have heard of Shadows, but I am glad it was recommended to me and believe that many of my readers will enjoy it immensely. It takes all that is wonderful about the YA genre and projects them into New Adult, and I urge you to go out and read it!