Monday, August 12, 2013

Review: Shadows by Paula Weston

Monday, August 12, 2013 with 6 comments
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Title: Shadows
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

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? The truth lies in the shadows of her nightmares.

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.'
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.'”
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.

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!


About the author:

I’m the author of the Rephaim series. For my day job, I’m a writer-journalist-professional communicator with pH creative, where my writing involves a lot less profanity. :)

I also love to read, blog, cook, eat, drink and travel and tend to get passionate about human rights, ethical food production… actually, I can get passionate about pretty much anything.

I’m also a huge fan of Australian literature, fantasy/paranormal writing across books, TV and film; I love comedy; I’m a closet comic reader and TV addict; and I’m borderline obsessed with the Foo Fighters.

Find Paula:

WebsiteTwitter | FacebookGoodreads


  1. Jen! I need to read this now! Curse all these review books in my way! I will get to this book very soon. It's a must! I still love angel stories, though I'm a little more picky about them than I used to be. I've already looked up the sequel on Fishpond but will wait until closer to when I can read this one. Great review!

  2. You're right, everyone is talking about this book! One of my best bloggy friends is totally enamored, already read the sequel Haze (ordered from Fishpond) so I got the e-arc from NG and can't wait to start it next week:)

    I was late to the party with Angelfall and the Unearthly series, I never thought I liked angel books until I read those--but now I'm a fan. Especially Angelfall (can't wait for that sequel!) so I'm glad to hear that fans of that will like this book too! Great review!

  3. I've heard great things about this one! I love rivals turned romance! I am curious about their first meeting now though. Gaby and Rafa sound like an interesting pair and I like that it is more steam and language! LOL And I'm kind of tired of the halls of high school so something different sounds perfect.

  4. I had no idea the Rephaim were a Biblical reference. I recently saw them in another book, but didn't know they could be similar to fallen angels.

    Blown away by the book? Eeee. This is something I'll need to investigate after I read Angelfall next week. Especially if a comparison to the former also makes you move this book to the top of the TBR :O.

    You've got me curious about how Rafa comes into Gaby's life now... Is it just the dreams? Hmm...

    Sarcasm and BA-ness lol are probably my favorite qualities in a heroine. I do like the quotes you've included. More NA than YA? I've heard the same about Angelfall, but that's cool because it's nice to see NA expand.

  5. This review made me smile so much, because from the amount you wrote, I can tell how much you loved it. Very insightful point about Gaby's amnesia. It works really well to build the story, and it doesn't just automatically disappear (as much as we want her to remember). And YES on the chemistry between Rafe and Gaby, the author was amazing at that. I actually think that the first scene is what kicked it all off for me. I loved their initial meeting. It amped everything up and then you watch them struggle to figure out each other. I think for me what I love about this series isn't that it's angel based -although that's well done - it's the characters and all the awesome drama between them. And everything is heightened by the fact that Gaby can't remember who everyone is or which people she should trust. It's just amazing. I cannot wait for you to read book 2. Let me know if you want me to send it. I'm salivating for 3 now.

  6. I've had this on my Kindle for awhile from Netgalley... After reading this, I'm bumping it up to the top of the TBR list. Thanks for the review :)

    Jess @ Such A Novel Idea


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