Thursday, July 8, 2010

Book Review: Shadow Hills



His love captivated her... his secrets might kill her.

Since her sister’s mysterious death, Persephone “Phe” Archer has been plagued by a series of disturbing dreams. Determined to find out what happened to her sister, Phe enrolls at Devenish Prep in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts—the subject of her sister’s final diary entry.

After stepping on campus, Phe immediately realizes that there’s something different about this place—an unexplained epidemic that decimated the town in the 1700s, an ancient and creepy cemetery, and gorgeous boy Zach—and somehow she’s connected to it all.

But the more questions she asks and the deeper she digs, the more entangled Phe becomes in the haunting past of Shadow Hills. Finding what links her to this town…might cost her her life.

--From Goodreads

Cover Inspection:
Whoever chose this simplistic and yet gorgeous cover is a genius. Pure genius.

First Thoughts:
Whoa. Talk about starting off on a good foot!

***

My Review:
First off, I fell in love with the cover and, yes, I'm not afraid to admit it. The cover is mysterious, it's dark, it's gorgeous! Then I opened to the first page and suddenly I fell into a Shadow Hills induced trance. A book that opens with a crazy and terrifying first page? It was like Anastasia Hopcus was writing the book just for me! How did she know that this one page would hook me into an all night read? 

Phe (Persephone) is fascinating. Without a doubt, she is one of the most interesting protagonists I've had the pleasure to meet in a long time. Her past is filled with grief, her present is filled with uncertainty, and yet she somehow manages to keep it all together. Although Phe is knowingly headed into a dangerous situation, she still finds time to have a normal teenage girl lifestyle! Indie music, hot crushes, numerous new friends, Phe is all around my kind of girl. Pair that with her "do whatever it takes" attitude, and you have a protagonist that I'll follow to the ends of the Earth! Or..well at least to the end of the book.

As for Zach, Phe's male counterpart and crush, there is nothing more to say than that he is my kind of guy. If you have been reading my reviews for any amount of time, you know that I tend to gravitate towards the mysterious, sweet and protective male characters. Zach meets all of these requirements, and then adds just a a little bit more. The chemistry between Zach and Phe can only be described as smoking! The "instant attraction" relationship has been done before in other books, but I feel like it was so much more well written in Shadow Hills than anywhere else.

My one issue with this book, and thus four star rating versus a five, is the pacing. The story starts at a breakneck pace, which is great for drawing the reader in. As you read above, I was invested from the very first page! However as the story progresses there are points where the lulls in the storyline are a little hard to ignore. It isn't anything too distracting, nothing that will take away from your enjoyment of the overall book, and I promise that once you near the end you'll be hooked yet again. I just felt I needed to be honest with any potential readers. I like readers to go in armed with knowledge and an open mind! Also, I wished I knew a little bit more about what happened to Phe's sister. I'm hoping that in a sequel Anastasia might let us know a bit more about her strange and mysterious death.

Overall Shadow Hills is a solid and amazing debut book! Anastasia Hopcus shows her writing prowess, and her storyline shines off the page! It was definitely refreshing to take a break from the "normal" paranormal aspect of this genre. I can only hope that in her next book we get to learn more about Phe and Zach, and until that happens I wait with bated breath. I'll admit it, I'm now an Anastasia Hopcus groupie. (I hope she doesn't mind.)










Book Details
Title: Shadow Hills
Author: Anastasia Hopcus
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Pages: Hardcover; 400
Source: Book Tour

Final Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart!

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