Saturday, 14 March 2015

Shadow, Shadow by V.B. Marlowe - Review

Shadow, Shadow: Book One of the Shadow Pines Trilogy, by V.B. Marlowe
Published by:  V.B. Marlowe on February 15, 2015
Genre:  Teen and Young Adult, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Fantasy, Paranormal & Urban
Pages:  312 pages Kindle
Source:  Xpresso Book Tours

Harley Fox receives a mysterious gift on her sixteenth birthday-a shadow box. The box gives her the power to trade someone to the shadows, meaning they will disappear and cease to exist. Harley can't imagine doing such a horrible thing and is warned the box comes at a price. Unfortunately, not using the box can be even more costly. Harley must make this life-altering decision as she discovers frightening revelations about the town she calls home. Ages 13 and up. 
Four Shadow Pines high school students turn 16 on the very same day and each is given a free gift (a shadow box) from the newly opened “Mr. Enigma’s Novelty Shop”.

One of them, Harley Fox, is about as strange as the town of Shadow Pines that she lives in. Harley has been seeing “creepy things” since she was 12. It doesn’t help that she wants to make scary movies one day in Hollywood, or that she dreams constantly that she will be shot dead one day, sometime before she makes it into her late 30s. Without doubt, she is the typically misunderstood teen.

Harley is a good lead character as she has spunk, doesn’t care what other people think, and acts on her ideas. I also liked that despite her own hard knocks in life, she still has consideration for others, especially in dealing with ‘trading’ someone to the shadows. I like Harley.

V.B. Marlowe writes Shadow, Shadow from two POVs; that of Harley, the main character, and Teaghan, another student who shares not only her birthday but her social misfit standing. We are plunged into the social and private agonies of teenage life set on the backdrop of the mysterious town, Shadow Pines so I think early teens who are into paranormal/fantasy would really relate to and enjoy reading Shadow, Shadow.

I like the idea of the terrible shadow box and how each of the recipients deals with its dark power. How many of us in life might be like Teaghan who, having discovered a way to simply get rid of everyone that mistreated, threatened, or otherwise made her life miserable, simply gloried in it? That Harley, Brock, and Gianna have huge reservations about using the box at all gives one thought as the act of ‘trading’ someone greatly affects the lives of the victim’s loved ones, never mind what happens to the victim. The author might have actually made more of this terrifying aspect of the shadow box.

Ava-Kaya, owner of Mr. Enigma’s Novelty Shop, gifts the shadow boxes. Through her we learn something of the grisly history of Shadow Pines and about the shadows. She is not straightforward and we see that she also manipulates the four students against each other with secret deals.

The writing style is mostly dialogue and action of the characters. I wanted to see more about other townspeople, as well as more exploration of the main characters’ thoughts and how they felt about things. For example, we see Teaghan retreating into herself because she feels ostracized by other students. She might wonder why they behave the way they do, and maybe even consider whether she could do something about it. I would also have liked to have seen more about the fact that people go missing frequently in Shadow Pines, never to return, either on the news or discussed by other townspeople. This scale of missing persons would be considered a national emergency!

Overall, I found this an easy read about the spooky town of Shadow Pines. Harley, the main character, is a high-spirited high school student challenged with the gift of a terrifying shadow box. I think this is a great read for early teens into paranormal and Gothic-style novels.

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