Review: Shadowlands by Kate Brian

January 3, 2013 ARC, Book Review, Disney Hyperion, Hyperion, Hyperion Books for Children, Kate Brian, Mystery, Shadowlands, Suspense, Thriller, YA, Young Adult 38

Publication Date: January 8th 2013

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?



As someone who has always enjoyed books with suspense and mystery, I knew Shadowlands was a book I had to have! And that cover? Gorgeous! What I found as I was reading was something so incredibly different than I ever could have expected!

We enter this novel from the eyes of a serial killer, stalking his prey. But, she gets away and that is something he refuses to let happen. As we drift into the point of view of his would-be-victim, we meet our main character, Rory, and the aftermath of the attack. Her family must be uprooted from their home and put into the witness protection program to keep them safe until the killer is caught. This is where the novel gets really interesting.

Their relocation brings them to an island, Juniper Landing, where phones, tv and newspapers are scarce and the people even stranger. I was full on expecting the mystery and suspense to center around the serial killer and his hunt to claim his victim once and for all. While I did find that, there was a whole other aspect to this novel that came out of left field. This island and its inhabitants were strange, and creepy. This group of kids who always seemed to be staring and the weird bracelets they wore… just so much I couldn’t figure out. As I was reading I just kept rolling around theories in my mind because I seriously had no idea what was going on. At one point I did get a clue but I have to admit, when we do find out at the very end, it still blew my mind and left me asking even more questions!

Did I have any gripes? Well, I really didn’t get a chance to truly connect with any of the characters, which might be largely due to my concentration on other matters. Rory was vulnerable but brave as well. Her sister drove me nuts, but I completely agreed with Rory’s assessment on why her sister was that way as a coping mechanism. Also, the few times I did find little details that seemed far-fetched or unrealistic, I really couldn’t be bothered with them for long because it all fit together as part of the bigger picture. I thought the author did a great job with that.

Another thing that is great about this novel, is that it is perfect for discussions among friends or even a book club perhaps? It is definitely one you will need to talk about with others!

I am already anxious for this sequel because I need more answers! I highly recommend this novel to those who love suspense, a lot of mystery, and a tale that keeps you guessing!


*An ARC was provided by the publisher for a fair and honest review.

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

38 Responses to “Review: Shadowlands by Kate Brian”

  1. Joyous Reads

    I don’t know…I was looking forward to reading this before I read the synopsis. Ha. What a fool I am. I’m not a fan of books that feature a group of beautiful, partying teens. I just…ugh. But it sounds like this book would be a suspenseful read that I could enjoy.

    Thanks for the insight, Sara!

    Happy New Year!

  2. Megan TheBookBabe

    OMG. This book looks absolutely fantastic! I think that I’ll love Rory, and I’ll probably be left guessing until the very end, just like you. o_O I NEED THIS BOOK. I’ve read very few serial killer books, but hey. New Year’s Resolutions, right? 😉

    Megan@The Book Babe

  3. starryeyedjen

    Starts with the serial killer’s POV? Awesome. I love that! I didn’t know this was going to be a series. I love thrillers, too, and have been anxious to read this one. Great review…I’m even more excited for it because of the creepy island people. And I love that cover!!!

  4. Jenni @ Alluring Reads

    Hey! We’re review twins today! I really liked this one too. I completely agree that there were little nit pickey things that bothered me about the plot but they were easily overlooked because there was so much mystery to delve into it. I think I managed to connect a bit more with Rory, which was definitely welcome. That ENDING!! Right? OMG. Great review!

  5. Alise (Readers In Wonderland)

    I have been pining over this one forever! I like the serial killer idea, but I’m sort of concerned to hear you didn’t connect to the characters. That is the most important thing to me in a novel. I’ll probably still try it though.
    Awesome review, Sara. And congrats on 1,000!

  6. Jasprit

    Oh I’ve had my eye on this book for ages, it definitely sounds like a decent mystery, I don’t know whether the lack of answers throughout most of the book would annoy me though. I’m glad this book has you excited for the sequel. Brilliant review Sara 🙂

  7. Candace

    This one sounds so intense! I have heard some other amazing things about it so I SO want to read it! I think if there’s enough going on then I’m okay with not connecting with the characters completely. Sometimes anyway. I’m excited to read it anyway.

  8. Krista

    I’m so excited for this one! Especially if it’s a good discussion book. Love those kinds 😀 Great review!!!

  9. Dazzling Mage

    I got chills when you said that it starts with the serial killer’s point of view. >_< But excited, because that's just an awesome way to set the story. There are some books where there's no need to connect a lot with characters because of the action, but if their action explains themselves, I'm alright with that too. Great review!

  10. Born Bookish

    I love suspense books so I’m excited to read this! Good to hear that it kept you guessing the whole time, I can’t wait to find out what’s up with that island!!!

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