Shadowlands by Kate Brian | Book Review


Pages: 336 pages

Publisher: Hyperion

Format: Hardcover

Source: Library

Age Group: Young Adult



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?

Rating: Great Suspenseful Thriller

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I’ve always had this weird fascination with crime shows like Criminal Minds, NCIS, Castle, Hannibal, Dexter, & etc. I don’t why or how this fascination began, but I’ve been watching crime shows for a long time. Yet, I’ve managed to spend most of my life avoiding the book genre of thriller. I find thriller books to be much scarier than crime shows or scary movies. My recent love of scary movies has triggered some kind of brilliant idea in my mind to give thriller novels a try which might or might not leave me scarred. Before I actually read any of the intense thriller stuff, I decided to give YA thriller a chance because that can’t be that bad, right?

Well, Shadowlands has no problem starting off with a BANG! I mean we’re thrown right into the middle of the action. The infamous serial killer, Steven Nell, is attempting to murder Rory. My attention was captivated the moment I flipped the first page. I was there with Rory struggling to escape Steven Nell’s clutches and I was there being a paranoid mess right beside her. I was totally in love and completely obsessed with the intense beginning of Shadowlands.

Then, there’s Juniper Landing. It’s the picture-perfect of a vacation island that one would visit to just get away from everything. It’s the location where Rory and her family have been sent. On this seemingly normal island, there is a group of gorgeous teens who sweep Rory and her sister, Darcy, into their group. Everything seems perfect… But, Steven Nell is still out there and Rory cannot shake off this feeling that he’s watching her every move. Plus, Rory has a feeling that there’s more to this group of gorgeous teens that meets the eye. Juniper Landing is also the place where Shadowlands began to slow down for me. The intensity from the almost-murder had cooled down and the pace of the story had decelerated. Instead, we’re left being unbelievably paranoid and pointing fingers at anything that seems out of place.

Something that really bugged me throughout Shadowlands was the fact that it seemed like no one was actually panicking besides Rory. Every time Rory would get a teensy paranoid, her family would just brush it off. I mean seriously! The girl just was attacked by a serial killer! Can’t she just be a bit paranoid?!?! And, I mean if your daughter or sister was almost killed wouldn’t you be freaking it?!?! I know, I’d be a paranoid freak who wouldn’t trust a single stranger. I know… Haha I might have been a bit overly dramatic, but you get the point.

Oh, and I just want to mention my mixed feelings about the ending. There is in fact a sequel to Shadowlands which I was not expecting. I could have seen Shadowlands being this perfectly great stand-alone novel, yet I was surprised by the somewhat cliffhanger ending. Actually, the ending was one of my major problems with the book. I just found it to be really random and unexpected. The ending left me utterly flabbergasted and I could not stop talking about it. I mean if that was the goal, then bravo Kate Brian! Because Shadowlands was stuck in my mind for quite a while. But, personally I wasn’t the biggest fan.

Shadowlands really captured my attention from the start, but I was slightly disappointed throughout the rest of the book and left completely bewildered by the ending. The characters didn’t leave much of a lasting impression, but that was fine since most of my attention was directed towards the plot of the book itself which was stunning. I would definitely recommend Shadowlands if you’re looking for a suspenseful, creepy thriller that has you on the edge of your seat the entire time and haunts your thoughts long afterwards.


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