10 September 2015

Shadows (Rephaim Series)–Paula Weston

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Shadows - Paula Weston
Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Release Date: January 3rd 2013
My Rating:
Love. Nightmares. Angels. War. A fast-paced, compelling debut novel from a fresh new voice in YA.

It’s been 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 received a copy of this book from NetGalley for review but it in no way affects my opinions.
I read this series in a matter of days and I can honestly say it was fantastic. I don’t know if I have a bad word to say about it because it was utterly breath-taking. So much so this series has left me with a slight book hangover that risks driving me into a reading slump because I just do not know what to do after reading these books. I am only going to be reviewing the first book because to review the rest of the books in the series risks spoilers from me, but I will tell you this. If you commit to reading the next book in the series it is a slippery slope into binge reading the series.

I am going to hold my hands up and say that there is something about books which feature angels which I like, I attempted to read the Hush Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick and the Fallen series by Lauren Kate back at uni, but they just failed to hook me. I feel like the Rephaim series is what these books should have been trying to be, instead they attempted to be more like Twilight.

I don’t want to reveal too much, but I feel like I probably have revealed a lot simply by mentioning angels in relation to this book, but I feel like you can’t not mention them because this is the central part of the entire series.

I think the reason I found this series so addictive is the fact it was so fast paced, once the book gets going it does not stop and you go right along with it. Reading each chapter as quickly as possible eager to know what is going to happen next. Weston writes such a gripping novel, and that is what I love. This book also doesn’t end on too much of a cliffhanger, unlike the other books in the series. This book is the perfect first book for a series by introducing the characters, setting the scene and the world in which they all inhabit and giving you a feel for the characters without overwhelming you. I think the fact the majority of books end with a cliffhanger probably helped my reading along a bit, as well. I quite literally said ‘wtf is this shit’ when it came to the ending of the second book and the third, and that kind of reaction to an ending inevitably means you must immediately begin the next books. I’m glad I’ve read them all after the series was finished because I could not cope with those cliffhangers.

The characters in this book aren’t groundbreaking, but they are likable. Gaby is the jaded girl coping with her grief of losing her twin before having her entire world shaken up by the fact the person she has been dreaming about is in fact real, and he has some huge secrets to reveal about her past. Gaby was easy to like because she reacts much like anyone else would in those circumstances, she denies it and becomes greatly concerned about those around her once she realises there may be come truth in what is being said about her. In later books she has a massive identity crisis that anyone can understand ‘am I good person and do people actually like me?’ is an issue anyone can understand. Then there is Rafa, the mysterious guy that seems to know more about Gaby than she does (yes, this does sound stalkerish, but he isn’t. Honest) and can I just say it is very easy to fall for that boy. He is, obviously, the main love interest, but he is also the main link to Gaby’s past so he serves an actual purpose beyond being some sexy hot dude there to save the day.

Can I just say that Maggie and Gaby’s friendship is one of my favourite bookish friendships, sure, it is quite reminiscent of other bookish friendships in book series like this one, but it was so nice. Maggie was the new friend who is seeking independence from her mother by moving out and living her life with her new friend Gaby. Gaby is the mysterious girl who has a whole history neither them even know about yet and poor Maggie gets caught in the middle of everything. Sure, she struggles at times in this new world, she has very genuine fears and concerns, but she is there for Gaby when she needs her. And Gaby slowly learns how to put her trust in someone again after losing her brother and best friend, and you can see she is slowly learning to open up and it is Maggie she does this with. Maggie is the first to hear about her feelings about things and the first to notice when Gaby is self sabotaging and she is there to talk about feelings. These two together are fantastic and it was one of the highlights for the series for me, because I love books with solid friendships, I really do.

My final thing I want to get excited about is the fact this book is set predominantly in Australia! There are not enough series which are set outside of America, or even Europe, so it was nice to read a book somewhere completely different. I don’t recall ever reading a book set in Australia and the only thing I wanted to do was sit out in the sun and soak this book up. Sadly, the British weather didn’t want to help because it is cold out, but oh well.

As a whole this book is fantastic, the plot is different, not ground-breaking, but definitely holds its own and the characters are great. You get a perfect romance, great friendships, some mystery and drama and action! And best of all? The book is set somewhere different! The series as a whole is perfectly addictive. I cannot recommend this book and the rest to you enough. If you like paranormal fantasy of the young adult variety you will probably enjoy this. Eve better, the fourth book in the series had very recently been published, or at least the Kindle edition has, so you can read it all in one go.

Have you read the Rephaim series (I know I’m late to the game on this one) and what were your thoughts about it? What was the last series you found yourself binge reading? Also, any suggestions on what to read next are welcome as I try to get back in a reading groove.

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