Tuesday, June 21, 2011

[Review] Winter's Shadow by M.J. Hearle

Title: Winter's Shadow {goodreads}
Author: M.J. Hearle
Publication (dd/mm/yy): 01/06/11
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Source: ARC from publisher
Age: 14+
My Rating:

Blake Duchamp...

He's all that Winter Adams can think of. Ever since their fateful meeting at Pilgrim's Lament. Ever since he looked at her with those emerald eyes. Ever since he saved her life.

But Blake isn't all that he seems. There is a strangeness about him, something dark and otherworldly. Something dangerous. In his attic is a secret he would kill to defend, but Winter seems to have a special ability to make him forget his duty. And he is her only protection against the gathering darkness.

The only problem is, to protect Winter, Blake must risk exposing her to an even greater danger. Himself.
My thoughts: 

One of the best paranormal I have read, hands down. Hearle's originality in creating this exhilerating tale, about supernatural creatures that I have never heard of before, is really something to be commended. While the cover suggests a typical paranormal, I believe that this author stepped it up and pulled Winter's Shadow way above many of the recent popular paranormal YA books.

I love that this is written by an Aussie author, because this just made me proud to be an Australian. It may not be set in an Australian place - in fact, it felt to me more American than anything else - but Winter's Shadow is a stimulating, intuitive novel with a storyline that wouldn't let go. I was flying through the pages with such ease . . . with 400+ page books I usually struggle keeping interest, but by the end of the book I was just hoping that there was more.

The whole book is written in third-person omniscient narration, which seemed to be a very clever decision. Despite that objective perspective, the actual voice was easily read and relatable to any average teenage reader. It really is just a great example of what I find great about [(some) paranormal] YA - fastpaced and illustrative, and full of the impact needed to support the booming storyline.

I'll admit that the beginning really gave me too many opportunities to drawn on comparisons with other paranormals out there. There's the attraction-at-first-sight thing happening, as well as the mysterious new guy in school. However, after the plot picked up it was easy to forget and just get lost in what problem Winter would run into next.

Winter felt like a genuine character, with some real development throughout the book. I liked her, and found her actions and thought patterns reasonable enough. I loved that she was clumsy, and that she was consistently "unpopular" (no love triangles, I mean!). Her friendship with Jasmine was also nice - Jasmine is so different to Winter but they complement each other well. At times I found her hard to stand, but she was a great secondary character because she offered support for her friend and their friendship follows a "typical" trend. That's not to say that I didn't want further development of the two - believe me, I did. I hope that in the sequel (!) we'll be able to see more.

Now, onto Blake. I actually read this pretty blindly. I didn't read the synopsis (mostly because it wasn't attached with my ARC), or any reviews, SO expectations towards him were pretty minimal going into this book. The meeting scene between Winter and Blake was really endearing. It was by no means a steamy kind of paranormal romance, but there was something deep growing between the two of them that I enjoyed. I enjoyed seeing their closeness and bond and passion progress.

The last 100 pages. Absolutely edge-of-your-seat crazy! I found the ending and resolution a tad bit rushed, and I didn't feel as teary as I believe I should have. Nevertheless, I just could not stop reading, and it really flew as quickly as if it were on a movie screen.


PS. THERE IS A SEQUEL! The ending suggests that there should be a sequel, but my suspicions were confirmed by M.J. Hearle himself on Goodreads. This is definitely a book that you'll want on your bookshelf - see for yourself whether the hype is well received!

If you liked: The Dark Divine by Bree Despain, Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink - what I've read. What I haven't read, but am assuming will be for those who have - Die for Me by Amy Plum, Sisters Red by Jackson


First Lines

"Madeleine Bonnarie fled beneath the flickering street lamps of Rue Descartes. Victor was coming. She could no longer hear him, but ran on, afraid of what she might see if she turned around - Victor lumbering through the darkness, breath fogging in the cold night air. Her husband was nothing if not persistent. It was how he'd first won her heart, and now Madeleine feared this persistence would drive him on until he caught her, and stopped its beat forever."

Favourite Lines
"Apart from the low hum of Jessie's engine, the streets seemed eerily quiet, as if the town has opened itself up for her and Blake alone. They didn't pass another car or pedestrian as they rode past the jetty, didn't see any othe rlights cutting through the shadows ahead.
The night was theirs."
(p. 214)

"'...a life with no end loses meaning. Death defines life.'"
(p. 289, Blake)


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I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

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