Sunday, 22 July 2012

Shadows


Shadows (Rephaim) Shadows (Rephaim) by Paula Weston (Text Publishing)
PB RRP $19.99 
ISBN 9781921922503
Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

Gaby Winters describes her hair as ‘… dark and hard to manage. A bit like me.’ But she's not what she appears to be and even she doesn't know why. On the surface she is a physically and emotionally scarred nineteen year old, recently arrived in the idyllic Pandanus Beach following the death of her twin brother Jude. But why does she dream about hell cats, corpses and decapitations? And when tough but sexy Raf turns up in town and seems to know her, can she trust him?

This fast paced story doesn’t leave us wondering long. Supported by her hippy friend Maggie, Gaby discovers a world of fallen angels, outcasts and demons, where ‘shifting’ from one place to another can heal wounds. Gaby, whose memory has been mysteriously wiped, learns that she is over a hundred years older than she looks and can only be killed by having her head chopped off. There is also a possibility Jude may be alive. Then Maggie is kidnapped and the fighting begins.

Shadows is suitable for older readers, over the age of fifteen. The fight scenes are quite graphic, for example: ‘My arm and neck are sticky with blood. I roll over, crawl along the ground, trying not to give myself away. I’m not slinking away: I want Jude’s sword.’ The scenes set in Pandanus Beach, where Gaby hangs out in an organic food cafe, runs in the rainforest and works in a library, are a nice contrast and show a softer side to her character.

This is the first book in a new series called the Rephaim and it leaves plenty of loose ends to follow up in the next instalment. While there is hope Jude is alive, there is still no sign of him. Gaby and Raf are still far from together, despite having shared steamy embraces and a couple of rather well-written kisses. There is some resolution at the end however, not just a 'to be continued'.

This is Paula Weston’s first novel and I highly recommend it. It’s engaging and has an interesting heroine.  We can all look forward to the second book in the Rephaim series when it comes out.  

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