on 16 July 2015
Firstly I’d like to point out that these books are numbered incorrectly on Amazon. The order of the books are as follows:
Shadows is book 1 – incorrectly listed on Amazon as book 3
Haze is book 2 – correctly listed on Amazon
Shimmer is book 3 – incorrectly listed on Amazon as book 1
Burn is book 4 – correctly listed on Amazon
Secondly I’m writing this one review to cover all four books as I’ve read them in quick succession and I can’t quite separate one from the other right now without referring back to them. As such this review will be completely spoiler free as I know I would have been so disappointed if I’d accidentally stumbled across a spoiler for this series, it’s too good for spoilers. I won’t give you a description of what the books are about as you can pick that up from the blurb. What I will do is give you my thoughts and emotions on the book.
I’ve said before I wish the Goodreads and Amazon would give the option of a six star review but limit the amount of times it could be given so people didn’t waste it, a bit like the golden buzzer in Britain’s Got Talent. You would use this only on those occasions that a book really exceeded all expectations, when you felt like you’d lived the book, when you felt like the characters were your friends and family and you went through every emotion right there with them. If I could give this book six stars and a golden buzzer I wouldn’t hesitate.
I’ve had this book on my wishlist for a while. I’ve hummed and ahhed and felt unsure whether (a) I wanted to commit to another series and (b) would it fulfil my expectations. So five days ago, having been given a gift voucher for Amazon, I decided to take the plunge. I have spent the last five days in this story, five days of leaving dishes piling up in the sink, eating toast because it’s too time consuming to cook a proper meal, getting the bus into work rather than walking, all because I haven’t been able to put this series down. If I’d been able to book a day off work to read then I would have, no worries about wasting a day of my holiday. This series was better than awesome. I’m both saddened and relieved to have finished it. Sad because I have to say goodbye to characters I feel really attached to, but relieved because my life can start again now. It’s been a fantastic read from start to finish. I started the first book with trepidation, as I always do when I have high hopes for a book. And I’ll admit as first impressions went the first few chapters weren’t doing it for me. I thought it was going to be another one of those insta-love situations with lame characters, cheesy writing and no doubt flimsy plot. If it hadn’t been for the good reviews I’d read I probably would have given up quite quickly. But I pushed on and I’m so, so glad I did as I couldn’t have been more wrong. Once I got past that first bit of the book everything kicked in perfectly. As the story progressed it was obvious why the book started the way it did and it fitted into the bigger story really well.
The characters are well fleshed out and developed nicely through the books, everyone had a voice of their own, a story to tell and all had their own complexities. In addition to the main characters I got to know all the supporting cast too and I’ll miss them all. The relationships were both complex and fun. And the romance was perfect. No insta love, no swooning or mooning to be had anywhere. I loved Rafa and Gaby (oh how I loved Rafa, he’s right up there fighting for top spot on my list of book boyfriends). They are full of attitude and the dialogue between them was fun. They have this complex history of distrust and anger between them which confuses Gaby during the first couple of books (as you’ll know from the blurb she has no memory of who she really is) and this was paced well throughout the series. Answers aren’t given quickly in this series and you are always looking forward to finding out more. And that doesn’t just apply to the romance, it applies to everything from the plot and background story, the action and the relationships between the rephailm. The rephailm are split into two groups, divided by years of distrust and violence, yet they all also have history and you just know it wasn’t always this way.
Usually with a series of books there is always one that is that little bit less than the others, one that you feel was maybe just a gap filler for the sake of extending the series and could have been easily condensed into the other books. Not with this series; every book was relevant and interesting and just the right length. Each book picks up exactly where the last one finished and flowed perfectly. At the start of each new book Paula Weston has done an excellent job of reminding the reader of where each book as left off without being boring or repetitive, just in case you’ve had to wait a while for the next book to come out. That wasn’t a problem for me as I started each new book as soon as I’d finished the last. Everything was brilliantly thought out and delivered.
The last book was just the most amazing end to the series. Nothing was rushed or brushed over. I’m sure whilst I was reading the last 30-40% my facial expression would have mirrored that of the painting ‘the scream’! The tension was high and the action fast paced and full on. I really had no idea what would happen next and my emotions were all over the place.
There are four books in total, with the last one being released on 6 August here in UK but I managed to get a copy as it’s already been released in Australia (and I just couldn’t wait the three weeks for it to be released here). So to sum it up, if you haven’t started this series yet and are wondering whether to give it a go, please do. Paula Weston has bumped right to the top of my favourite author list and deserves more recognition.
Gaby Winters is still haunted by the car crash that killed her twin brother, Jude, a year earlier and left her broken and scarred. Despite her grief, she is slowly putting her life back together in the small seaside town of Pan Beach, away from her family and former life.
But every night she dreams about killing demons, a beautiful and brutal man by her side.
When Rafa turns up for real, Gaby begins to realise that everything she thought she knew about her past is a dream and the truth might actually be closer to her nightmares.
This is another fantastic YA supernatural romance. From the very first page I was swept up in the story and the pace and force of the writing never let me go.
Shadows is beautifully written; the author manages to construct both gorgeous descriptions and blistering action with a deft touch. Although this book deals with the supernatural, the emotional core of the story is grounded in reality, with Gaby struggling to deal with the loss of her twin brother and rebuild her life in a new place. Her emotions are raw and powerful, but totally believable.
Gaby's relationships are also central to the novel, and they are brilliantly rendered. She lives with best friend Maggie, a free-spirit who alternates between caring and partying as required. When Rafa appears, Gaby is thrown straight into a complicated will they-won't they romance, as she begins to discover more about her past life and the person she used to be.
My main issue with this genre is always when the male love interest treats the girl with scorn and abuse, yet she still seems willing to fall for him and make any sacrifice the plot requires. The character of Rafa fits nicely into that stereotype, yet he isn't a bad guy. He and Gaby at times have a very tender relationship and although he plays up his image as a bad boy, he does actually care for and protect her, which makes me root for the relationship even more.
This novel is primarily set in Australia, which I felt gave the novel a totally different feel as it manages to have an undertone of humour and the characters embody the relaxed surfer lifestyle, before the action kicks in.
I powered through this book in one evening and can't wait for the sequel.
on 1 March 2016
(I wrote this a while ago)
I can’t believe this. Where has this amazingly brilliant story been all my life? I have not read an angel/demon book as good as this in a long, long LONG time, and seen as I’ve read some pretty good ones recently, that’s saying something. I mean, Amazon was hiding this from me, clearly.
Paula Weston has made angels something new, refreshing and not at all predictable. Yeah, sure, they have some similar traits to what we’ve probably read before, but the characters, the pacing, the plot…all so captivating. I didn’t want to stop, I was so sucked in.
Gaby Winters is what I would call a normal human being. Except for the fact, she’s not.
She’s had her memories wiped, and because of this she doesn’t know any of the mysterious people coming to find her, and what I love most is she doesn’t just cower and do what she’s told. She puts her foot down, she tells them again and again what she wants, what she doesn’t want. She stands by her morals. She won’t just go along with what others say she is or how she should behave. Oh no. Gaby has a mind of her own. I love it.
Then you have Maggie, her best friend. A friend who has been with Gaby for a good year or more, and sticks by Gaby through pretty much everything that is thrown their way in this book. I wish I had a friend that dedicated. When Maggie gets “taken”, Gaby will do anything to get her back without a hair out of place.
Rafa. What can I say? He’s hot, he’s fierce, he’s loyal, and for some weird reason he has morals. I like the dude. He’s trying to help Gaby restore her memories, but from the readers angle (oops, nearly wrote ‘angels’) it seems not for selfish reasons. He was good friends with Jude, Gaby’s twin brother, and since he’s also missing, Rafa wants to help. Of course, there is for the most part, an ulterior motive behind this in that they are trying to understand what happened between Jude and Gaby before things went wrong. This is basically the underlining question for the whole book, but definitely not the only question you as the reader or even the characters find themselves asking.
Gaby is left with a ton of unanswered questions and I’m sure eventually they’ll be answered.
There are so many characters in this that it’s hard to name and shame them (haha) but I can’t really fault any, for they each add a different piece to the puzzle, or at least, they all add something. I suppose there was one person that really grated on my nerves: Simon.
I found him clingy, annoying, nosy, just EW get away and let them do their job! lol But yeah.
Asides from all that, I can’t recommend this highly enough and if you’ve ever had your doubts when it comes to angel stories, please PLEASE give this one a go. It will blow your mind. There’s just so many elements to this: the right amount of romance, plenty of kick butt action, some humour (mostly good lines from Rafa), bitchiness and drama. I have just bought Haze, the sequel to Shadows, and I plan on digging into this tonight. Bring it on!
on 9 September 2014
It's been almost a year since the car crash that killed Gaby's twin brother.
Across a crowded bar Gaby sees the man of her dreams, literally. Rafa not only looks exactly like the guy who's been appearing in her dreams, he claims a history with her brother that makes no sense.
Now Gaby is forced to accept that what she thought she knew about herself is just a shadow of the truth - and the truth is more likely to be found in her nightmares.
Shadows was just what I was looking for. It is a typical teen fiction book that I just fall all over. Realistic, funny characters, a serious plot that's complicated but I can still follow it and a kick-ass protagonist who I fell in love with at once. And to top it all off a supernatural element. Yes please.
First of all, while I was looking through my bookshelf deciding what to read next, my plan was to just read the blurb and the first paragraph. Then based on that I was going to decide which sounded the most exciting and read that. However, I picked up Shadows and the first paragraph wasn't enough. I sat and read the whole first chapter and decided all my other books could wait.
This didn't really change the whole way through the book. I could hardly put the thing down. I read chapter after chapter after chapter, having no desire whatsoever to put it down. It was just so easy to read and so difficult to only read the one chapter. Every character, every line of dialogue, every action intrigued me. I just couldn't get enough of Gaby, who I fell in love with instantly. She was so real and relatable and not at all annoying in any shape or form.
Shadows was a total joy to read. I just connected with this book entirely and had a blast! I hadn't realised how much I missed reading books written in the first person present tense and I think that made the whole thing even more enjoyable. I can't remember the last book I read that was written in this way, and it's one of my favourite styles too!
The only possible thing I have to say about Shadows that is negative is that if you put it down for too long - I put it down for a week while I spent time with my cousins - once you come back to it, there seems to be too many characters and too much gong on that you don't know about. Gaby spends the majority of the book having no idea what's going on or why for most things. This is fine up until you take a break and then have no idea what to think when you come back. I even had to backtrack to remember who some people were and I hate doing that. But even so, I couldn't stop reading.
I give this book an overall 9/10.
Would I recommend it? Yes. It was brilliant and I enjoyed every page.
Would I look up the author? Yes. I'm definitely going to read the other books in the series!
on 19 September 2013
A lot goes on in Shadows by Paula Weston but I have the feeling that this is a series which will be well worth following.
Gaby survived the car accident that her twin brother Jude died in and a year later she is still grieving and her memories of both the accident and their lives before the accident are still pretty much a blank.
After posting online some stories based on the strange and violent dreams she has been recently having one of the men from her dreams known as Rafa strangely arrives in Pan Beach and claims to both know her and her brother and demands to know how Jude died and why Gaby survived. With photographs on his phone to prove he was a friend of her brother Gaby can't understand why she has never even heard of Rafa and things get even stranger for Gaby when she is attacked by 2 other people who arrived out of nowhere but seem to know her and demand that she tells them why she betrayed them. Everyone seems to expect that Gaby will fight back but she doesn't know how and has to be eventually rescued by Rafa.
It becomes clear to Gaby that she's had a waaaay more interesting life than she previously thought in short, the life she thought she had in Pan Beach has all been a lie and that some unknown person has wiped her memories and created new ones for her.
See what I mean about a lot going on? It's here the world building in Shadows gets even more interesting. Basically, Semyala was the leader of the fallen angels and they broke out of hell 140 years ago and for a 48 hour period partied hard and impregnating virgin girls and then disappeared never to be found again despite a hoard of demons searching for them. The resulting offspring including Rafa, Gabe and Jude are immortal half angels who can shift from place to place in the blink of an eye and are known as the Rephaim. The Rephaim which seem to have divided into 2 factions with Gabe and her brother on opposing sides, continue to search for their fallen angels fathers willing to hand them over once found to the angelic host as way of convincing the angels that the Rephaim are not a threat to mankind unlike their fathers. I have to say once I got my head around all of this I was more than intrigued. I loved the little twist that Rafa and Jude appeared to be on one side with Gabe firmly on the other especially since Gabe now has to rely on Rafa until her memories come back their flirty frenemies relationship was particularly delicious especially with Gabe's ex-boyfriend still in the equation.
Overall, Shadows does suffer a little bit from the dreaded first in a series syndrome with quite a lot of necessary world building and character information. It took me a while to work out who was in what faction and why but in saying that, I really enjoyed the story. As I finished Shadows I had, like Gaby, a tonne of questions in my head. Who can Gaby really trust? Who wiped her memories and why? What has really happened to her brother? As a result I've already been straight off to Amazon to buy the next instalment Haze and I'm adding Shadows to my list of favourite Aussie YA books.
on 3 September 2013
I was not expecting to enjoy Shadows as much as I did because I've had a bad experience with Angel novels lately, however it was very enjoyable.
Shadows was so easy to read, not only was the book nice and floppy-I like floppy books!-but I would get immersed in this world and later realise that I'd read 150 pages or so, which is a lot for a slow reader like me.
I love books where you're thrown into a story because there's a lot about the characters past that you don't know. It also means that the world-building can go terribly wrong, because the narrator is not new to the story, yet it needs to be explained to the reader. However, Weston cleverly avoided this by having the best of both worlds and giving Gaby a memory problem, meaning she's learning the world with us, but technically, she's not new. This hopefully means that Weston can give us some prequel novellas and some insight into the story before Shadows, because she very carefully gave us enough information to keep me begging to know more about Gaby's past. I desperately want to know the past between her, Daniel and Rafa; and also Gaby and her brother Jude.
Gaby was an interesting character, because she had no idea who she was, exactly. She had little memory of her former life, and she was grieving for her twin brother. Although Gaby is 18, and this could technically be described as a YA novel, I really think it's more of a Paranormal Romance, simply in the way it's been written. Gaby was fairly helpless in this book, because fair enough, she's forgotten all of her fighting skills. She's not very savvy about this new world or how to fight. I really want to see her training with Rafa in the next instalment because I don't like my heroines completely useless! Rafa reminds me of Daemon from Jennifer L. Armentrout's Lux series, arrogant and not entirely explained yet. I can't wait to see more of his character!
The pace of Shadows starts off fairly slow, and gains speed about 100 pages in, but I feel this series has yet to reach it's full potential. I think Weston has a lot more in store for the next book. I hope that as the series goes on, more plot twists are revealed, as there were quite a few in Shadows that kept me entertained.
I don't think the world-building was that extensive, possibly not to overload us, but I'd really like to know more about the world.
Overall, I really enjoyed Shadows and I flew through it!
Rating: 4 Stars
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on 7 July 2013
Love. Nightmares. Angels. War
Conflicting emotions, instincts and truths collide inside Gaby's head as she tries to figure out who and what she is. What she thought she knew about herself is only a shadow of the truth, but Rafa, the man of her dreams - literally, she's been dreaming of him since the accident that killed her twin - strolls into town to shine a light into the dark abyss inside Gaby's head.
I haven't read very many books about angels (only The Demon Trappers series by Jana Oliver and the Hush Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick) so I didn't really know what to expect of Weston's twist on the genre. I enjoyed certain elements a lot and others not so much. I'm not sure if Weston's research into angels is accurate (it may well be) but it didn't quite line up with the information I've read about in other novels so I guess you'll find out when you read. :)
I'm going to get my nags out of the way first so that we don't end this review on a downer because I did actually enjoy this novel as a whole. My main concern about this book was that I felt as though I was being told a lot of the information rather than being shown it - I suppose it just could have been slightly more subtle; I know that the protagonist, Gaby, needed to be told some things but I just felt like a whole text book on the history of religion/demons/angels was being regurgitated from other characters so that I found it was hard to keep up.
Another nag is that this novel included some stronger language (The F word) which I totally don't mind, it's a YA novel and mature at that, but I think it should have been used more... strategically so that it had more of an effect rather than being dumped in dialogue every now and then.
My final little nag is that characters would say something like "You don't think?.." and another character would cut in and just nod and I'd be sat there like THINK WHAT?! Maybe it's just me being slow but I didn't like how I was supposed to be able to assume what the characters meant (this happened about 3 times throughout the novel).
Those nags aside, I really did enjoy this novel. I wasn't bored, though I wasn't utterly drawn in to start with either, but towards the end of the novel I grew more and more attached to the characters and now that I have turned the final page I am definitely craving more! The small mystery of who can I trust? is fun because Gaby is confused about herself and you're just as keen to find out the truth as much as she is; I mean who can you trust when you remember absolutely nothing?
The characterisation was what drove this story forward for me though (although there were some good, unpredictable twists throughout the plot too!) as the passion they have for what they believe in and each other is admirable. I love the 'thing' that goes on between Rafa and Gaby - whatever it is! I also loved the way the relationships between characters altered depending on their situations - allies are those who share the same enemy for sure in this novel.
My favourite character had to be Rafa! He was cool, cocky and oh so hot! *Swoons* He's one of those I really shouldn't but I will anyway kinda guys. He's been in Gaby's dreams since the accident and now he has waltzed into her life, aggravated her curiosity and stormed her heart.
I think fans of the genre should definitely give Weston's spin on Angels a go, I certainly enjoyed it.
3.5 Stars ***'
A year ago Gaby's whole life was changed by the loss of her twin brother, Jude. Every night she dreams of fighting demons, and every day she is haunted by her grief, and yet, she is starting to live again.
Until a stranger shows up, claiming to know Jude. And Gaby. A stranger that she's seen before - in her nightmares. Fighting alongside her against the demons.
But that's only the start of the strange goings on that this man - Rafa - brings with him. Everything is changing, and soon Gaby is left wondering if the life she thought she'd lost had ever even existed at all.
On no, not more fallen angels! Well, yes, sort of, in a roundabout way. But don't worry, Paula Weston's take on this overcrowded idea is a good one. There are angels and demons here, but they're merely background to the Rephaim, the abandoned offspring of the aforementioned fallen angels and human women. And they're on a mission rid the world of both their despised fathers and those pesky demons.
Suddenly exposed to all this is Gaby, a young woman who's been through a lot, but whose troubles are about to get worse. Luckily she's tough, strong and loyal to her friends. True, she can be a bit moody at times, and has plenty of snappish moments, but I couldn't help liking her and how she deals with the madness that engulfs her.
There's also the mysterious Rafa - beautiful, flirtatious and excellent in a fight. I like that there's too many unanswered questions between him and Gaby for there to be too much swooning on her part. Yes, he is sexy, but we're never quite sure how bad he really is - or how much is just terminal arrogance.
There's a nice big plot that bubbles in the background, linked tightly with what actually happened to Gaby and Jude, as well as the race to find out exactly what she knows. Despite being a fairly hefty book, I devoured this very quickly. The action is swift, but never rushed, and the revelations come out smoothly without seeming forced. Because this is only the first of the series this means there are tons of unanswered questions left at the end. Yet, somehow, I didn't care, it just left me all the more determined to read Haze.
Avoiding the majority of genre clichés (apart from the names) this book is smart, sexy, face-paced and absorbing. I can't really say why without giving too much away, but the mysteries will keep you reading right up to the end, and leave you wanting more. I hope the rest of the series is this good.
This is the first paranormal YA book I've read in a long time. It used to be my favourite genre, but then everything kind of blended together and nothing stood out for me besides existing series I was already reading. Shadows is like a breath of fresh air in an over-saturated market, and I urge any paranormal fiction fans to pick up a copy immediately. It's fast-paced and exciting, not to mention really well written. I'll admit I'm still surprised by how good it is!
Shadows opens with an intriguing premise and goes on to tell an original (yes, really!) story about fallen angels and demons. I was prepared for the usual run-of-the-mill romance mixed in with a few black wings, but wow was I wrong! There's tons of action, intricate supernatural lore and a rich history spanning centuries. There's also several twists and turns that I didn't see coming, including clever shocking moments and revelations that made me turn the pages faster than I usually do.
The main setting is Australia, which is where author Paula Weston is based. Her descriptions and enthusiasm for the locations used shows a love for the country, and I always find this helps immensely when setting a scene, especially in paranormal books. I also need to mention how cool Gaby and Rafa are - they particularly stood out for me. If they were real, I'd seek them out and ask to be their friends! They're pretty down to earth and normal considering everything they're going through and finding out, and I like that. Their realism sets this book apart from others of the same genre, making them characters I can't wait to read about again. They're also slightly older than what I'm used to which works very well for this book and its events. It's a refreshing change.
Shadows made me stay up way past my bedtime for two nights on the run, which is pretty unusual for me these days. I just had to know what happened next and couldn't bear to put it down - I kept saying "just one more chapter", which I know every book addict is familiar with! I'm really excited about the sequel, Haze, being published in June, and I haven't been this excited about a paranormal sequel for ages - it's one I'll be reading as soon as I get a copy. I can't recommend Shadows enough and I really hope it gets the readership it deserves. It's absolutely brilliant!
I love Aussie authors and settings, and I love paranormal Angel stories so when I heard about Shadows a book that features both I knew it would be a match made in heaven *cheesy pun totally intended* and so Shadows automatically became one of my most anticipated releases of 2013.
What surprised me with this novel was how mature it read. Our heroine Gaby is eighteen, lives with her best friend, and is out of school and working making Shadows appealing to an older YA/ New Adult audience. This wasn't something I was expecting and was a really pleasant surprise as I enjoyed the mature writing style and characters.
I've read a lot of Angel books over the years and I think with so many of them out there it's a tough genre to keep fresh and so I was really impressed that Paula Weston managed to add something new to the genre. Gaby thinks she is a normal girl, well normal regardless of her dreams about her killing demons every night with some hot guy she's never met ever since the accident that killed her twin brother. When Gaby meets Rafa the guy from her dreams she discovers that she's a descendent of fallen angels, a skilful demon fighter and holder of an important secret if only she could remember what it was. Her memories were altered on the night of the accident and she is in the centre of a war between the Rephaim who need her secret for either savour or destruction. Although Shadows covers themes that can be found in other Angel series I did find the overall plot to have a refreshing twist on the Angel legend.
What I loved most about Shadows were hands down the amazing characters and banter between them. I liked that Gaby wasn't a helpless heroine and I loved the chemistry between her and Rafa. Rafa was protective of Gaby but also gives her space to do her own thing. Their relationship was fiery but also very grown up and respectful and I felt like Paula Weston got the romance spot on. There was also a great cast of secondary characters like Maggie and Jason who I loved just as much as Gaby and Rafa.
Shadows was consistent throughout but the last part of the book really amps up the action and is full of twists that sets things up nicely for the sequel. A lot of questions have been raised in my mind and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next in Haze.