Review: Shadows by Paula Weston

Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Tundra Books
Pages: 394 pages
Release Date: July 2, 2013
Source of my copy: author
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
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?

Considering how many stock paranormal YAs I've read in the past, I admit was hesitant to read Shadows by Paula Weston. I've had enough of fallen angels, I though. But since there was a lot of good reviews for Shadows on Goodreads, I decided to give it a go anyway.

And guess what? I really REALLY liked Shadows.

Shadows was surprisingly interesting and so very good. It was not at all cliche and cheesy. The writing flowed really nicely and was easy to understand. I'm a slow reader but I finished Shadows within days... it was kind of hard to stop reading.

The plot was really well-paced--not too slow and not too fast--and I enjoyed reading the fighting scenes, which were interspersed throughout the novel. However, I would not really describe Shadows as an action-packed, roller coaster read. Mainly throughout Weston's novel, the main character, Gaby, was trying to work through her confusion by gaining information about her dreams, and ultimately, herself. As she searched for the answers to her many questions, she was being pushed and pulled by everyone until finally Gaby finds herself in a bloody, intense fight. I thought the plot, with its mystery, suspense, and action, was refreshing and really interesting. I was there along with Gaby as we struggled to put the puzzle pieces into place, and with every question answered, we were both relieved yet more anxious. Being very much there with a character was awesome.

I also found the romance of Shadows really refreshing because it wasn't the main focus of the novel. For those of you who do not like love triangles, the romance in Shadows wasn't much of one. Yes, there were two boys fighting for Gaby's attention, but as far as Gaby was concerned, all she really wanted was to understand who and what she was. Also, she was only really interested in one of the boys while she was indifferent--maybe even hateful--toward the other. I love how Gaby was such an objective and strong (albeit stubborn) heroine to not get distracted by two fighting boys.

Speaking of Gaby's character, I thought she was really well-developed. Through every challenge she faced, Gaby became stronger and fiercer but she never lost sight of her objectives and goals. Gaby always considered her friends, and she ran across challenges throughout Shadows just to save and protect them. I just really enjoyed getting to know her and I looking forward to spending more time with her in Shadows in the next book in the Rephaim series.

I really recommend Shadows to everyone, whether they love paranormal YA or think they've had enough like I did--let Shadows change your mind! I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on the second book Haze and read more about Gaby and the other Rephaim--I read the Haze sneak peek that was included in my copy of Shadows, and it left me wanting to read the entire thing now.

And Paula Weston, thank you for writing an excellent novel. It was such a great escape.

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