3rd January 2013
Love. Nightmares. Angels. War. A fast-paced, compelling debut novel from a fresh new voice in YA.
It's been 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?
Shadows is one of the first Angel books I've read in a very long time and genuinely enjoyed (not that I didn't enjoy books such as Hush, Hush and Fallen at the time of reading, but retrospectively did not like at all). It's also the second Aussie YA book I've read and is slowly proving the point that Australian's write really good books. I think it's probably the closing thing I've read to a New Adult* book (and probably one of the few instances in which I will actually read NA - nothing personal against it, I'm just not into it as a genre [by which I mean I'm just not interested in reading about people having sex a lot, not that I don't think it's important to have young people know about sex or whatever, I just personally don't want to read it. I think it's boring.]). So yes. Shadows was really good.
It took me a little while to warm up to Gaby, but I could understand her reactions even when I didn't like them that much, if you know what I mean. I liked that she still wanted to be herself when all of the other Rephaim wanted her to be someone else, someone who she didn't even know she had the strength or power to be. I actually really liked the memory loss thing, too, and everything about Jude. I thought that it gave an interesting perspective to the story and struck a nice balance between the girl being the supernatural person as well as not really knowing anything about it (and yes, I know that there are a lot of Rephaim besides Gaby in the book, but still.)
I actually quite liked Rafa too, which surprised me. Usually I don't really care about super horny, super attractive, super douchey Bad Boys, but Rafe was alright. Actually, I liked most of the Rephaim, apart from maybe Daniel and his gang who for some reason thought it would be a great idea to torture Gaby to try and jog her memory. Yeah. It gets worse when you get some more background info about Daniel and Gaby, but I'm going to just spoil *everything* for you here (though let's face it, I'm pretty liberal with information. I'd make a terrible spy)
I think the main reason that I found the Rephaim so much more interesting than proper Angels is that, despite their immortality, they're still really human. They have human desires and needs and personalites, but they just have longer lives and powers and stuff. I guess that sounds a bit stupid, because most characters tend to have a bit of humanity about them otherwise they're not that likeable (as main characters, not as villians.) But what I mean is that it felt like there was a lot of depth to these people and a lot of pain because they're half human and because they're striving so hard to prove themselves to some higher power that they're not like their fallen angel fathers.
I'm really looking forward to finding out more about demons and finding out what happened to Gaby and Jude (though I don't think that we'll find out much more about that until book three...). Also, I want to see how the tension between Rafa and Gaby works out because at the minute it's been the whole insta-lust thing, which I don't mind when it's recognised by the characters for what it is, which it is in this book. It's just that we still don't know whether Rafa can be trusted or if he even likes Gaby or what, so I want to see that side of it get resolved more.
Shadows was actually a really great, intriguing book about angels that puts a new spin on things, and which I think can appeal to people who only read paranormal YA and those who tend to stay far, far away from it.
*This was probably a bad comment to make on the same day that that NYT article came out about New Adult, but I'm going to stick by it because on the whole I'm not particularly interested in NA as a genre. That, and what I've said earlier in this review, will basically be the only things you'll see me say about NA as I don't really have much of an opinion further than that. Besides, I'm not part of the target audience anyway. *whistles innocently* *stays out of the NA shit-storm a-brewing*
**I don't think I expressed myself about NA that well. I don't think that it's all about sex or that, but all the NA titles I have seen/read about have been contemp romances that I'm frankly not fussed about. I'm not against the genre, and I'm not bothered about how it fares in the future. I hope it's successful! But I'm just indifferent to it, because I don't really care how a book is labelled. I'm attracted to books because of interesting content regardless of genre, but I know that it can be very useful for people who are of that age group and want something just for them. And that's all I'm going to say, because this doesn't really have anything to do with the book, and I don't want to draw people away from the actual point of this post here.