Author: Kate Brian
Published: January 2013
Number of Pages: 336
Rory Miller had one chance to fight back and she took it. Rory survived… and the serial killer who attacked her escaped. Now that the infamous Steven Nell is on the loose, Rory must enter the witness protection with her father and sister, Darcy, leaving their friends and family without so much as a goodbye.
Starting over in a new town with only each other is unimaginable for Rory and Darcy. They were inseparable as children, but now they can barely stand each other. As the sisters settle in to Juniper Landing, a picturesque vacation island, it seems like their new home may be just the fresh start they need. They fall in with a group of beautiful, carefree teens and spend their days surfing, partying on the beach, and hiking into endless sunsets. But just as they’re starting to feel safe again, one of their new friends goes missing. Is it a coincidence? Or is the nightmare beginning all over again? [From Goodreads
Shadowlands starts with a bang, turns things around and lulls you into a comfortable sense of security, and then takes great pleasure in laughing in your face when the climax hits, leaving you breathless and astonished by the frightening action and incredible twists. Kate Brian has woven a story using the best of thrilling materials – suspense, confusion, attractive young men. I found surprise around every corner, the last most of all. Needless to say, I’ll be doing all I can to get my hands on the sequel.
Wow. Just wow. I love it when I’m utterly surprised by a book. Shadowlands‘ synopsis did not strike me as altogether groundbreaking, but Brian skillfully turns what could have been an average book into something that leaves a reader totally breathless.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s freaky right from the start. Delightfully so. However, what doesn’t become apparent straightaway is how eerie and mysterious this book is. As I said in my official review, I was really fooled into a false sense of security, only to find that what I had believed all along was untrue. The scariness with which the book begins is an obvious sort – the main character, Rory, has been attacked, and the man who attacked her is still after her. There’s enough suspense to keep the story moving. However, Brian takes the suspense and thrill even further.
Speaking of Rory, she’s awesomely nerdy and easy to relate to. I found her a refreshingly reasonable character. Certainly, she seems a bit paranoid, but wouldn’t we all be? Her fear is well-founded and entirely justified. What is unreasonable is the seeming lightheartedness with which some of the people around her face the situation she’s in. Her family has been deteriorating for years, and Rory knows that the stress and anxiety left by recent events could leave them ruined or bring them closer together. Shadowlands, though an awesome thriller, is also a fantastic story of what family is and how resilient people can be.
Rory’s relationship with her sister is also one with which many people can relate, I believe. I don’t have a sister myself, but as a teenage girl in general, I can sense the brutal honesty of their relationship. I see it between my friends’ and their sisters all the time. Though Rory and Darcy’s relationship is not easy in any sense, it is inspiring.
I can hear you all wondering, “What about this attractive young men she mentioned?” Notice I said attractive men. Yes, that’s plural. One fascinating thing about the attractive boys in this novel is that, though mutually good-looking, their personalities and relationships with Rory are quite different. There’s the boy she’s liked for a long time, with whom she has a history. There’s the macho, ridiculously handsome boy. There’s the cute best friend. There’s the strikingly good-looking but altogether confusing boy who clearly has a secret. Let’s see… that’s four? Need I give you another reason to read Shadowlands?
Cute boys aside, what I appreciated most about Shadowlands was its refusal to be what I expected it to be. It’s the sort of book that ends in such a mind-blowing way that you can’t help but run over every event in your head, examining things in a new light. The end is also a maddeningly great cliff-hanger and left me full of eagerness to read the next book.
In short, read Shadowlands, and prepare for shock.