Shadows by Paula Watson


The Rephaim #1

Paula Weston

Text Publishing (July 2012)

ISBN: 9781921922503

Reviewed by Trisha Buckley

11+

Readers need to enter this extremely effective Australian paranormal romance almost totally spoiler free, so I’ll take care here not to give too much away. Weston structures the narrative so the main character, Gaby Winters, learns about a new world quite slowly, and readers stay with her the whole way. Sometimes in this type of book we’re privy to more information than the main character, but all the way through Shadows I felt as Gaby — off-kilter, out-of-step, and frustrated — and this made the reading even more absorbing.

The characters are realistic, with few over-the-top or melodramatic actions. Gaby’s choices make sense given the disruptions to her life, and the shocks she must endure. Her continued grief about her dead brother grounds Shadows in reality despite its paranormal elements.

There is often humour to balance the tension, and the two-way tussle over Gaby’s affection isn’t too mushy. The setting is a small coastal town, seemingly in Queensland, so the hint of salty sea breezes and the mountains encroaching onto the beaches is a welcome change to generic American landscapes. Australian teenagers deserve some quality fiction with which they can identify.

This is the first in a new series, so there is more to come, and loose ends to explore. I’m very keen to see what the future holds for Gaby, her friends, and her enemies. Highly recommended.

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