Thursday, 17 October 2013

Shadows by Paula Weston

Series: Rephaim, Book One
Publisher: Indigo
Format: ARC
Published3rd January 2013
Number of Pages: 400
Book: For Review*
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance, Gritty Realism, Thriller, Suspense, Action-Adventure, NA, YA
Recommended Age: 14+
Contains: Swearing, Violence, Alcohol References
No Drug References
Author's Site: Paula Weston
Author's Twitter: @PaulaWeston

Warning: This review will be an excited rambling of a fangirl.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Every night in her dreams Gaby Winters kills demons.
It’s been almost a year since Gaby was in the car crash that killed her twin brother, Jude.  Her body has healed, but her grief is still raw and constant. 
Across a crowded bar Gaby sees the man of her dreams, literally.  Rafa not only looks exactly like the guy who’s been appearing in Gaby’s dreams, he claims a history with her brother that makes no sense.
Now 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.
Combining the sexy supernatural appeal of Lauren Kate’s Fallen series, the kick-ass action of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the edgy cool of True Blood.
This is angels and demons as you’ve never seen them before.

"You're supposed to be dead...”
Gaby's life fell apart when her twin brother Jude died.  That was a year ago.  She's moved away, to Pandanus Beach, started over.  But she still hasn't healed.  Not really, not inside.
It doesn't help that she keeps on dreaming the most disturbing things.  Each night in her dreams, Gaby kills demons in a bar.  By her side, a guy with green eyes who smells like sandalwood. 
And then one day, her dream guy walks into the bar.  She's never met Rafa before and yet he claims to have been best friends with her brother, even though that makes no sense to her.  In fact, nothing Rafa says makes any sense.
But with more and more people like Rafa coming, claiming she should be dead – maybe even should have stayed dead – Gaby is forced to face the facts.
Her life – everything she thought she knew and was – is a lie.
With no idea what she is, what the entire world is anymore, what's real and what's not, who can Gaby trust?  And can she stay alive in this world that makes no sense…?
I picked Shadows up, just wanting to have a quick flick through it to see what it was about.  And I couldn't stop reading.  I don't know what it is about this book, but it’s freaking addictive.  Before I even realised what I was doing, I was a hundred pages in and absolutely hooked.  I'm not sure what it was that made Shadows really stand out.  Maybe it's the angel mythology.  Maybe it's the action.  Maybe it's Gaby's voice – so real, so rich, so sad.  Maybe it's that this is my first New Adult experience.  Maybe it's the gorgeous and utterly irresistible Rafa.  Who knows!  Who cares!  All that matters is that Shadows is a breath-taking book – an amazing, amazing book, that I'm sure will be one of my favourites of 2013.  Hell, it's my favourite angel book of all time, ever.  Period.  
I really loved Gaby – she was such a strong character, so broken and loveable and strong.  I could feel her pain – feel how much it was destroying her, tearing her to pieces, making her empty.  And you not only felt for her, you felt her.  I loved watching her grow and discover herself, watching her fight back and come into her own.  She was just a brilliant lead, damaged but tough as nails.  My fave kind of protagonist: strong but with a hidden vulnerability to make them accessible and loveable.
Speaking of love... I just instantly was drawn to Rafa.  I don't know what it is about him that makes him so darn irresistible.  Perhaps it's that bad boy thing – I have a real weakness for the bad boys.  Or maybe 'cause underneath, he's really, really sweet.  He's warm, protective, and sweet, complex, mysterious and so, so gorgeous.  Oh, I just love him.
Daisy was another favourite, as were Ez and Zak.   Rephaim I wasn't so keen on?  Daniel, Taya and Melchezedick – sorry, Malachi.  I did not like them.  Which was ironic, 'cause they were the so-called ‘good guys’... 
I also really loved Gaby's friend Maggie – she was the best friend in the history of ever.   Jason was cool too.  Clever, brave, loyal.  I liked him.
And even though we didn't actually meet him, I adored Jude.  He was such an amazing brother – I loved him to bits and mourned him right along with Gaby.  And I loved their bond.  Felt their bond…
As for the connection between Rafa and Gaby... Whoa.  It wasn't like your usual teen romance.  It was deep.  Half the time, they were just annoying each other.  But it was just so hot – so full of chemistry.  I absolutely loved their banter and the way they had one another's back.
Weston's writing was so amazing – and utterly compelling.  The writing style was insanely addictive and so strong.  I felt them all – all the characters and emotions.  Especially Gaby.  Her voice was so very real, so genuine.  I could feel every bit of her pain.  But there are loads of damaged narrators out there, aren't they?  So what makes Gaby so different?  Well for one, there's the whole no-memories – or at least, no real memories – thing.  But more than that, there was the way she handled her pain.  She hurt – so much I hurt too – but she didn't let herself do that wallowing, selfish, infuriating thing teen leads are so very good at.  No, Gaby handled it all like the adult she was: she dealt.  And I loved that.  It added a whole brilliant layer to the voice: made it so real to me.  So addictive and beautiful.
As for the plot, man was it awesome!  So full of twists and mysteries and so much action!   I loved how everything was revealed so slowly, so teasingly, so addictively.  It was just like: here's one clue.  Oh, and another.  And another.  Just one little secret at a time.  It was freaking addictive!   And the action – don't even get me started on the action!  It was so cool, so exciting.  So awesome.  Sigh...  I will admit that I saw this one bit coming – it felt kinda obvious to me.  But while I guessed the initial twist, I didn't see the twists that followed that first twist...  If that makes sense.  But, God, I just adored this plot!!
And ohmigod, I loved all the mythology!  It's so new and cool – so unlike all the other angel books out there.  I just loved the spin Weston put on all the biblical angelic myths.  And what I loved even more than the kickass angel mythology of this world?  That it was set in Australia!  I loved the Aussie feel!   It just added to the awesomeness that already was the kickass angel stuff.  So, yes, I adored this setting.  Yum yum, more please?
Ok, so, angel stories.  Loads of them are so samey, y'know?  Shadows was so totally different.  For one, these angels weren't afraid to kick butt.  And when I say kick butt, I mean serious, hardcore, butt-kicking awesomeness.  These angels weren't your usual pacifists and they weren't really religious.  It was just so much fun to read an angel book that's so hardcore and edgy and original.   I just loved it.  Shadows stands heads, shoulders, chests and legs above all the other angel books out there.
As you can all tell from this rambling review, I absolutely adored Shadows.  It was one of those books you're going to want to clear a whole day for, because you aren't going to be able to put it down.   Even if you don't like paranormals or angel books, read Shadows, because it's special.  It's an angel book, but it has heart.   Soul.  And, God, it's just so freaking good!  As much as I wanted to read the book in one sitting (which I did anyway – couldn't help myself!), I also wanted it to last forever.  I'm thanking Paula Weston for making it as long as it was – and for the fact Haze is out in June, which while being far enough away to make me crazy, isn't as bad as most sequel waits.  And I'm thanking her also for the ending, which wasn't infuriatingly cliffhanger-y, but was also enough to leave me desperate for more, more, more.
So Shadows.  Read it.  It's so much more than an angel book – so much more than a YA paranormal romance.  Just so much more than I could've ever expected and hoped for it to be.  
And I need Haze.  I need more of Rafa.  And I take it back: June!  Why is it so far away?!  *breaks down crying

Star Rating:
5 Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
 Lux and Covenant Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Challenges It's Taking Part In:
Happy Reading
* This book was received from Orion/Indigo in exchange for an honest review

** Quotes used are from a proof copy and may have been changed in the finished book


Deepika Singh said...

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yaescapefromreality said...

I really enjoyed this book too. I loved the chemistry between Gaby and Rafa. I love stories where the MC is in the dark about a lot of things, and I agree, the author does a great job of pacing the story so that different parts are revealed throughout the book rather than a huge info-dump at one time. Definitely interesting angel mythology. I'll definitely be reading the rest of the series. And I think Haze is out in Australia and you can order it from (free shipping I think!)

Great review! ~Pam