Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
So I have this huge Post-it note I made on my computer with all the things that are wrong with this book. In fact, I pretty much hated it up to 3/4 of it. Now I find myself at a total loss for words, because, incredibly, I realized I actually liked it.
Shade is set in a world where ghosts can be seen walking around. Not by everyone, though. Only by people born after the Shift, a date when unexplainably something changed in the cosmic order of things and newborns start to acquire this terrible ability.
Aura is 16, she is born on the day of the Shift and has a side-job as a translator for ghosts in court cases. One horrible day, her boyfriend Logan, a pre-shifter musician on the verge of stardom, suddenly dies and the life she knew starts to crumble to pieces, revealing a series of mysteries that are destined to change her life for good.
I chose to read Shade because the ratings were pretty high and the reviews extremely good but, as I started it, I was immediately annoyed:
- new mysterious guy in school? Check.
- heroine with paranormal abilities? Check.
- love triangle (though with a ghost)? Check.
- science project? Bloody check.
Yes, another of THOSE books.
Furthermore, I thought the ghost thing going SHADE was a bit lame. FYI, a ghost goes shade when he becomes bitter and can't solve things he left unresolved in life and, apparently, makes post-shifters pass out and go out of their mind. Shades are captured by the shady (HA!) ghost police by means of a magic medallion and trapped, ghostbuster-like, in a little black box. If you don't want a ghost to haunt you in your bathroom while you're sitting in the toilet, you have to line it with obsidian. Mh....
My main problem with this book is that I had a hard time liking Aura. When Logan dies, she seems to get over it very quickly, thinking too soon about Zachary. It made me want to strangle her. Your boyfriend dies, for god's sake, where is the grief, the mourning?? I just kept thinking what a selfish b!tch she was, feeling attracted to Zachary and drawing star charts with him mere days after Logan's death. Unreal. Now, not liking your main character is not exactly a good sign in a book.
But then, as I read on, I started to realize that I actually like the rather darker nuance that this book has: there's drugs, there's drinking, not everything is perfect in these guys lives and I felt more and more connected to the characters. It felt a bit more like my teenage years, rather than the usual loveatfirstsight, illloveyouforeverandever routine.
Thankfully there's quite a bit of character development also on Aura's side and I gradually started to rethink my opinion on her, even though I am still not completely convinced. I'm leaving her with the benefit of doubt for further developments.
There are quite a few threads left unsolved in this book, the mysteries surrounding Aura and Zachary's births are still pretty much undisclosed and so is Logan's role in the matter but I really think I'll pick up the next book in this series.
For me it wasn't bad at all, oscillating between a 1 and 2 stars for the first part but a solid 4 stars as the story developed. So I'm giving it a 3 and I hope that, from here on, the story will only get better. Second installment Shift came out this month. Give it a try.
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