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The International Writers Magazine: YA Fiction

Shadows & Haze
Books 1 & 2 by Paula Weston
ISBN 978-1-78062-158-6
ISBN 978-1-78062-159-3
• Sam Hawksmoor review

Angels seem to get themselves into a lot of trouble when they walk the earth.

Last year we saw Sarah Mussi with her Angel Dust chronicling an angel falling for a very bad boy and wondering why she got her wings singed and now Paula Weston wades in from Australia with a whole gang of angels or half angels that have special powers, are terrific at sword play and bickering.  They do a lot of arguing and these books are positively heaving with repressed sexuality… If Home and Away characters had superpowers this would be it I guess.   But I am getting ahead of myself here.

Gaby has drifted to Pan’s Beach where she works in a library.  She’s 18, stunning but has this pretty nasty scar on her neck from a terrible car crash where her twin brother Jude was decapitated.  She has been in shock every since, never quite got over it.  Pan’s Beach is a quiet Australian beach paradise and she’s made friends with Maggie who works in the coffee shop attached to the library.  All pretty tame right?  But in walks Rafa to Rick’s bar and suddenly Gaby is all over him like a rash.  He says he knows her and was her brother's best friend, but she doesn’t remember him. Would have she was sure, him being so stunning and all.  Meanwhile Simon behind the bar is jealous ‘cause he fancied Gaby for himself.

Rafa reveals to her that she is not who she thinks she is – that a year ago she belonged to a secret organisation called the Rephaim and nor is she just 18.  She thinks he’s crazy, but then things start happening and other weird people show us and it’s all because she posted a short story online about a crazy dream she had about a nightclub where there was this big fight with demons and monsters and she was soaked in blood lopping heads off….

Rafa says – that was no dream. That was real.
Now who’s crazy?

Suddenly Maggie is kidnapped and to get her back Gaby makes a deal to go to the Sanctuary which backfires on her fast and she finds herself in a cage fighting for her life.  Apparently half angels can ‘shift’, teleport to anywhere they want to go.  Rafa says that once Gaby knew how to do it too but she can’t remember anything of course. 

Everyone thinks she is still this hard case half angel, but she knows she isn’t, not now.  Someone wiped her memory and gave her new ones.  Apparently, just before she allegedly nearly died, she and her brother did something terrible, but what?  More is the point why?  All she can remember is walking and camping and adoring the best brother in the world.  Now they are telling her she didn’t speak to him for ten years. That has to be wrong.  He’s her twin, she would never not want to talk to him. And why can't she get the Foo Fighters out of her head. She hated them.

Rafa’s hot, I mentioned that before, but equally vain and Gaby isn’t sure she can trust him and anyway he’s out of the picture cause she’s in this cage and about to die and he’s not coming to help her as she is being tortured by smooth talking Daniel, who Rafa says was her boyfriend a year before.  How was that possible? – She needs to remember all her angel skills RIGHT NOW but….

Paula Weston could probably argue you to a standstill if you met her and be prepared for a lot of exposition.  You'll going to get to know a great deal about some of that stuff you skipped in the Bible and who these demons are and who’s running them and who’s running from whom.  There’s the Sanctuary that may have good guys and girls in it, but then again they might be evil, then there’s the Fallen who started all the trouble and spawned all these kids who immediately became orphans.  And then there’s weird evil white haired creatures with burning eyes and we aren’t just talking about Maggie with a hangover. 

Like one rolling endless 'fight club', Gaby is thrust into the middle of two factions who just can’t agree and like to cause trouble for each other, a lot of trouble.  All she wants is find out what happened to her brother and get back the idyllic beach life she was having just one week before.  Rafa isn’t going to let up.  He says she needs to wake up fast or die very soon. And just what is Maggie's boyfriend Jason hiding from everyone?

Exciting, hugely addictive, sexy and compulsive reading, you’ll crave more the moment you put it down.

© Sam Hawksmoor  October 2013
author of The Repossession & The Hunting

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