I was introduced to Paula Weston‘s Rephaim series by Penguin Random House Canada and Tundra Books and they very graciously sent me Shimmer and Burn (Books 3 and 4). And let me tell you – I could not get enough! I flew through all four books in about just as many days. This series had everything I look for – steamy romance, thrilling action, supernatural/fantastical intrigue, and a cast of diverse, dynamic, and enthralling characters. I’m beyond bummed that it’s over but also relieved that I had the complete set when I started reading, because MAN those cliffhangers are brutal! (In the best way possible, of course.) Read on for my spoiler-free thoughts. (Note: this is a review of the entire series – Shadows, Haze, Shimmer, and Burn – but fear not! You are safe from spoilers even if you have read one, two, three, or all of these books OR if you have yet to read any of them.)
Paranormal Fiction! Usually I go for vampires, werewolves, witches, wizards, fairies, and dragons, but I’ll take half-angles, angels, demons, (and associated, uh- minions) just as readily. As mentioned above, this series was action-packed and sexy, so I’m all in.
I believe this is technically a YA series, but I think it’s something everyone can enjoy, adults and all. (I occasionally have to remind myself that I am, in fact, technically an adult.) Maybe I should say mature YA? There is quite a bit of swearing and, like I said, steamy sexiness.
Overview (from Shadows)
It’s been almost a year since Gaby Winters watched her twin brother die. In the sunshine of a new town her body has healed, but her grief is raw and constant. It doesn’t help that every night in her dreams she fights and kills hell-beasts. And then Rafa comes to town and tells her things about her brother and her life that cannot be true, things that are dangerous. Who is Rafa? Who are the Rephaim? And who is Gaby? The truth lies in the shadows of her nightmares.
All over the world! But mainly in a fictitious beach town in Australia called Pandanus Beach. Did I mention America, Italy, and Greece? If ever there was a wanderlust book, it’s this one. Their mode of transportation’s not too shabby either 😛 Weston’s website has an amazing page that details her inspiration behind the locations used in her series. Definitely check it out! (When you’re ready.)
Oh my gosh how I LOVE these characters! They’re a unified, eclectic mix of personalities – amazing, angsty, lovable, and infuriating all at the same time. Spirited, to say the very least. The relationships that Weston has created pulled me in and held my attention the entire time. I also loved the character development!
What I Liked
Um- Where do I start???
Weston is a master of laying groundwork, puzzle pieces, bread crumbs, call them what you want. There were just enough hints to keep me reading (and I mean in an I-can’t-put-this-book-down sort of way), but not too much where I was overly frustrated or overwhelmed. And! All my questions were answered. Which I appreciated after all those seasons of Lost. (Yes, I’m still bitter.)
If you’re fairly acquainted with my blog and reviews, then by now you’d most likely know that romance is a requirement in the books that I read. The more, the merrier. And I’m using “romance” fairly liberally here; flirty banter, flowers, candle light dinner, sexy times, whatever. It’s my number one question when a book is recommended to me: “Is there romance?” The answer for this series in particular is a resounding YES.
These books were action-packed! You know that feeling you get when you’re watching a movie or tv series and there’s that slow, steady, EPIC build-up to a fight scene, and your adrenaline’s going wild, and the fight scene itself is amazing??? *Swoon* Well! There were certain parts in every single one of these books. That. Were. Exactly. Like. That.
Last, but certainly not least, while our questions were answered and all the major cliffhangers and plot points were wrapped up (you know how I hate lack of closure), Weston left certain things open and I am praying she eventually picks this line up sometime in the future and writes a spin-off or continuation. (Please, please, pleeeaasse? With a halo on top?)
What I Liked A Little Less
Nothing! However, like I mentioned above, there is a language alert on this one. So if expletives bother you, you’ve been
There seriously needs to be a fangirl emoji, because none of the ones currently available do justice to the feelings I had when I finished this series and those I’m trying to express right now. I absolutely loved everything about these books. (I even went back and re-read my fave parts after I finished haha.) They’re some of my fave reads of 2016 and have quickly climbed into my list of all-time fave reads ever. This series (i.e. each book) gets a solid 5/5 stars. Thank you very much, Paula Weston, Penguin Random House Canada, and Tundra Books!