Shadows: review


Title: Shadows (The Rephaim #1)
Author: Paula Weston
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Release Date: 
September 10, 2013
Age Group: YA
Source: Tundra Books

Shadows by Paula Weston is the first installment in her Rephaim series. This Aussie YA title has had a lot of buzz  since its release a year ago, and at long last it’s arrived here in North America. It’s certain that most fans of readers of paranormal romance who try out this series will clawing for the next. 

Shadows is based on angel lore. So yes, you’ve read the same story, the same myth, the same names, only, as in all other angel books, there are little tweaks here and there to differentiate it from the crop. But, as I’ve always said, whatever the material, if the writing is good then the book is good. 

It’s only been a year since the death of her twin brother, Jude, and Gaby has run away in an attempt of moving on, patching up the cracks her grief has left at its wake. But there is a secret to her. She doesn’t remember much about the crash and what little memory she has of her life before is all in a haze. And then Rafa and a whole host of characters turn up asking why isn’t she dead? Piece by piece, characters offer Gaby truths about her past, and piece by piece, we readers are taken aback by the genuinely surprising twists Weston has set up. 

The plot starts off a bit shaky because Gaby’s condition and whereabouts are so obscure it seems almost a let down. But then Rafa materializes right out of her dream and the real mystery begins. The plot heats up quickly and does not stop until the final chapter. There is proper construction of secrets and questions, of confusion and suspicion. And as we get more and more answers, this world of war between fallen angels and demons manifests into a woven tapestry of lust, sin, and redemption

As for the characters, there are three that stand high above the rest. Gaby and Rafa. Their exchanges are quick and sharp, funny and provoking. Rafa has the advantage of knowing more things about Gaby than she’s comfortable with but oh she sizes him up good and gives it right back to him! He’s also sexy and cocky, a lover and a fighter. And he smells of sandalwood — now, I love sandalwood, so this is like a dream come true. Gaby on the other hand is lost and vulnerable in so many ways but she manages to find ground when she needs to be strong. She’s feisty and thinks for herself. 

All in all, I can see real potential down the line for these two. Perhaps the romance started off a little too soon and there were a little too many corners of the mouth “turning up” (which is code for smiling but not smiling, it seems) but doubt not that I was just as giddy by the end as anyone. 

And then there’s Jason. He is introduced as a side character to a secondary character, no more than a bystander. But he makes surprising leaps, commanding a more crucial role than one would have ever expected. Props.

Shadows delivers all it promises in its premise and, despite minor oddities throughout this nearly 400 page book, is well-deserved of its impressive ratings. There is a girl, a boy, war, love, angels, demons and blood. What more do you need?

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