Title: Within the Shadows (Shadow World #1)
Author: Julieanne Lynch
Published Date: March 16th 2011 – RePub April 19th 2014
Genre: YA (Mature) Paranormal
***THIS BOOK WAS GIVEN TO ME IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW***
Living on the razors edge, Giselle Bergman’s life is torn apart by her cheating boyfriend. Little does she realize that he is the least of her worries when her long term friend, Alex, reveals a secret long hidden, and introduces to his family and a new, darker world; a world of lies, deceit and corruption.
Thrown from one problem straight into another, the razors edge gets thinner and sharper, testing Giselle’s sanity and vitality. Never truly knowing who her allies are, Giselle soon learns not to trust anyone, not even herself.
How far will Giselle run to escape what fate has dealt her?
Will she truly be free from the shadows that not only want her soul, but have her reborn as their Queen?
Join Giselle on a journey that is only beginning…
Not even she can hide when living within the shadows
The vampires were *mostly* ruthless villains, as vampires should be.
Sadly, for me, that is where my like for this book ends. I severely dislike the fact that the synopsis for this book is as misleading as it is. A book that is considered YA is solely based on the age of the main character (MC), but we are never given an age. She is a senior in high school, so she could be anywhere from 16-19. I feel that, because of the content of this book, the author needs to make sure it is known that the MC is at least 18 and market it as New Adult, not Young Adult. The content is graphic – detailed sex scenes, physical and mental abuse, and date rape (we’ll get to this bit later). The author is doing herself a disservice by marketing the book to the YA demographic.
In the beginning of the story I was rooting for Giselle, the MC. She essentially caught her boyfriend of four years cheating on her, and her best friend Alex swoops in and saves her from humiliation. However, he turns out to be a liar, and forces her into becoming a hybrid half vampire/half human and marrying him – solely to be a living incubator for his baby that is apparently going to be the savior of their kind. How does he do this? Date rape. Alex uses compulsion to arouse her so she will willingly have sex with him and not fight back. She is repeatedly date raped for weeks (though, thankfully, we only have to experience this once or twice) and she doesn’t realize this until a bit later. The author writes this as if it is sexy, when it should be viewed as disturbing. He then becomes physically abusive when she calls him out on it. At one point he nearly kills her.
Of course, she finds out from his cousin that he’s lying about the circumstances as to why they need to make this savior baby, and he swoops in to save her from Alex. This is where her father-in-law shows up and threatens the life of her family if she does not go with him, be his, and have his child… (Remember this later when I discuss rules). Are you seeing the pattern here? She cannot do anything on her own.
She agrees to go with her father-in-law if she is allowed one night with her cheating ex-boyfriend (eye-roll) so that she can experience true love at least once before she is whisked away to be a sex slave (let’s just call it what it is and stop sugar coating this crap as love). She has a one night stand (that would have been completely acceptable if it matched the character’s personality – again, remember later for our rules discussion) with her ex, and then the next day goes frolicking off with her father-in-law for another attempt at making a savior baby… again via the means of vampire date rape (at least one rule is followed).
But, it’s not rape if he loves you. That is what is going through Giselle’s mind once she gets used to father-in-law. He loves her – he told her so – and now she loves him. She doesn’t realize this until his life is in danger. Just on a whim. Minutes before this point she is having her irritating inner monologue about how much she loathes their existence (this is her inner monologue through the entire book). The one consistent aspect of this story (sans vampire date rape) is blown to bits in this one moment.
One last thing that really bothered me (I left a LOT out of this review because I have a general rule to not give away spoilers) were the rules set forth by the author in the beginning of the book, or the lack of rules to be more specific. In order for Giselle to survive she must “drink” the soul (life force) of humans. Because she is a hybrid vampire she must also eat food. Awesome. So why does she have an uncontrollable thirst for blood? Is that not the entire point of vampires drinking blood from a living source – they need the feed off of their life force to survive? Why do we need both? There needs to be more details for this, otherwise it does not make sense. The behaviors of the characters are all over the place. Father-in-law is a jerk from day one, and then all of the sudden, after threatening to kill her family he is in love with her, and willing to die for her. The conflicts (too many in one book to be quite frank) are so outlandish that we have gone past the world of fantasy and straight into unbelievable.
There was not a great deal of world building. There was no character growth at all – none. One minute we were supposed to love a character, then we were supposed to hate them. Or we were to hate them, then love them. I feel as though a younger girl reading this book (she will because the synopsis is so misleading) will take from this that the date rape is sexy – meaning she will not even realize it is DATE RAPE, because of how it is written. The MC orgasms every time, and it is mind blowing. And then she self-hates after because that is how she was raised, instead of realizing the reason she feels so dirty and used after is because she was date raped.
The best I can give this book is a 1.5 star – rounded up to 2.
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