Shadowlands by Kate Brian | Book Review

Shadowlands by Kate Brian (Shadowlands #1)
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Format: Hardcover
Genre: YA, Thriller, Supernatural
Publication Date: 8 January, 2013
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 picked this book up purely based on the reactions it was getting. I love a book that can mess with my mind, and I was told this one was a doozy. So I checked it out from the library, and settled in for the read.

And, well...I wanted to like it. It starts off great, with Rory, the MC, barely escaping from her would-be murderer. There's a creepy chapter from the serial murderer himself, that makes your skin crawl--something that happens sporadically throughout the book. And then everything goes downhill, starting with the most infuriating reaction from the MC's father and sister. From the start, the father is demeaning towards, and uncooperative with, the FBI. He even goes to far as to have an outburst of anger at his daughter for walking alone in the woods, and almost getting herself killed. Way to blame the victim, dad! The sister is also angry, but only because she can no longer go to the party she was planning on going to, and later gets more upset at her sister--the victim--because they have to go into witness protection because of her.

During this time, the FBI is there and doing a horrible job. I can't claim to have first-hand knowledge of the workings of the FBI and the witness protection program, but there are a couple things I am pretty sure would never happen:
1.) The boy who picked her up in the beginning as she was running from the murderer, effectively saving her, would never have been able to just drop her off at her house full of police vehicles and FBI personnel, and drive away without even being questioned.
2.) With a serial killer bent on retribution on the loose, I don't think the family would have been given a car and sent off to a safe house alone, and with no one planning to meet them at the actual safe house to make sure they make it alright/get settled in. I think the FBI is more cautious than that.

Lastly, I couldn't handle anything that happened after that. The mysterious inhabitants of the town they end up in, the staring, the whispering, the secret club that seems to know something about Rory, the strange occurrences, the boy who seems to be able to read Rory's thoughts, and on, and on.... The 'clues' are about as subtle as Thor's hammer. I could see the cleverness behind the crazy plot twist, and I really wanted to feel something for the characters when it came. Unfortunately, I had not only already figured it out (spoiler: >>the biggest clue is the title!<<), but I had grown to despise the characters so much, that I really didn't care.

It's an easy read, and I read it in just a few hours. If it had been done differently/been more subtle/had more character development, I would have loved it. As it is, I can't recommend it.

Temp. Guide

Content Warning
*This section may contain some spoilers about content!*
Highlight between the brackets to reveal the text.
{Includes disturbing thoughts of a murderer, a few graphic scenes, underage drinking, and a few swear words.}

Other Books in the Series:
Book 2: Hereafter

Purchase Shadowlands:
Kate Brian:
Website  /  Twitter  /  Facebook


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