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?
This was a fast-paced and compelling read for me. And another Australian author. I love reading books by authors that are not from North America as it adds another layer when the vocabulary and references in the story are a little bit different. I’ve found some Aussie slang difficult to understand, but Shadows doesn’t have that. I’m not sure if it was edited for the North American market, or there just isn’t much local slang used. Either way, it was easy to understand. And I enjoyed the mostly Australian setting for this.
What I liked:
Pretty much everything. I really liked Gaby. She’s suffering from the grief of losing her brother in a car accident almost a year ago, and coping with the physical and mental effects of having been in that same accident. She’s moved to a new town, got a job, a roommate, and is rebuilding her life, but that grief is still there. It’s believable but not overwhelming and she’s not just wallowing. When she learns that her life and memories are not what she thought, it’s another layer for her to deal with. She copes well with this but doesn’t just accept everything at face value. She’s willing to work to figure it out and I always admire (and prefer) a strong heroine.
I love Gaby’s roommate and best friend Maggie. She’s great at the beginning and is one of those people you hope to have in your life. She befriends you and makes it stick. She gets sucked into Gaby’s new world and copes so well.
“I can’t fight, and I can’t shift, and I can’t do any of the things your Rephaim can do, but I can be your friend. And don’t tell me you don’t need one – not after what I saw and heard tonight.”
The story moves quickly, and we’re introduced to a lot of characters. We get some great world-building, but as this is told from Gaby’s point of view, there are still big gaps in what actually happened. This leaves lots of shades of grey in the characters motivations. I’m still not sure who to trust and who not to. I’m not sure who’s good or who’s bad (or maybe there are no good guys). I know who I want to trust, but I like that the mystery remains. It’s much more interesting than straight good versus evil.
There’s lots of sexual tension between Gaby and Rafa. We know they have a history, but Gaby doesn’t remember. Rafa alternates between being sweet and a gentleman and being rude and a jerk. It’s hard to fully like or trust him, but so far he’s done the right thing when it matters most.
What I didn’t like:
It’s not an issue with the book so much as the characters, and since I assume they’re this way on purpose I’m not really complaining. Gaby’s former love interest Daniel does some truly reprehensible things to her. It makes it hard for me to see what she saw in him or why she was with him. Same for his lackeys. They blindly follow his orders and don’t seem to have an issue harming one of their own. I’m left hoping that there’s more to this story that we’ll find out as we get further into the series.
One of my pet peeves is books that are part of a trilogy or series that can’t stand alone. Shadows walks this fine line rather well. It’s not a cliff hanger ending, the story is told. But we’re left with a lot of unanswered questions and there’s definitely more to the overall story. I’m looking forward to reading more and seeing if my theories are correct.
Overall, this is a great read. It’s got Angels and Demons, unlike what you may have seen before, and there’s a solid storyline to pull you along even if this isn’t your typical read. I recommend it and give it 4/5. I can’t wait to read Haze!