Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Review: Shadowlands by Kate Brian

Kate Brian
Series: Shadowlands #1
Publication date: January 8th 2013
by Hyperion

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 with her father and sister, Darcy, leaving their friends and family without so much as 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. But 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?
*A copy was provided by Disney Hyperion for review purposes*

I was already a fan of Kate Brian, but I never expected to love this book THIS much. Her Private series is a guilty pleasure of mine. It may not be the next great American novel, but it's a fun "mean-girls" type series with short installments that are filled with scandals, drama, and murder. When I went into Shadowlands, I expected something along the same lines but with a more thriller feel to it. What I got, was a complete mind-shattering plot that made me guess until the end (you have to understand how rare this is!), and left my adrenaline on high for hours afterwards. Seriously, what an intense ride!

“He’s never failed to finish a job before. Only one other victim escaped from him, and two weeks later he broke into her house and killed her entire family.”
-Quoted from the uncorrected proof 
We meet Rory in the most shocking of ways when she's struggling against a murderer in the middle of the woods. Escaping means being put under witness protection after learning his notorious ways of getting away--without fail--for over a decade. As far as YA thrillers go, this is definitely one of the most intense I have yet to read. We're taken on a tension-filled hide and seek game against a serial killer, one where not only do we fear every second knowing we haven't seen the last of him, but the regular glances at his perspective shows us exactly how close he is to getting what he wants. This makes things especially terrifying. Not that bizarre fog and unexplained happenings in a creepy little isolated town aren't enough.

This town they are sent to is an island of sorts, a vacation town where everything seems perfect, at least at first. Rory soon notices things are amiss, however, when she keeps spying one of the local guys constantly lurking around her. Then, people start disappearing. It's a murder mystery inside a brilliantly befuddling mind game where I, personally, had NO idea what was happening. Some readers mentioned they had guessed the ending, but as someone who almost always predicts what's going to happen, I was excited to have been blissfully ignorant until about 5 pages from the end. The answer we got had not even crossed my mind. That alone made me love this book. The ending itself: Excellent! It may not be a plot that authors haven't attempted before, but none enraptured me as much as Brian did with Shadowlands. 

Seeing as it's the beginning of the series leaves me wondering what Brian is planning for book 2. I imagine we'll go deeper into the revelation, and get answers to lingering questions; all I know is that this chick *points at self* will not miss it! 

5 Hot Espressos