Author: Paula Weston
Series: The Rephaim, book #1
Publisher: Tundra Books
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
Source: from publisher for review via Netgalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
I know it's been said before, but there must be something in the water in Australia. You tell me the author is an Aussie, and you've pretty much guaranteed that I'll pick up a book. And then you tell me that this book is perfect for fans of Angelfall? That comparison alone meant that I would be moving this novel up to the very tippy-top of my review pile. I purposely didn't read any reviews for this before I picked it up, hoping that the buzz from fellow bloggers was legit. The cover and the synopsis told me all I needed to know, and I'm glad I kept myself pretty much in the dark because it meant I could be totally blown away by this book...and I was!
Shadows was near perfection for me. I know some will find fault with how Rafa comes into Gaby's life, especially that first meeting, but I thought it was a great way to introduce the intensity of the story, not to mention the chemistry between the two characters. Despite that first interaction, though, there is no instant love connection. These two are rivals of a sort, even if Gaby is unaware of that fact at first. Which means I get a whole lot of one of my favorite aspects in a PNR story: awesome dialogue and banter!
“'I hear you've been with every Rephaite in a skirt.'It's getting to the point that you either love angel-themed stories, or you absolutely loathe them. For me, it depends on how the story is executed. For the most part, a lot of the stories keep to the same lore, especially when it comes to Nephilim/Rephaim, the sons and daughters of mortal women and fallen angels. Although this is true for Shadows, it still feels different, maybe because of the direction the story seems to be taking. And although a lot of the characters share the names of characters we've previously come to know in other angel stories, they are different enough in this book that they remain intriguing. Rafa is slightly less intense and scary than Raffe, Gaby/Gabe isn't annoying like Gabby, and Daniel, while still seemingly perfect in this version, is slightly more sinister. At least, that's the vibe I was getting from him, with all that hostility he seems to be harboring for Rafa and through his mistreatment of Gaby, despite whatever romantic relationship they might have previously had.
Crap. Where did that come from?
'Who told you that?' His smile shifts into something less amused. 'Daniel. Who else? The prick.'
'Is he a liar?'
Rafa leans against the pale wall. 'I haven't been with everyone.'
'What about Taya?'
'Hell, no. I'm no monk, but I have standards.'
I wonder what else Daniel was wrong about. 'What about me?'
Rafa's teasing smile doesn't quite reach his eyes. 'You had standards too.'”
Gaby has no true recollection of her life prior to the last year. She only has her memories to go by, and apparently, she can't even trust those...not even when it comes to the car accident that killed her brother. Other angel books have used amnesia plots to further the story and it always felt like a forced and unnatural path for the story to take, but Shadows uses this device as a world-building tool. Since Gaby can't remember anything of her life from before, she has to be told about the Rephaim and the fallen angels and the Sanctuary. And how everyone thought she died along with her brother Jude. I love how Rafa found her, how even her subconscious was trying to get her to remember.
“We're quiet for a moment. And then: 'Why did you call me Matt?'
'It seemed like a good idea at the time. Now that I know you, I realize I should have called that character Dick.'
He laughs, and then the couch shakes. 'Honestly, Gabe, I forgot you could be this much fun.'”
Gaby handles all of this new information pretty well, if you ask me. Her whole life has been turned upside-down, turned into the nightmares she's been having for months, and she takes it like a champ. Gaby's reaction to the news is pretty realistic, full of shock and disbelief at first, which morphs into just plain shock when she's given proof of what she is. But once she knows, she doesn't immediately remember everything and become the demon-destroyer of a year ago. And I fully appreciate the author's pragmatism in keeping Gaby more human than not, especially when it comes to keeping her friends safe.
After Gaby and her sarcasm and genuine bad-assery, Rafa was my second favorite character. He is entirely too self-assured, to the point that he's a cocky, egotistical SOB at times, but that's actually part of his charm. Yes, I know, this character is all too familiar. But he's not a stalker -- er, wait, he did have some stalker-like tendencies in the beginning, but he can be forgiven for those considering the circumstances -- he isn't obsessive or possessive toward Gaby. He's just this half-angel guy who wants to find out what happened to his best mate and do right by his best mate's sister while he's at it. I can't fault him for that, nor would I want to.
“It's been a long time since you asked me for anything. I'm not going to fuck it up.”So, yeah, major swoons between Gaby and Rafa, even if they don't entirely trust each other. And just FYI, I think this book would probably be classified as more New Adult than Young Adult, just because of the language and overall steaminess and the fact that none of the characters are walking through the halls of a high school. :) But I didn't mind it one bit. The characters had enough to deal with without all the drama of being normal teenagers.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Actually, I inhaled this story. Such a great beginning to what is sure to be an awesome, albeit dangerous, adventure for Gaby and friends. Shadows is intense and thrilling and full of the swoons. And I'm altogether too impatient for the next book in the series. Aussies can already pick it up, but Shadows doesn't even come out until next month here in the states, and we won't get Haze until this time next year. Oh, the unfairness of it all! Luckily, my good friend Lauren alerted me to the fact that Haze can be bought through Fishpond. Hooray!