A Haunting Thrill | “Shadowlands” Review

Cynthia Ayala ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer 


Rory Miller had one chance to fight back and she took it. Rory survived, though the serial killer who attacked her escaped. Now that the infamous Steven Nell is on the loose, Rory must enter the witness protection program alongside her sister, Darcy. Together they head on to start a new life, leaving their friends and family behind without a goodbye. And the once close sisters, who can now barely stand each other, deal with their new existence in Juniper Landing, a picturesque vacation island, it seems like their new home may be just the fresh start they need. Falling in with a group of beautiful, carefree teens, the sisters soon begin to feel safe again, until one of their friends goes missing. Is it a coincidence? Or is the nightmare beginning all over again?

Kate Brian truly is an amazing writer who offers readers a nightmarish thrill of the supernatural story and the incredibly unexpected ending.

Rory Miller was the average ordinary girl until one day her math teacher set his sights on her and revealed himself to be a serial killer who had killed fourteen other girls before her and eluded authorities for years.  But Rory escaped, or so she thought.  After the FBI swoops in and sends her and her family into witness protection, Rory discovers that Steven Nell is not done hunting her.  But in the little town of Juniper Landing, he seems to be the last of her problems as more mysteries unfold.

Shadowlands, written by Kate Brian, truly is an amazing novel full of mystery and suspense.  Published January 8, 2013 by Disney-Hyperion, this haunting novel offers young adult readers a tale full of mystery, thriller and suspense with the supernatural element wrapping them all together effortlessly.  The first book in the Shadowlands series, the novel follows Rory Miller, the average girl who comes in third and has no strength to be anything other than “good enough”, finding herself in this new world that she has been thrust into.  With the novel following her point of view, the readers are able to understand her character and see who she really is.  While fear haunts her with the looming threat of a sociopath wanting to kill her and her family, she is trying to remain strong, really capturing who she is and making her a strong protagonist and making her relatable to the readers as she notices the strange happenings within the little vacation town of Juniper Landing.

Another aspect of the novel that is interesting is the shift in point of view to Steven Nell, the psychopath killer.  While he is not a likable character, readers are offered an insight into why he is a killer and why he wants Rory: why he followed her to this path.  Instead of just being the antagonist in the novel, readers understand the why.  As fans of Kate Brian’s work get to delve into the darker aspect of the novel, and when they see the story from his point of view, they are able to see just how close he is to Rory, making the suspense and the thrill within the novel even more entrancing for the reader.

A nail biting book that will captivate readers until the last moment when every mystery is revealed.  ★★★★☆ (A)

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