Publication Date: January 8, 2013
Source: Received from Stephanie @ Once Upon a Chapter
Status: First in Brian’s new Shadowlands series.
Genre: YA Paranormal, Gothic, Thriller
Other Info: Kate Brian is also the author of Megan Meade’s Guide to the McGowan Boys and the Private Series.
Description and link from Goodreads):
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?
I was excited about Shadowlands for two reasons. One: witness protection! Two: Gothic! An automatic recipe for success. You would think. Sadly, Shadowlands fails on both counts and, on top of that, the writing is mediocre and the plotting worse. Even though the book starts right in the middle of the action, more than once I found myself asking, “That’s it?” You know you’ve got problems when your villain underwhelms, which Steven Nell totally did. For a deranged sociopath, he’s dumb and kind of boring. Maybe I’ve read too many adult thrillers, but I like my sociopaths to be sociopaths, you know? Not slightly-over-the-top-stalkers. Just saying.
And because Steven Nell is so meh, this takes away from the urgency of the plot. Not to mention the Witness Protection should-be-awesomeness. Even Rory’s family is unimpressed. Rory’s father and her sister Darcy could not have been less-concerned with her brush with death or the fact that some guy is, you know, intent on killing her. Not that I’d be too sad to see the last of Rory, either. She’s a judgmental party-pooper and a downer. No wonder Stephen Nell wants to kill her.
Furthermore, there are tons of glaring plot-holes and missing details. Rory and company go into hiding by themselves with no help from the FBI or other authorities. Then they never hear from them or wonder why they haven’t been in touch. There are none of the 1,001 minor little details that would make being in witness protection so wrought with tension. I’m supposed to be from Manhattan? BUT I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT MANHATTAN! Oh, wait, that’s right! THEY CHANGED MY LAST NAME! Mr. So-and-So was talking to me!
Instead, Rory and Darcy go to parties and meet guys. Oh, and did I mention that All The Guys like Rory? Even the gay ones. She’s the most attractive unattractive younger sister around. And speaking of the guys, the one I liked best was the one that was supposed to be a jerk. And I didn’t even like him all that much. But that’s totally cool because a great male lead would be wasted on Rory.
I’m actually kind of surprised I read this book all the way to the end (which, by the way, is groan-worthy). I can’t think of a single person I’d recommend this book to. It’s worse than bad, it’s mediocre. I realize that this review has been scathing, but I did try to come up with something positive to say. I just couldn’t think of anything. I had previously been interested in reading Megan Meade’s Guide to the McGowan Boys, but that’s off. I’ll be striking Kate Brian off my to-read list for quite a while.
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