Today I am totally excited to share with you my review of a book I wasn't sure about, wasn't sure I was going to like. But, boy, did this book take me by surprise. If you're not normally into thriller/mystery books, I think this one will help to ease you there. It is totally out of my normal realm of reading, but I throughly enjoyed it. Consider my mind blown.
So without me spoiling too much, here is my review of
Shadowlands (Shadowlands #1) by Kate Brian which releases today!
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I want to thank Disney Hyperion for providing me an ARC of this book to read and review. Receiving this book for free in no way has influenced my opinion or review.
Blurb from Goodreads:
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?
It's going to be hard for me to talk about this book without revealing it's "secret" but I'm going to try my hardest to keep this review spoiler free.
I have to say that I wasn't at all sure what this book was about. As a matter of fact, I requested it upon the advice of a friend who had read it and liked it. I didn't read the blurb or any reviews before diving in. I figured I usually love the books Disney puts out, so why would this be any different. And it did not disappoint, that is for sure. Did it leave me wondering every time I put it down, yes it did. Did it leave me wanting to keep reading so that I could finally figure out the mystery, absolutely. I just couldn't figure out why everything was so bizarre, why things were happening that totally perplexed me. And then I reached the second to last chapter, and "bing" a light bulb went off inside my head and I totally got where the book was taking me. I thought I would be creeped out by this book, that scary things would happen and I would have nightmares, but I was dead wrong.
I need to mention my love of this cover. At first, I wasn't so sure of it. It seemed so bizarre with the girl on the front and birds flying around. I'm not sure why I didn't think about the meaning behind those birds, but now it totally makes sense. And, since finishing the book and getting a real understanding of why things were presented the way they were, I completely understand the idea behind the cover! My only complaint about the cover is that if it's supposed to be the main character, it is completely off as she is described in the book with blond hair. But maybe it is not supposed to be her, though if it's not I cannot understand why.
I must say that I really liked the character of Rory. She was sharp and caustic at times.She was also strong and didn't worry about questioning others when it came to her safety. But she had this subtle emotional side to her that she kept bottled inside and I knew eventually it would need to be set free. Her relationship with her sister and father are totally strained, but she sweeps it under the rug because she doesn't think anything will get fixed. However, after her attack, things start to slowly change and she begins to realize that her family is pulling back together after the tragedy that struck them 5 years earlier. I loved watching Rory battle with herself, trying to find peace. And she was very relatable and easy to connect with. I could feel her anger, her fear, her happiness and her confusion. It flew right off the page at me.
Her sister Darcy was annoying at first. Stuck up and pretentious, demanding and gave off an air of superiority. Precocious and blaming. I wanted to pull her hair at times. But she was a good balance for Rory's character. And watching both girls relationship slowly heel with their dad was nice. What was once broken starts to become whole. And you feel the cohesiveness and bonds start to reform and take root. Tristan and Joaquim are totally mysterious. This adds to the thrill of the ride through the book. I never knew where they were going, what they were up to, where they would show up next. They seemed to appear suddenly out of nowhere and disappear just as fast. The other secondary characters did much of the same. And as people started to disappear, I wondered if this "team" of beautiful teens had anything to do with it.
I loved Brian's writing in this story. There was nothing choppy or predictable about it. She understands how to create a story that will leave you wanting to turn the pages and have you sitting on the edge of your seat. There is nothing predictable about the story, making it hard to put down. I commend her for a job well done with the storytelling. I have to say that I was not expecting the ending, but once it happened, I realized the clues were all there throughout the entire book. The story had me on an adrenaline high the entire time. I rarely wanted to put it down and did so only to sleep and do some work, oh and take care of my children. The plot was really mind blowing. And to boot, this is set to be a series, so my mind is wondering what direction Brian is going to take us as she unfolds more of this storyline. And Brian took an interesting stance with alternating the POV from the main female character to the thoughts of the serial killer bent on taking her life.
I truly enjoyed this book. If you are into mystery and a thrilling adventure that will leave you pacing and wanting to keep coming back to the story, this is the book for me. And if you want a story that will stay with you, haunt you and keep you returning to things and pondering why you didn't see them before, well, then you need to go out and pick this one up!
4 out of 5 stars from me.
Kate Brian is the prolific author of many books for teens including the Private series, the new Privilege series, and Sweet 16. She lives with her husband in New Jersey. She writes under the pseudonym Kate Brian, instead of using her real name: Kieran Scott.
So, does my review have you intrigued? Good! I certainly want to read more from this author in the future. You want to buy a copy,m you say? Good, then click below to order it for yourself today!