I know you remember when I did the blog tour for Aussie author Paula Weston’s Shadows. I have been waiting and waiting and waiting to read the next book in the series. Well. To be honest, I’ve just been waiting and waiting. I mean it SEEMS like a super long time, but really, it’s only been about a year. A VERY LONG REPHAIM-FREE YEAR.
What happens when you can travel anywhere instantaneously? More importantly, what happens when you can’t? What do you do when you find out you’re not who you thought you were, that you can’t trust your own memories? And how do you know whose memories you *can* trust? These are some of the fundamental questions beneath Paula Weston’s Rephaim series – a mystery/romance about angels, demons, and an approaching war.
What did I love about Weston’s first book in this series? You know I have a soft spot for the angelic mythology. Some of this has to do with my involvement with “Kingdom Come”, a roleplaying game based in this mythos, but it’s also a folklore that’s always piqued my interest. (Which is probably one of many reasons I fell in love with the roleplaying game, to be honest.) Here’s what Weston does incredibly well: she presents a recognizable, but not overly “assplained” universe – which is to say, I never had the feeling that I was being coddled along, gently scooped up and spoon-fed a setting. Angels are real. Demons are real. There are…things…in between. Paula Weston set up a brilliant mystery in Shadows, with no spoon-feeding. This is a huge thing in YA novels – too many YA authors seem to think that everyone under the age of 20 is just a little soft in the head and can’t suss things out on their own. You won’t find any soft-headedness in Weston’s books.
I’m going to be honest. I prepared myself for disappointment with Haze. That’s a really horrid thing to say, but I didn’t know if Weston could match the pacing and narrative of Shadows.
I didn’t know if the mystery could be carried for an entire second book. I worried that the conflict between characters and within characters would become…old hat.
There is nothing old hat about Haze. I’m not even kidding – things are going DOWN with the Rephaim – the offspring of angels and humans. The more you learn about the history of the main character (Gaby), the more mystery unravels. Gaby as she tries to find clues about her brother Jude’s death a year after she woke up in hospital, close to death herself. She has solid leads and a solid companion…well. She has a COMPELLING companion (Rafael, who was Jude’s best friend) who’s helping her search.
Here’s what Weston continues to do well: the pacing. THE PACING. You know how when you’re learning how to write fiction, “they” tell you to think about the arc of your story? How quickly the action progresses and to make sure there are ebbs and flows, the wave motion of a narrative? Well, they do. Tell you that. And I think they learned it from Paula Weston. These stories are charged with sexual tension, psychological tension, physical conflict, and liberal doses of sarcasm and sparkling humour.
As the story of who Gaby Winters really is continues to confound her (and the rest of the Rephaim who claim to know her), as Hellions continue to attack, as Gaby continues to try to will her body to stop reacting so strongly to Rafa, there’s no time left to unwind. No time to take a breath. Not even when you can travel anywhere in the blink of an eye. IF you can travel anywhere in the blink of an eye.
The only thing I don’t like about this series so far is that I don’t get to read it for the first time, ever again. Unless someone pulls a treatment on me like they did on Gaby…maybe Paula Weston can hook me up with whoever did that?
And let me just say that Paula Weston is a COMPLETE TEASE because the ‘read-ahead’ chapters of the third book in the series (Shimmer) have left me with absolutely no doubt about the third book. I’m going to encourage you to check out the walkthrough that Weston provides on the first leg of this blog tour, of some of the places that inspired scenes in her books. Follow Tundra’s blog tour, and sign up for the prize.
You can find Shadows and Haze at your favourite independent retailer; librarians and teachers can contact Tundra’s sales reps for class sets.
Post-Script – I took the “Which Rephaim Character Are You” Quiz that Paula Weston put together, and it turns out I’m Daisy. I could tell you what that means, but it’s going to be way more fun for you to read the books and meet Daisy and see if you agree. I mean, you know ME, right? Which of the Rephaim do YOU think I am most like?