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Title: Shadow EyesAuthor: Dusty Crabtree
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Released: 15th July 2012
Rating: 3 of 5 stars
Iris Kohl has the ability to see shadows. They lurk around unsuspecting people, encouraging them to break the rules, pushing some of them to the point where they do things truly evil. Iris struggles with it, but she does her best to be normal. And it's kind of going OK until shadows start hanging around her crush and he becomes less like the sweet boy he was. And that's just the beginning. There's the new teacher who somehow brings light and scares the shadows. There's the new girl in school with a glowing aura. And finally, the new guy in school whose mystery plus a conspicuous absence of shadows around him make him very appealing. With their arrival comes an increase in the aggressiveness of the shadows, directed specifically towards Iris, and for her to find out what is going on and how to combat them, she needs to face up to the memory of her fourteenth birthday, the worst day of her life and the one where her ability to see the shadows started.
Iris was, for the most part, a likeable character. She wasn't constantly moaning or whining; instead she actually tried to work past the shadows and have something of a normal life. I loved that she had this good relationship with her sister too, one where they could be open with each other. Her sister doesn't know about the shadows, but they still have an easygoing relationship where they can joke with each other and talk about things. They both also watch out for their mother who, while not exactly helpless, is somewhat emotionally worn. What I couldn't appreciate, however, was Iris' refusal to question anything. She knew that Mr Daniels and Kyra were obviously aware of the shadows, and she could see that Kyra and Patrick have some sort of history between them - not through a relationship, but in the sense that they know each other already and there's something that's created a rift between them - and yet she said nothing. Just watched with wide-eyed confusion. And her friendship with Kyra was somewhat questionable because she always felt like she shouldn't disappoint Kyra. Again - why?
My biggest issue with this book is that for the longest time, nothing happens. And I would say that Iris' lack of questioning helped contribute to that. The writing itself is really good, so I spent a great deal of this reading contentedly. But I got to a point where I realised that really, something should be happening by now, and the writing wasn't enough to completely make up for that. The revelations, when they came, were good, and I think these could have been paced more througohout the story. Still, I did enjoy finally finding out what was going on and the revelation about Patrick in particular was pleasantly surprising. He's a very conflicted character, and without even knowing why he was behaving in a certain way, I felt sorry for him because I could see he didn't want to be that way - although there was a point where his behaviour was taken a bit too far.
Despite the issues, this was, all in all, an enjoyable read. Shadow Eyes could have done with more action and better pacing, but it was still good nevertheless. The writing, while not completely redeeming, did still help, which was why it took me as long as it did to realise that little had actually happened in terms of plot movement. The ending acts as a wonderful opening to the sequel, and I look forward to reading it.
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