Paranormal Young Adult
Received from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)Life can change in an instant, and no one understands that better than Aura. It’s been almost a year since her boyfriend tragically died. She’s finally letting go of Logan’s violet-hued ghost, but not her search to uncover the truth about her past.
As the first in a generation that can see ghosts, Aura is convinced she has a connection to the Shift. She’s trusted Zachary, ever patient and ever by her side, with all that she knows. But when the government threatens his life in an attempt to learn Aura’s secrets, she will stop at nothing to protect herself and the one she loves...even if that means betraying her own heart.
MY THOUGHTSThe Shade series is one that elicits from us a strong emotional reaction, ripping our hearts out almost immediately with Logan’s tragic death and then alternately stitching it back together and ripping it open again as Aura deals with his status as a ghost as well as the arrival of Zachary and her subsequent feelings for him. Due to the absence of both Logan and Zachary at the beginning of Shine, our emotional investment in this third and final installment isn’t quite as strong initially, and we’re a left with an unexpected loneliness that has us frantically turning the pages in search of our beloved Scotsman. Once we’re assured of his presence, no matter the physical distance remaining between him and Aura, we’re able to settle in and direct all our considerable focus into reviewing the possibilities of how things are going to work out for the last of the pre-Shifters and the first of the post-Shifters.
Aura is and has always been a thoroughly enjoyable heroine, a young woman with an astounding resiliency who copes with one painful punch to the gut after the next as her life spirals out of control in the wake of Logan’s death. As mentioned above, there is a sense of emptiness in the opening chapters and for most of the first third of the book when Zachary is notably absent, however, while we feel her acute need for him, it never once crosses the line into obsession nor does she deteriorate in mental strength without him there to support her. She wants to be with him, she loves him, and she desires his safety above all else, but she also is beyond strong on her own, making plans and taking action until she lays eyes on him again.
Though Logan has finally passed on prior to the start of this last book, Ms. Smith-Ready does a beautiful job of threading Logan’s presence subtly throughout, never allowing us to forget him but also gloriously granting many a reader’s wish – to see Aura and Zachary’s relationship become the sole romantic element throughout. We feel Logan in this story, but the poignancy of Aura and Zachary’s love is finally given the full spotlight, and we can’t help but smile every time we see their names appear side by side on the page. Their relationship is not all sweetness and light though, as they face a myriad of challenges and seemingly omniscient foes at the hands of which death would be a mercy not likely granted.
Overall, Shine wraps up Aura’s story impressively despite a slightly slow beginning, answering all our questions about the Shift itself, Zach and Aura’s respective roles in it, and the future of the ghost-seeing world. Fans of the series will no-doubt delight in the romance and find themselves with brows creased in concentration as the mystery of the Shift unfolds—smiling, grimacing, cheering, and possibly tearing up as we walk the final leg of these cherished characters’ journey.