3/5 stars: An informative Paranormal YA mystery, rife with unexpected thrills and an engaging protagonist.
The Good Stuff.
I learned so much about mythological creatures from this book – particularly Etherics – and I look at the whole reading as an education. An enticing one, mind you, but one nonetheless. D.L. Miles exhibits a lot of creativity in her story and in the ideas that it brings across; I’ve never read a book quite like hers. I’m pleased to say that the sequel to Shadeland is most definitely a must-have! She left me hanging with that ending,Cliffhanger…why?!?, but the woman knows how to keep me coming back.
The story is as follows: The Eidolon ‘officially’ came out to the humans only recently, meaning the world knows that all the bumps in the night are real, and the weird dearth in the blood bank supplies…those there are vampire-related problems! Vampires, as well as others, have basically ripped down the invisible curtain of ignorance, and well, the humans are pissed. Naturally, they can’t quite deal with the fact that there are forces legitimately ‘better’ than they are, and for the first week following this coming out, protest fires are rampant. Liv, our protagonist happens to be best friends with an Eidolon, Luke. She’s a pretty easy-going girl, and except at the occasional ignorant pig, doesn’t get worked up by much. Liv lives and let’s live.
Ahaha, get it?! Oh gosh, these jokes are getting worse, aren’t they?
The two have been together since childhood and from then she’s known about him having special powers. She accepts him for what he is, if only the rest of the world did. People are harshly prejudiced against the Eidolon’s and Luke being one is kept pretty much on the down low to avoid unnecessary scrutiny. However, things do not go on as planned. He being an Eidolon plays a special part later in the story, mainly because when mysterious killings begin happening in their little town, Luke and Liv are right in the middle of it. Women are being targeted and Luke ends up being convicted. To help him, Liv joins forces with seemingly ill-natured but dangerously attractive bounty hunter, Jared. Not much for putting down roots, sorry Holding Carter, he’s in town only for the reward money being offered by a victim’s family member. Together, he and Liv hunt down the killer, encountering a host of peculiar people and interesting discoveries along the way.
I’ve got to hand it to Liv, for a YA protagonist, she was decidedly well-rounded and perceptive. She didn’t take much, if anything, for granted and the first half of the novel was brilliant because of her. I kept flipping through chapters and just loving it in her head, it was a good place to be. There are minimal grammatical issues and the writing is crisp and smart. Mystery plays an integral part in the happenings of Shadeland and I’m pleased to say that the story holds; well into three quarters of the book I was still wandering, ‘whodunit?’ There were red herrings, and when I thought I had it, Miles pleasantly surprised me by proving otherwise. The maturity of D.L.’s characters is admirable because of how humanly authentic they feel; she gives them emotions, but responsibilities as well. I mean it was revolutionary! A young adult protagonist with duty, say, employment? What you smoking?! Hah, I welcomed the change.
As you know, for the first part of this book, I was in love. The only points of contention are:
1.) The continuation of said awesomeness, it did not continue. Things began to lag.
2.) Certain aspects of the Eidolon’s are confusing and not fully explained, I mean, the bulk of knowledge comes from a sporadically present Eidolon scholar, who persists in his reluctance to divulge ‘precious knowledge.’ I wouldn’t have minded an expansion on detail, and more information in terms of some obscure mythical creatures. The world building, or at least the explanation of it was lacking, and I’m looking to the second book to remedy this.
3.) The pacing bothered me. I mentioned that the second quarter of Shadeland lost steam, and this is mainly because things got abrupt and monotonous, a weird combination I know, but it seemed as though the characters were not moving anywhere but revisiting the same places over and over. Things really began to slow, and this is perhaps necessary for a mystery novel, inspecting clues and whatnot, but I would have liked to see more of the town outside of the 3-4 primary locations.
4.) Liv and Luke’s relationship was a bit hazy for me, mainly because the opportunity to see them interacting outside of the craziness wasn’t fully provided. There was so much going on that they never got to be ‘friends.’ Sure, Liv sticks her neck out for him, but all we really get to see of Luke is a mixture of confusion and morose temperament; I missed experiencing his and Liv’s connection.
Besides that, I have no qualms with either Shadeland or D.L. Miles. She is a great author with loads of promise, and I was happy to review this book for her. A copy was provided through Smashwords and I am grateful! Regardless of the few problems, this is still an interestingly good book. A lot happens and there is no sense of disappointment post its completion, just a need for answers. This is why I need the sequel! 3/5 stars , give Shadeland a try!
(review of free book)