Look, I tried, I genuinely tried to like Shadowlands by Kate Brian, but apparently I am the worst at suspending disbelief because I ended up actually laughing out loud at serious and suspenseful sections. Don’t get me twisted, Shadowlands is mostly entertaining and it’s got a snappy pace, however, I just wasn’t entirely invested and for most of the time my brain was shouting that THIS IS RIDICULOUS.
So main character Rory Miller has been stalked by her math teacher, and she’s cutting home through the woods when he comes after her. She’s like oh it’s cool, it’s my teacher. BUT THEN he tries to kill her and she fights back and gets away. This leads to Rory and her family having to enter witness protection. They get sent to this island that’s totally cute. However, Rory is understandably still scared and nervous, but she ends up meeting a boy, but he’s weird and stares all the time. OH and people keep ending up missing on the island.
Rory Miller is kind of a nerd. She wears sweatshirts with physics equations, has blonde hair, enjoys running and does not go to parties. She always feels a bit second best compared to her sister Darcy who is outgoing and popular. Yet, on the island, Rory ends up fitting in much better than Darcy. Regardless, I wasn’t entirely attached to Rory. She’s nice and all, but kind of a wet blanket. I never really rooted all that strongly for her. Sure, she’s brave and it is so awesome that she fights back against her attacker, but she never really impressed me.
The romance is pretty boring. Like, the guy she is into basically is mysterious and creepy and just stares at her. It’s weird. Sorry, I just don’t see the sexual tension in that. On the upside there is no love triangle. However, I really think Shadowlands could have used a healthy injection of swoons and kissing, just to make me as a reader a little bit more invested in the story.
I will admit, the writing was not terrible. In fact, I think this would be a strong book to give reluctant readers. Shadowlands is a very fast paced read and it’s not like there are many boring moments. Plus, it is fairly suspensful — what with a seriel killer on the loose and all.
I do have to put it out there that I hated the ending, it ruined the story for me, yet it fits in with how ridiculous some of the book is. For example, in the beginning when the Miller house is under FBI surveillance, the killer manages to get in and leave a note. And then the law enforcement officer was all oh by the way I neglected to mention this but the last time someone escaped the killer, he murdered the victim’s whole family two weeks later. YO THIS IS NOT SOMETHING YOU SIT ON FOR OVER A WEEK. You straight up tell what happened so the latest victim knows how to safety plan and prepare. Then, there was this part where I just started laughing because it’s one bad thing after another, in the beginning. I won’t spoil it though.
Okay, so back to my thoughts on the end after that side ramble. The ending totally changes Shadowlands. Like there is this big red herring reveal and you guys I hate those. Like, okay sometimes I like when my mind is messed with by a book. But this was one of those ones that made me so mad, I was like UGH WHAT A CHEAP GIMMICK, because I tend to feel that way about endings. I won’t tell you the twist in the interest of not spoiling, but if you’ve read it, let me know in the comments if you liked the twist or not — but don’t be explict, I don’t want to ruin the book for anyone.
Disclosure: Received for review via Netgalley
Other reviews of Shadowlands by Kate Brian:
Mundie Moms – “pick up Shadowlands when you’re in the mood for a tense mystery”
Fiction Folio – “oozes a creepy vibe from the very first page.”