Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Shadows by Paula Weston

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?

Fast-paced and gripping, Shadows, the first book in the Rephaim series, is a standout paranormal romance for fans of Richelle Mead and Stephenie Meyer.

Oh, so did I mention my favourite read in June was a paranormal YA book?

For this contemporary girl, I am surprised by how much I fell in love with this book. (Although it shouldn't have surprised me, as author Paula Weston has the loveliest online presence. That, coupled with the publisher being Text Publishing*, had me diving into this book the day it turned up in my mailbox).

[*Note: Text Publishing are an Australian publisher which consistently publish brilliant and unique YA books, such as Leanne Hall's This is Shyness, Vicki Wakefield's All I Ever Wanted and Tim Pegler's Five Parts Dead (to name a few)]

Things I loved about this book:

1. The New Adult vibe. Gaby is out of school. Flatting, working. Her mates and other characters are older too, in their twenties. I truly love this vibe: it's is not teenagery, but more fresh and mature. It has broad appeal to teenagers, young adult and adults alike.

2. Best. Meet-cute. Scene. Ever.
You guys, I am a fan of the meet-cute and this one involved some sexy, steamy ZING right off the bat. Me = glued to the pages. Just thinking about the meet-cute scene now has me grinning. See point 10 for more on Rafa (absolute hotness that he is)

3. For a contemp loving girl, I need character connection, and this book delivered. Gaby's voice captured me in the first chapter. She's startlingly real. Her personality is shadowed by her grief, but in perfect balance - the grief does not overwhelm her, or make her woefully grief-y as a narrator (you know what I mean). Also, she is a librarian, nicely done. <3 

4. Grief-type YA novels can seem overbearing sometimes, not so here. I think because the setting was so fresh (Australian! Beach-y! Sleepy coastal town!) and Gaby was too genuine in her ache, she was not wallowing, lamenting or draining to read about. She has a freshness and vibrancy about her in spite of her circumstances.

5. The paranormal aspect. Oh, this is SO not the average YA paranormal scene. It's set older and while the summary may have common elements, the story is not common at all. I love how the story unlayered with little mysteries, shrouded in memories and dreams, making it less about a paranormal being and more about what on earth is going on. Definitely intriguing.

6. Foo Fighters. It will make you crave them.

7. Cool elements that I cannot say for spoilers. One thing that a paranormal novel has going for it above contemporary reads, is the way authors can get creative with world-building. In particular, I loved one element that spiced things up. There are some fantastic action scenes, kick-arse mixed up with flailing and defeat. There's action and gore, genuine danger and real fear. As for the actual paranormal world, it has enough depth for you to see the research (intricate and layered world-building) but does not swamp the reader. Thanks for that :)

8. Intriguing characters. I LOVED THIS. No one is straight up, face value or playing a part. There are shades of grey all over the place and I think this is what made the characters seem real.

9. The novel was fun (always important ;)). Addictive and intelligent. Not dumbed down for readers. It's paced beautifully. It masterfully walked a fine line of mixing up internal conflict with external, past and present, while always moving the story forward.

10. Rafa. Mid-twenties. My gosh, he is complex, sexy, dangerous, genuine and non-clichéd. He is hard to read, enigmatic, gorgeous, and I cannot wait to get to know him more in the sequels. He's antagonistic and gruff and the dynamic between him and Gaby is brilliantly done - more understated than overbearing, which makes for a more suspenseful and genuine read.

11. The plot. I won't say much. It's not like I expected and it won't be what you are expecting, no matter what that expectation is. I think a lot of elements gave Shadows a unique vibe: the setting (Australian), the characters (older), the amnesia and mystery elements, all the shades of grey, the angel lore feels ancient and fresh.

12. So, Shadows does not fall into the genre of funny LOL's. But there were some one-liners and dashes of humour that will break out the grin, perfect tension relief.

13. It's a series, but in a non-cliffhanger-y way. It wraps up its own story, leaving readers satisfied, but ready for more of the world. Bring on Book Two!

I don't know why I am chatting about this book in a list, it just came out that way.

Most of all, I hope you can see I loved this book. I read it in one day, sneaking back to my bedroom any chance I could. Gaby's voice hooked me from the first chapter and stayed with me after the last page. I so endorse Claudia Gray's blurb: Scary, sexy and suspenseful.

This book should be right at the top of your wishlists*.

Shadows is out in Australia now

Read the first three chapters
Shadows @ Text Publishing, with links to buy for kindle, etc

Bonus: see how many times I use fresh, vibrant (or variations of) in this review. Argh, sometimes tit just happens ;)

* Definitely hoping for an international release. It deserves it.

Thanks to Paula Weston and Text Publishing for my review copy :)


  1. Love the review Nomes! You guys always get the most amazing books/authors over there! I hadn't even heard of this book before your review but I'm adding it to my tbr straight away! Thanks for bringing it to my attention! :)

  2. Wonderful review Nomes! I haven't heard of this book before but I definitely want to check it out now! It sounds interesting, unique, and like something I'd love to read! :D

    Ivy Book Bindings

  3. Great review, hun!

    It's going to be published by Tundra Books in the USA!

  4. Thats a lot of reasons to like this book!
    it sounds pretty good, even though it's paranormal.

  5. This sounds brilliant! I hadn't heard much about this or read many reviews for it but I am definitley sold after reading your gorgeous list-y review! :)

  6. Omg you always know exactly how to sell books to me. AAH seriously!
    *follows links furiously for a buy link*

  7. Oh, this review! Oh, GIRL. I'm so glad Vegan YA Nerds posted that it's going to be out in the US because I was like "Gimme! Gimme! In my hands, please!" I straight up clapped my hands together like a silly child, face lit up into a grin, as I read this review. Putting it on my TBR on Goodreads so I don't forget. =)

  8. Okay, okay, you've managed to convince me to read this Aussie YA novel! Not that there's anything new with that. :P I always get Aussie recs from you. So glad Capillya mentioned that it's going to be released in the US so I don't have to worry about getting a copy.

  9. Hmm...So I was immediately turned off in the blurb at the mention of paranormal romance for fans of Stephenie Meyer, and yet, I'm going to trust you here and throw it on the TBR (quite nervously, but hopeful).


Thanks for the commenty love :)