Author: Paula Weston
Series: The Rephaim #1
Summary (from Goodreads)
t’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?
I picked this up fully expecting a light, cheesy sort of paranormal read. More romance, less substance. Like every other book about angels I’ve ever read. But after the thorough disappointment of Halo and my lukewarm feelings towards the Unearthly series by Cynthia Hand, Shadows was a pleasant surprise. A really pleasant surprise.
Oh don’t get me wrong, there’s romance-a-plenty. And Rafa makes for a very attractive lead character – equal parts dashing and arrogant, he’s like Damon Salvatore with angel powers instead of pointy teeth. And everyone who ever met me ever knows I am a sucker for the bad boy in literature and film. Rafa was right up my street. It’s just that there’s also plenty of plot. Plot of the ‘STUFF ACTUALLY HAPPENS’ variety, rather than ‘oh god, what should I wear to prom??’
Gaby’s gradual discovery of the lie that is her life is as disorienting for the reader as it must have been for her (were she a real person, I know, shut up) reminding me a lot of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer at times, only less creepy. There was always doubt as to who had her best interests at heart, and though you were totally rooting for Rafa, there were moments when you questioned whether it wouldn’t be better for her to go with the other side, keeping you guessing as to what would happen next right to the last.
And on the subject of talking about characters as if they’re real people – personally I think it’s a sign of immersion in the world of the book. A good thing.
I think it was an episode of Zero Punctuation that said you know you’re fully immersed in a game when in real life you start imagining you have a sneak counter above your head when you stand behind lampposts (incidentally, I totally do that when I’ve been playing certain games for too long) and I think the same applies to books. If the characters become your mates, you’re onto a winner.
And for me, in the most roundabout review ever written (I promise I haven’t had alcohol), Shadows was absolutely a winner.