Shadows (The Rephaim #1)

By: Paula Weston

Published September 10, 2013 by Tundra Books

Acquired by netgalley

Genre: YA Fantasy

391 Pages

Three and a half stars

Love. Nightmares. Angels. War.

Gaby Winters used to be a twin until her brother died tragically in a car accident a year before, leaving Gaby as the only survivor. Badly wounded, Gaby found herself living in a quiet beach town. She held a steady job at a library. Lived with her best friend Maggie. 

Healed physically, she has started to have gruesome dreams killing demons that scare her nightly. Once again, so she thought it was just a dream. Enter the man in Gaby’s dreams strolling into her quiet beach town, sitting the bar she frequents. Was he looking at her? He was. But, why? Because sometimes dreams aren’t just dreams.

What Matt, as she called him in the story she wrote and published based on her dreams, or Rafa, his correct name, tells her is mind shattering.

She is not human. She is not an angel. She is a Rephaim, half human with a father who was part of The Fallen race; fallen angels who fell from grace because of their love of human women. She is a Rephaim who, as Rafa and clan figure out, has lost all of her memories. The memories of her brother, were they real? Is she really not 19? Did the accident truly happen the way she said it did? Gaby starts to question everything as she fights to gain her senses and protect herself.

Weston’s novel kept me on my toes. The action was smooth, the realizations and action not rushed, and the character development was strong. Although some of the minor characters, who are supposed to have a lasting affect on Gaby, are lightly stunted in their development, I enjoyed the hints of her past; the relationship with her brother, the outsiders who are the ones that left the sanctuary, and certain people from the sanctuary. 

What happens in the sanctuary was surprising, and made me slightly uneasy. Perhaps a good uneasy. Since the word and species Nephilim was mentioned, I couldn’t help but think of Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series. THe premise was entirely the same, but there are strong similarities. First, in The Mortal Instruments Clarey Frey did not know what she was. Gaby Winter just can’t remember who she is. They both have to learn to adapt and make up for lost time. Jace (from the Mortal Instruments) seemed like a younger Rafa. Both suave, at first mistrustful of the heroine, and battle hungry.

I did like Shadows  better. AS I just recently read Clare’s first book in her The Mortal Instruments series, the ideas were still fresh in my head. What Clary failed to do–what a strong heroine that wasn’t so annoying, create a world where humans were not looked down upon in a, quite frankly, condescending way that made me hate the Nephilims was what Weston succeeded. Maybe I am bias, but I liked that no one was stereotyped, looked down upon. There was a connection with both worlds; thus making the ideas more real for more.

Thankfully, Weston was aware of Clare’s use of the “mundanes” and included two digs at the Nephilim race (and to Clare, I think).

Overall, this was a great, quick read. It left me with a little feeling of “what just happened?” Not sure if that is good or not. Nor, am I sure I will continue the series. I just might.