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Title: Shadows (The Rephaim, #1)
Author: Paula Weston
Publisher: Tundra Books
Release Date: September 10, 2013
It's almost a year since Gaby Winters watched her twin brother die. In the sunshine of a new town her body has healed, but her grief is raw and constant. It doesn't help that every night in her dreams she fights and kills hell-beasts. And then Rafa comes to town. Not only does he look exactly like the guy who's been appearing in Gaby's dreams, he tells her things about her brother and her life that cannot be true, things that are dangerous. Who is Rafa? Who are the Rephaim? And who is Gaby? The truth lies in the shadows of her nightmares.
My Thoughts: When I found out Shadows was being published in North America, I was ecstatic! I just have so much love for young adult and new adult books written by Australian authors, and I've been eager to read this book ever since I heard about it almost two years ago. Now that I've finally had the chance to read it, I have to say it was definitely worth the wait.
In Shadows, 18-year-old Gaby is living at Pandanus Beach in Australia after a terrible car accident from a year ago left her body and mind scarred and her twin brother Jude dead. Gaby almost seems like a regular person who's grieving and trying to move on with her life, but overshadowing her recovery are the nightmares about her fighting demon-like creatures she's had every single night since the accident. It becomes clear that she isn't just experiencing the aftereffects of going through something traumatic and heartbreaking and that her terrifying nightmares may hold the answers to her past and what led to that horrible day nearly a year ago.
There was so much mystery surrounding Gaby that not even she could expect some of the things that were revealed about her. It was nice for once to have a character be as in the dark as the reader. It could have caused some frustration, but finding things out when she did made the book an even better and exciting experience. Plus, Gaby's the type of character to make it easy to sympathize with. She's vulnerable and kind, yet fierce and determined and willing to break the rules to protect the people she cares about. She was just a really likeable character to me, and I rooted for her from the very beginning.
Since there were two sides to Gaby (the one before the accident and the one after), I was always wondering whether or not she'll ever regain her memories. I wanted her to remember who she was so that she could have all her skills and knowledge and everything else back. At the same time, I didn't want her to lose the person she was now because her cold and serious personality from before didn't sound appealing. And I felt that was something Gaby struggled with through the book as well. She wanted her memories but didn't want to go back to being who she was before the incident involving her brother. I liked that there wasn't an easy solution for her, and I hope she continues to grow stronger as the story progresses.
Something I really appreciated were the roles some of the characters, even minor, played in the story because they made everything more complex and complicated. Maggie and Simon were human friends of Gaby, and I felt their presence was a reminder that humans were just as important as all the Rephaim, angels, and demons introduced in the book. Another character Jason shocked me the most. He was full of surprises! I didn't think much about him at first, so he's a great example of how you should never take any character for granted.
Two other characters I would like to mention are Jude and Rafa. Although Jude wasn't alive, he still had a huge presence. He was the most important person in the world to Gaby, and he was always brought up by others. Even though he never made an appearance, I started to miss him as much as everyone else. As for Rafa, he was my favorite along with Gaby. He was Jude's best friend and Gaby's rival. I loved his humor and sarcasm and his protectiveness of Gaby. Gaby and him meshed so well together. Their relationship is a bit unusual, though, because it doesn't seem like they had a great relationship before and the only one who remembers is Rafa (and he's not elaborating). I'm very interested to find out where their relationship goes.
Shadows was easily one of my most anticipated titles this year, and it lived up to all my expectations. I'm even more pumped now for the sequel Haze! I hope it's just as good as Shadows because I can't wait to read more about Gaby, Rafa, and all the other characters I mentioned in my review. If you're curious about Shadows and need an awesome and unique story about angels, I highly suggest you give it a read!
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Thanks to Tundra Books you can enter to win a hardcover copy of Shadows! Giveaway is open to US/CA residents only and ends September 23. Good luck!
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