Saturday, January 12, 2013

Review: SHADOWLANDS by Kate Brian

Title: Shadowlands

Author: Kate Brian

Publication date: January 8th, 2013

Publisher: Hyperion

ISBN: 1423164830

Source: eBook copy from NetGalley and accepted by the publisher.

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 will try my utmost best on writing this review. I truly will. Hopefully, I'll get this right.

The beginning of Shadowlands is captivating, throwing us in right when the horror starts. Rory Miller took a shortcut through the woods to get home (at night, of course), a perfect place for a serial killer to lay his hands on her. Miraculously, she gets away. With the help of her sister Darcy's ex-boyfriend and Rory's crush, Chris, she gets home to her insensitive father and her sister.

The FBI comes and after a couple surprises, the whole family is whisked off to witness protection program. However, before they do go, they're informed that the man who attacked Rory is a serial killer who never fails. To her, he's Steven Nell, her favorite teacher. He loves the Beatles, is an encouraging teacher, and even gets Darcy to like his class. To the FBI, he's Roger Krauss, the man who has killed fourteen girls and the only other one who was able to escape ended up dead with her whole family.

How nice, huh?

They go to Juniper Landing, a quaint beach town revolved around vacationers and having a "good time." But this is when my review gets tricky.

I don't read a lot of thrillers. I usually read at night so the thought of being scared in the dark doesn't really appeal to me that much. But this book was actually really good. There were a couple short chapters that switched to Steven Nell's perspective. That point of view made the whole story creepier by showing what he's thinking and solidifying the fact that yes, he will get what he wants because he's going to make sure it happens. I could not wait to get back to another perspective of him just so I can dread and be nervous about what happens next.

Added on to that, there's the creepy fog and strange appearances of things that are associated with Nell. His favorite song "Long and Winding Road" appears along with a strip of his jacket, his bag filled with lighthouses, and other little, creepy things. Oh, and did I mention how this beach town is isolated? So fun!

Then the local boys keep staring at her instead of Darcy (which isn't normal in the slightest), Rory keeps hearing snippets of conversations that give her chills, and then BAM, like what it says in the synopsis, her friend disappears.

Personally, with the coyotes outside and my paranoid brain, I was getting creeped out. I didn't know what was going to happen. I guessed throughout the book and not until the end did I go, "Ohhhh..." Even then, I know some people guessed it, but while I had an inkling of what everything turned out to be, I didn't really know until it was all laid out in front of me. And I'm more than fine with that. I love to be surprised.

But I was annoyed. Yes, it was great writing, great suspense, and a great book by Kate Brian. However, I wanted to shake Rory. I know, I know, she went through a horrendous ordeal, but think clearly, woman! She waited forever to tell Darcy about her premonitions and then even longer to tell her father. And they didn't believe her! I think if you were in the witness protection program, I know you couldn't have any contact with anybody from your old life, but I would think you could call the FBI who placed you there. So why not, I don't know, call?

Then near the end, she had so many questions. She was focused on one thing, her goal, but even though she was refused answers, she should have pushed! I wanted her to push for them because that's what I would have done. She knew they had the answers she wanted and needed, but she just went along with them. I have to give Rory credit for some things. She did push for answers in a few parts, was determined to prove herself, and her nightmares even scared me. Her first nightmare? I was close to grabbing the nearest hand and squeezing the life out of it. My little sister looked at me as if I just farted loudly or something. I was freaking out, give me a break.

Of course, the whole no-answers thing played well with the ending. Not a complete shocker for me, but still really surprising. Actually, I was confused for the latter part of Shadowlands so I would've liked more explanations and resolved endings. There will be a sequel though so I hope that will be where I get my much needed conclusions. It would have been nicer though if the first book wasn't so open-ended. I also have to add that I had a few conflicts with the characters (both main and minor characters), but overall, I did like this book.

Verdict: a very enthralling and wonderfully creepy book that (personally) has to be read in the daytime. With people.

*And I'd like to thank Emily from Forever Literary for showing me this book. I first saw it on her post Before I Read Shadowlands where I fell in love with the cover. I agree with her last line: " will be fantastic and deserves all the readers in the world." Because in my opinion, it was fantastic and it does deserve readers. 


  1. I really need to read this book soon. I've heard other bloggers say that they loved the killer's perspective, and I'm glad you did too. It can be annoying, though when characters don't take action and do anything, so Rory's unwillingness to speak up and push for answers seems a litte frustrating, but I'm sure I'll give her credit for a few things, like you said. Oh, and that short story about you freaking out and your sister thinking you were crazy was quite amusing.
    Also: I feel famous! Thanks for linking to my blog. Haha:)

    1. Yes, the killer's perspective made everything much better and creepier! Ha, I'm glad :)

      Thank YOU for posting about it. I'm so glad I read this book!

  2. And...that review was totally fabulous, Sunny! (: I really wanna read this one-- I'm not usually a fan of thrillers, but I do like The Evolution of Mara Dyer, which is a thriller all by itself, so hopefully I'll like this one! Great review! (:

    Megan@The Book Babe

    1. Thank you so much, Megan! I still need to read that one so you read Shadowlands and I'll read The Evolution of Mara Dyer and we'll compare notes ;) I hope you do too as well!

  3. I don't usually read thrillers but this book sounds so good! Plus, you recommend it! :) I also love the cover, and the fact that it takes place in an isolated beach town sounds both eerie & fascinating! Awesome review!

    Alice @ Alice in Readerland

    1. Ha, that's all that matters, of course ;) Thank you! I hope you enjoy it.

  4. This book sounds thrilling and suspenseful! I love Kate Brian and her writing. I'm glad that you liked it. Ever since I heard of her coming out with a new book last year I was excited! Thanks for the review

    1. I hope you get to read it soon then! Thanks!