Khanh the Killjoy

Shadows (The Rephaim #1)

Shadows (The Rephaim #1) - Paula Weston Actual rating: 3.5/5For being the offspring of angels, the Rephaim sure are a bunch of asshats. This is one of the rare books for me where the writing is great, the plot is free of holes and the mythology well-explained, yet I still ended up despising almost every single character. Essentially, I have no complaints about this book except for the fact that I started up disliking and ended up absolutely hating and distrusting almost every single male in this book.I am by no means a prude, but I avoid reading New Adult books because I know what pisses me off, and I will intentionally avoid that which will likely give me a headache. More often than not in New Adult, there's too much emotionless sex, there's too much gratuitous swearing, there's a lot of physical or emotional abuse, and there's a lot of alpha males who are complete assholes; luckily for me, only the latter applied to this book. I ended up enjoying Shadows a lot more than I expected, despite the presence of the omnipresent and aforementioned asshats.After having lived so long on this earth, one would think that these children of fallen angels would have developed some iotas of common sense. Nope, not here. They're dangerously precarious, notoriously short-tempered, and lacking in wisdom and maturity. They've got some serious power, and no sense of restraint. It's like giving a bunch of little kids playing cops and robber some real AK-47s. Out of all the male Rephaites I met in this book, two of whom are the main character's love interest/former love interest, I can only say one positive thing about Rafa versus Daniel: he's less abusive. Still immature, but less abusive. "He's nearly a hundred and forty but not too old to sulk." A glowing recommendation, for sure.Haven't these Rephaims ever heard of the idiom "You catch more flies with honey?" Apparently not. Surely beating the living crap out of a poor Rephaite who's completely lost her memory, trying to drown her, and siccing a demon-hellion on her must be more helpful than just being nice to her and earning her trust. Stockholm syndrome works, but I'm not sure if this is the way to go about doing it. And the gangleader of all this? The gentleman who's siccing his little army of sycophants on poor Gaby? None other than her former lover, who might still love her but is showing it in a really strange way. And by strange, I mean drugging.I really liked Gaby's character. She's obviously mourning for her brother, but while her grief is a crippling pain, she doesn't let her life get ruled by it. She makes an active effort to move on after Jude's death, and throughout the book, she shows a similar sense of strength and fortitude of will, despite all the overwhelming things that have descended upon her and despite the fact that her entire life or what she knows and remembers of it might have been a well-crafted lie.Gaby has a healthy sense of skepticism but she is openminded. She is receptive towards accepting things that have no explanation, and is not so stubborn that she is completely in denial of what's going on, even if what's happening is far beyond the stretch of the ordinary imagination. Still, Gaby doesn't hesitate to call out Rafa or Daniel on their bullshit when she sees it.The mythology is really well-done. Gaby is a great narrator in that she lets information be given to her and questions the things told to her in such a way that it never feels like the mythology is retold staccato or that information is spoon-fed to the reader. Gaby, again, questions things. She has a healthy sense of disbelief, and this works out so well in the context of learning about the angels and their offspring, so that in a sense, our skepticism towards the plot gradually fades as she becomes grudgingly resigned to her past.Rafa and Daniel frustrated me so much. I found Rafa to be agonizingly patronizing towards Gaby. He's possessive, he withholds information, and gets upset when she doesn't listen to his vague instructions:"His voice flattens. '...If you’d listened to me---''Listened to you about what?' The anger comes easily. 'You've kept me blundering around in the dark, and don't act like you haven’t been enjoying yourself...having fun at my expense.'"I found very little tenderness and credibility in Rafa and Gaby's relationship. It's just pure attraction (he's hot, they're all hot) coupled with the fact that she's grieving and "it was a bit easier because he’s grieving too."Still, Rafa is a gentleman and a prize compared to our Daniel. He's an abuser and a torturer under the guise of good. Daniel's excuse for his treatment of Gaby?"'Gabe, this is not the way I wanted to do this. But whoever did this to you left us with no choice.''Of course there's a choice---you could choose not to hurt me! You could accept my memories are gone. Whatever I may or may not have known about your precious Fallen no longer exists.'"Ugh ugh ugh. And his lackeys...what a bunch of witless drones. There is a phrase used in the book to describe the mindless idiocy of the demon spawned hellions that I think actually fits really well with the majority of the Rephaim: "they’ve got the vocabulary of a warthog and the brain function of a slug."I will be reading the next book because I am truly curious as to what will happen next, despite my dislike of the guys in this first installment.Thanks to Stacia and Ash for the recommendation and the buddy read!I received a copy of this book for review from Netgalley.