Review: Shadowlands by Kate Brian

Posted September 27, 2013 in Review / 4 Comments

shadowlands2Shadowlands (Shadowlands #1)
By Kate Brian
Published January 8th, 2013
328 pages
Young Adult | Mystery
Source: Received from Hyperion (thank you VERY much!)




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About the Book:

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 tell you nothing about this book except that it is creep-tastic, grisly, and the perfect read for NOW!!!  First off, it’s almost Halloween – time to get your scare on.  Second, it’s a mystery – you don’t want to know anything!

On the whole as a genre I don’t read many mystery books.  I get enough “mystery” out of my paranormal and urban fantasy stories.  So I don’t go looking for these types of books. 

But I noticed Shadowlands earlier this year, forgot about it, and then I had to have it when I read the synopsis again after noticing the second book, Hereafter, was coming out soon (it’s due out next Tuesday, October 1st).  I barreled through Shadowlands, rarely putting it down, because I had to know if my hunches were correct and if the story was going to go the way I thought it would.  Oh, and Kate Brian is a phenomenal writer, too!

Story / Tempo / World Building

Ms. Brian wastes absolutely no time getting the story off it’s feet.  Immediately you’re swept away with Rory as she’s running for her life from a serial killer obsessed with her.  In the beginning there’s a breather here and there for a bit of backstory about Rory and her sister Darcy’s life so far.  But mainly this story just flies by with the mystery and a lot of action.

There is a bit of a love interest (or two?) but it isn’t a big factor in the story.  Although… I am looking forward to the second book to see if anything happens between these boys and girls.


And when I say “boys and girls”, I mean there’s quite the group of teens that Rory and Darcy end up hanging out with on the island.  An eclectic mix, their leader seems to be Tristan and Krista, the mayor’s son and daughter.  There’s also Joaquin, the hot bartender/bad boy who, of course, Darcy has her eye on the first day.

Darcy, always the popular one in school, ends up being the odd one out on this island as all the teens seem to take an interest in Rory, especially Joaquin.  This only adds to the tension between Darcy and Rory as Rory takes the blame for her entire family having up and run from their home and their lives.

I was talking with my one of my work-besties, Nicole, about this book just today (she’s the YA librarian).  She gave me some great insight that I’m totally going to share but I do not claim to be all my thoughts (intellectual property, law, blah, blah…).  We were discussing why she really didn’t get into the book as much as I did; she shouldered through it mostly due to the hype.  Nicole was disappointed by the lack of character development in this book and I totally agree with her.  But where character development may have been missing for characters other than Rory (because I think she was “fleshed out” plenty) this book was more focused on the mystery and non-stop action of Rory trying to out run her stalker/serial killer.

I personally think it’s an art, or personal preference on the writer’s part, on how they’re going to balance their character’s development with the overall movement of the plot.

I happen to like how Ms. Brian balances her world building / story with her characters for Shadowlands.   I’ve also jumped on her fan-wagon for her sheer talent as a writer in being able to paint the vivid pictures of the story in my head.  Who needs television with Ms. Brian around to write for us?

Wow, again I ask… is there a review in here somewhere?  Or was this review so technical I just got lost on the way?  This is exactly why I’m not paid for my reviews!!!


Other Books in the Series:
















About Kristin

Kristin has to ensure she gets her minimal requirement of "happily ever after" books in between those books that contain cliffhangers and never-ending story arcs. It's for her family's sake. When not reading, she's homeshooling her 10-year old son, watching cartoons on TV, or taking a nap.

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