Shadows by Paula Weston

ShadowsI picked up Shadows on NetGalley last week. It’s an ARC available to United States and Canada NetGalley users, and is available in print in Australia and New Zealand. The book is due to come out on September, 10 2013. Here is the blurb!

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?

At first, this book was hard for me to get into. However, by about a quarter of the way in I realized that it wasn’t the storyline I had a hard time connecting too, but the Australian verbage. Once I got the hang of it, I could look past it and see the story for what it was. I mean, it’s not exactly Paula Weston’s problem that I’m not Australian. However, I had a hard time taking some intense dialogue seriously, because they started calling people arseholes. Which made me giggle a little. But once again, my problem.

The story itself is great. Gaby is snarky, foul-mouthed, and loveable. The concept and religious ideologies behind the Rephain idea is beautifully done. As a huge fan of The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, I thought that maybe the whole angel thing may be lost on me, but Weston tells this story with her own original take and I loved it! It’s hard to say much more without giving too much away though. Essentially, Gaby is finding out things about herself that she didn’t know, and things about her brother Jude that instigate more questions rather than providing her with any answers. The whole book follows her on this journey and she realizes that nothing is how it seems.

However, because she doesn’t know ‘who she is’ we don’t get much ‘in Gaby’s head’ time. Instead, we get a ton of dialogue, which while it isn’t always the best route to go in a first book because it hinders character development, but I think that it fit well with the story. I think that the longer that we follow Gaby’s story, we find out who she is right along with her, so it works.

The only issue that I had with the book is that it has an open ending. I get that it is the first in a series, but the end is like WIDE open. There is not real ‘ending’ to the book at all. It’s like it was maybe getting too long so they took the whole story and just chopped it off into sections. Don’t get me wrong, I get that is how series works. But I always at least kind of an ending to give me a little closure and hold me over until the next one. Or a cliffhanger. I always love a good cliffhanger.

There is some harsh language, but I don’t think it is too extreme for teenagers. The romance is pretty PG, but I get the impression it may be a little more adult in the next book. I don’t think I will ever see it sitting on a shelf in the YA section of an American high school, but c’mon…. none of the best American YA novels will be up there either.

Paula Weston has done a great job developing the side characters as well, creating dynamics what make the story even more complex. As my introduction to Australian YA Literature, I am glad I read Shadows and look forward to the next book! Be sure to pick it up when it hits the shelves here in the states!

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