Tuesday, November 19, 2013

REVIEW: SHADOWLANDS (Shadowlands, #1) by Kate Brian

Title: Shadowlands
Series: Shadowlands, #1
Author: Kate Brian
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: January 8, 2013
Genre: Young Adult
Reviewed by: Books4Tomorrow
Source: Purchased
My rating: 3/5


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 can’t honestly tell if this was a really fantastic read or not, because the ending left me completely confused and bewildered. It was more a “what the....?” than a “oh wow.”  No seriously, I’m still all...what just happened????

The first quarter or so of the story is a little rough around the edges and feels hastily put together. Events don’t really flow smoothly and it took me quite some time to really get into the swing of things. Even now that’s it’s all over, I can honestly say that I haven’t connected with any of these characters, yet I was captivated enough by the plot to finish Shadowlands in less than a day. Only the very last sentence confirmed what I had already suspected, but I actually expected more a whopper of a reveal.

I pretty much have an idea of what’s going for what, but I’m still left with a ton of questions; my biggest question being how the heck it all came together. You know, usually after a big reveal you have that light bulb moment where all the events starts making sense and you finally understand how everything fit together to give that big reveal a bit more bang. But it just never happened for me, because I’m still curious as to know why Rory, specifically, was the centre point focus for all the locals of Juniper Landing, and why her sister who lives to be the life of the party, was practically being ignored by the locals. I have about twenty more questions, but I don’t want to include spoilers.

Enough about my confusion. After a slow start, I really immersed myself into the story once Rory, her sister Darcy, and their father, moved into their new house on the island. From the time they leave the ferry, the eeriness of the island and the strangeness of its inhabitants is captured beautifully. And because I’m a fan of horror and everything that goes bump in the night, I was more curious about all the strange disappearances, the sudden fog, and the island locals’ mysterious behavior, than I was worried about the serial killer stalking Rory and her family. You’d think as the biggest threat to Rory’s life the serial killer will have a few more chapters from his perspective, but no, he’s placed on the shelf until he’s needed to do what it is he has to do.

Overall, it was a suspenseful read and I breezed through it. But what spoiled it for me was the frustration of getting to the end and not understanding how it all came together. It wasn’t explained at all. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time from the minute the Millers left their home to move to Juniper Landing, and I was completely creeped out by a handful of events that occurred during their stay on the island until the very finale, but I felt let down that the villian came to such an abrupt ending, and really, I don’t even understand what happened to him in the end. I get that this is the first book in this series, and I’m hoping book two will have more answers than the mountain of questions the first book left me with, although I’m of the opinion that this story could’ve been told in one book without it being dragged out into a series.

My recommendation: a gripping read which I think will be enjoyed by most of the younger readers in the YA spectrum. I especially recommend Shadowlands to those who enjoyed Gretchen McNeil’s Ten.


Shadowlands by Kate Brian has 417 reviews on Goodreads. Read it here.



I am a total Jersey girl. I grew up in Bergen County, went to Rutgers University, lived in Hoboken for a year (requisite post-college party time) and then moved back to Bergen, got married, and bought a house ten minutes from where I grew up. I graduated from Rutgers with a double major in English and Journalism, worked as an Editor for four years, then decided I liked writing better and struck out on my own. You've been reading my books ever since!

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