In response to the recent release of the final book in The Rephaim series, Netgalley offered reviewers a chance to read, Shadows, the start of the series. As I’d heard a fair amount about this YA Fantasy series, I took the opportunity to download it and judge for myself.
It’s almost a year since Gaby Winters was in the car crash that killed her twin brother, Jude. Her body has healed in the sunshine of Pandanus Beach, but her grief is raw and constant. 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?
I really enjoyed this offering. Gaby is a likeable character, whose reactions to the steady stream of unwelcome surprises that knock her sideways out of her life made me care about her. Weston’s depiction of a grieving sister is well done, and I liked the fact she took the time to establish Gaby’s normal routines and daily life before it all gets turned upside down. Far too often, we are plunged into the tumult of the adventure, which is all very well until the heroine starts longing for everything to go back to how things used to be – which is so often somewhere the reader cannot envisage as I was never there. eston doesn’t fall into that trap.
In fact, judging by the quality of the writing, the slick scene setting and deft characterisation, I’d be prepared to have a quiet bet on the side that while Weston may be a ‘debut’ author, she’s got a manuscript or two tucked away. The pacing of the story is well done – as soon as Rafa turns up, events start stacking up and continue to do so until I was thoroughly caught up in the increasing tempo until I took time I didn’t have to sit down and finish it. There was no point in trying to complete the tasks I’d set myself anyway, as I couldn’t stop thinking about Gaby’s adventures.
If you’re looking for some angel-based action and a story that goes on delivering pace and action throughout, then track this one down. It’s an enjoyable, engrossing read that grabbed me and wouldn’t let me go until I’d finished it. And if my TBR pile doesn’t keep growing ridiculously high – I’ve promised myself that I’m going to track down the other books in the series the next time I’m due some escapist me-time.