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?
When talking or reading about YA Urban Fantasy or YA Paranomal Romance, I think we’ve all become a little leery over the last few years. There came a time, for me, where I was beginning to get derisive of the genre. I felt maxed out, like there was nothing fresh or new coming through. This, of course, is a heinous lie. There’s always the good, I was just sick of wading through the bad. Upon reflection I have been more than a little unjust.
There are some great books and series out there, you just have to know where to look, or more importantly, who to trust. Not to mention, I think the genre is actually fighting back. You have talent like Laini Taylor with her rich, electrifying and beautifully written, Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Courtney Summers (YA contemporary issue-based writer), who has forayed into the zombie apocalypse with a suicidal teen protagonist with This is Not a Test.
We also have home grown talent, which is where the real gems often lay. I originally had little intention of reading Shadows by Paula Weston, but something began to gnaw at me. There were great reviews beginning to trickle through, people who I liked and trusted were giving it five star ratings, so I said ‘well heck, just go for it.’
Shadows works. It has managed the knack of creating plausibility in an unreality. Fallen angels and their offspring aren’t hanging out on Earth fighting each other and demons, I know this. But if you’re going to write a book about it then you need to make me believe, at the very least, that the dialogue is authentic and the characters could be someone you know. Paula Weston gives us this. She gives us a main character that moves through the book; Gaby isn’t passive and woebegone, too much is happening, she doesn’t have time to laze about! Her reactions to situations weren’t extreme, she took to The Rephaim with the appropriate amount of cynicism and skepticism. The characters felt present and engaged in their own storyline.
Shadows plays into some tropes of the paranormal romance genre, there’s a love triangle technically, but the circumstances around Gaby and her memory add a unique twist to the situation. I also thought it was one of the better written fighting and action scenes I had read in YA.
All in all, Shadows is a fast-paced, page-turner with likable and believable characters. I would advise caution when deciding to recommend it to teenagers, as there is several instances where there is severe language (the F word being the offender) used.