Readership: Young adult
Genres: mystery, thriller, suspense
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'm not going to lie... the gorgeous cover is what originally drew me in. The font, the crows, the placement of the girl and the negative space... it is just a simply gorgeous cover. After reading the synopsis I was interested, but I wasn't sure if I would love, enjoy, or even like the book at all. I was pleasantly surprised. I had heard of Kate's other novels but I have never read them because they didn't sound like my cup of tea. I wasn't sure what to expect of Shadowlands. I thought that maybe it would be your cut and dry crime/suspense novel but I was blown away. There is the crime and there is the suspense but there is so much more to it than that.
Right out of the gate, I was creeped out. The first chapter is told from the point of view of Steven Nell and it is not a good point of view. It made my stomach turn and my skin crawl. It makes you root for Rory all the more even though we haven't even met her yet. I've never read a YA thriller that has been so intense right away and it keeps it up throughout the whole novel. There are short chapters from Steven's perspective peppered throughout the book that give a startling feel to the reality of Rory's situation. Not to mention it makes you squirm all over again. The man is vile. He is a killer and will stop at nothing to finish what he started.
The town reminded me of a mix of the town from the TV show Haven and the TV show Harper's Island. It's a vacation town set on a picture perfect island but something is... off. Rory and her family are sent there after she is attacked because the FBI put them in the Witness Protection Program. The town is picturesque with perfectly mowed lawns, a General Store, white picket fences and everything you would want to see in a cozy island town in South Carolina. But the locals are strange. Some wear leather bracelets like they are in some sort of secret club or society. There is a creepy fog that rolls in out of the blue all the time and blankets absolutely everything.
Things are not right and Rory catches on right away. Sometimes she thinks it's just her situation messing with her but things are off. Tristan, a local, is spying on her and she has no idea why. Krista and Joaquin - Tristan's sister and his best friend - are also acting very strangely around her and she can't figure out why. So Rory is plagued with not only her attack and attacker - she is haunted by him - but by the things that keep happening in town. It is a mystery that had me guessing the entire way through. I'm very good at figuring out what is going to happen but I was shocked - shocked! - by the ending. It was absolutely brilliant. There was suspense the entire way through and after knowing the ending, you could pinpoint the little clues Kate left but at the time I had absolutely no idea. It was such a brilliant thing that I never saw coming and that made me love the book all the more. The revelation! I mean, wow. Kate was absolutely brilliant about giving nothing away of the massive reveal. I am still baffled and blown away by it. I put the book down and just repeated "What!? WHAT?!" over and over again to myself for minutes after.
I'm curious to see where Kate is going to take the revelation since Shadowlands is the start of a triolgy. I hope to learn more about the town. The how and the why for one. And the locals. Ah! I already can't wait for the sequel and who knows when it will be released! Shadowlands was gripping and will literally leave you guessing right until the very last page.
I LOVED IT
Thank you to Hachette Book Group Canada for providing a copy for review!