Book Reviews

Review: “Shade,” Jeri Smith-Ready

August 25, 2011
Review: “Shade,” Jeri Smith-ReadyShadeby Jeri Smith-Ready
Series: Shade #1
Published by Simon Pulse on May, 2010
Genres: Ghosts, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 336

Best. Birthday. Ever. At least, it was supposed to be. With Logan’s band playing a critical gig and Aura’s plans for an intimate after-party, Aura knows it will be the most memorable night of her boyfriend’s life. She never thought it would be his last.

Logan’s sudden death leaves Aura devastated. He’s gone. Well, sort of.

Like everyone born after the Shift, Aura can see and hear ghosts. This mysterious ability has always been annoying, and Aura had wanted nothing more than to figure out why the Shift happened so she can undo it. But not with Logan’s violet-hued spirit still hanging around. Because dead Logan is almost as real as ever. Almost.

It doesn’t help that Aura’s new friend Zachary is so understanding—and so very alive. His support means more to Aura than she cares to admit. As Aura’s relationships with the dead and the living grow ever complicated, so do her feelings for Logan and Zachary. Each holds a piece of Aura’s heart… and clues to the secret of the Shift.

Shade was a good start to what seems to be a fascinating series. Jeri Smith-Ready changes up the typical ghost plotline, weaving it into something mysterious and almost government-controlled. I’ll be picking up Shift, the second in the series, as soon as I’m able.

This is one of those 3-star books I almost gave a 4-star to. Something was holding me back, though. I’m not sure if it was my detachment from Aura, our leading lady, or the fact that Shade felt a little at times like too much of a ‘first-in-the-series’ book.

I read the synopsis for Shade ages ago, but I didn’t do a refresher course before diving into the book. Therefore I had no idea Logan was going to die – until he started complaining of numbness and after downing the ‘Liquid Stupid’. That’s when I began to get suspicious. I was thinking ‘okay, don’t do this…‘ because I was really warming up to he and Aura as a couple. I guess that’s not really a spoiler if you’re read the synopsis, so I’ll keep my shock in my review! *Feels stupid for not reading synopsis before opening first page*

Although I loved Logan, Aura on her own just doesn’t rub me the right way. I don’t dislike her, but I’m certainly not fond of her either. This might change when I start on book two, Shift, which I’m definitely going to be doing. I tend to lean away from the ‘goth/emo’ narrating characters, so maybe this was why I didn’t like her too much. As soon as she mentioned her skull-shaped barrettes, I felt myself frown. That’s just a personal choice, though.

I liked Zachary enough, and his Scottish-ness, but I’m not too attached to him either (yet). While I wanted Aura to move on from Logan, I didn’t want her falling into Zachary’s arms as quick as she did. I also couldn’t fathom why he’d taken such a shine to Aura in such a short amount of time. Apart from spending a few nights drawing star charts together, they didn’t know much about each other and she kept a lot from him regarding her relationship with Logan – which was an integral part of herself.

I feel like there are still a lot of loose ends, and that perhaps there were TOO many plotlines twisting together for me to feel the book was running smoothly. We had Aura’s relationship with Logan, her relationship with Zach, the mystery of her parents, Zach’s secret as well as his father’s job, Logan’s court case, Eowyn Harris and the research project on the Monoliths. I think my ‘like’ for this book would’ve increased if some of these threads had been tied up neatly before the book’s close, but I must admit that Jeri Smith-Ready managed to evoke a HUGE amount of emotion in me during those final chapters, for which I applaud.

I’m really interested in the world that Jeri Smith-Ready has created. I’m eager to learn about the Shift, as well as the mystery behind Zachary being the Last and Aura being the First. Aura’s parents also fascinate me, and I can’t wait to find out just why her mother ripped certain pages from her diary. It’s incredible to think about a whole generation being about to see ghosts (if born after a certain date) as well as the impact it’s had on the world; such as the red clothing and sheets, entire buildings and private areas being ‘blackboxed’ and a government-like task force dedicated to reeling in Shades and setting up ‘translators’ for court cases involving the dead.

Despite the things I wasn’t too fond of in the book, I still enjoyed Shade enough for me to want to continue on in the series. And that cliffhanger!!!

Recommended to: If you’re looking for a different twist to the typical ghost story, give Shade a go.

About Jeri Smith-Ready

Jeri Smith-Ready has been writing fiction since the night she had her first double espresso. Jeri lives in the rolling hills of Maryland with her husband and two cats, who often play tag-team "sit in the author's lap and keep her from writing." (The cats, that is, not the husband. Though actually...) When not writing, she's either out running or on Twitter.

1 Comment

  • Reply Steph August 25, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    I was iffy on this book at first, but somehow, somewhere along the way, I just fell in love. I hope you enjoy the next one!

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