Saturday, January 7, 2017

Shadowlands by Kate Brian

Shadowlands #1. Hyperion (Jan. 2013) Library
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 program. Entering the program alongside her, is her father and sister Darcy. The trio starts a new life and a new beginning leaving their friends and family behind without 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. 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?

I thought I had it all figured out. Even before I read Shadowlands I felt like I got the sense of what was going to happen. I knew that there was supposed to be some supernatural elements that might take me on a different journey but I wasn't quite prepared with how I would feel after reading this thrilling adventure of suspense (like the whole town is about to take you away into their cult) and mystery (everyone keeps disappearing...). My heart was racing for a long time after I finished that dramatic theme music worthy ending. You know the one - (duh, duh, duh, DUH) I was just sitting wondering what is going to happen next and what is it that makes Rory special. Is it the flashbacks? Is it because she's so much more aware? There is so much to ponder.

Everything starts off in the place I wish all of these suspenseful stalker/serial killer books would - at the time of the attempted murder. I've ALWAYS wished that the above type of books would start off at that time so I can get a continuous story, not just a before and after. So that was an immediate point to Shadowlands. 

The killer thinks that Rory is plain. She's into science and math. She wants to be a doctor after her mother tragically succumbed to cancer years earlier. She's also a third place cross country runner but I guess third place isn't note-worthy enough for our killer. The only unique thing about her that he sees is her hair and you know he does something creepy with it... He thinks he's got her but she has other plans. 

After escaping, the FBI has send Rory and her family to live in a secure location while our killer continues to track her. Juniper Landing is a vacation town where people come and go. It doesn't feel like the locals want Rory to go though. No, as soon as she gets on the ferry to Juniper Landing Rory gets this weird (very accurate) vibe from the locals who all just stare at her. These people are obsessed with this girl. Not Darcy, who is the stereotypical girl who needs attention and Rory's sister. Darcy, was part of the book that felt... well stereotypical. She might have some depth to her somewhere... but right now no one pays attention to her which I find hilarious and makes me do the same. 

Of course, Rory, our main character, is the special one. She has these weird flashbacks and seems to notice things that no one else does. I didn't mind that. I thought seeing everything going on through her eyes made me paranoid too. What could possibly be happening? My mind was always going, trying to create theories. That was the best part of the book. I thought originally that the mention of all these boys especially Joaquin who was this very cocky guy that only saw Rory but Darcy was infatuated with, was going to make this story less appealing. And at first it did. The mention of the main love interests high cheekbones bothered me so much. I've never gotten why high cheekbones were something in YA boys that needed to showcased. How are high cheekbones hot anyways? Whatever. Well back to my point, Joaquin seemed one dimensional but I kind of see something in the future with him. I doubt anything happens because the Golden Boy is usually what author's tend to pick for their special girls. Tristan also became interesting. He constantly stares at Rory like everyone does but the reason isn't as creepy as you might think. It's very intentional. They are all watching her for a reason. All those with a leather bracelet around their wrist.

The mystery alone is worth giving Shadowlands a try. It gets more and more curious as the story goes on. The only thing that might be a problem is the "romance" part of it, but it wasn't that big of a deal for me because I was more focused on what was happening with the town. Shadowlands was much more than I could have hoped for. I'm pumped to read Hereafter.

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