by Kate Brian
Published on October 1, 2013
Source: e-ARC from the publisher via Netgalley.
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Summary of the book from barnesandnoble.com: Rory Miller thought her life was over when a serial killer set his sights on her and forced her into witness protection. But a fresh start on Juniper Landing Island was exactly what she and her family needed. For the first time in years she and her sister hang out at the beach, gossip about boys, and party together. She's also made friends with a local clique-including a magnetic and mysterious boy named Tristan. But Rory's world is about to change again. Picturesque Juniper Landing isn't what it seems. The truth about the swirling fog that rolls in each morning, the bridge that leads to nowhere, and those beautiful locals who seem to watch Rory's every move is more terrifying than being hunted by Steven Nell. And all Rory ever wanted was the truth. Even if it means learning that she can never go home again.
A million thank yous, Disney-Hyperion, for not putting Shadowlands spoilers in that blurb. I have tried my very best to also keep spoilers for both books out of this review :)
My take: When I read the blurb for Shadowlands, I decided that this book was right up my alley -- creepy serial killers and people hidden by the witness protection program are just the kind of thing I like to read about. In Shadowlands, Rory's in hiding on a remote island with her family from a notorious serial killer. There's a lot of creepy suspense as Rory explores her new home and then … wham. The book ends with a Big Twist.
I really didn't see the twist coming at all. Ever since then, I've been wondering what direction the next book would take. I think a lot of people are going to love Hereafter. There was definitely good stuff there -- the kind of set-up and can-you-believe-it twists and turns that are a trademark of Kate Brian (and, for that matter, most Alloy Entertainment books.)
I loved the fact that a lot of interesting conflicts were created in Hereafter when Rory learns the truth about her family's situation. And, though we've lost the on-the-run-from-a serial-killer plot, the book still tries to build suspense. There are two POVs in Hereafter: Rory's and that of some creepy person who's watching her. That second POV was a little cheesy, but also kind of fun. When I found out the creeper's identity, I was sort of happy, because I never liked that person. At all.
What I was less crazy about were the book's moralistic overtones. My issue wasn't that a particular religious view was mentioned or advocated, but I didn't love the fact that in Hereafter, the world building was pretty much about separating "good" people from "bad" people. Not to get all philosophical, but I think that labels like that are a little problematic. I was pleased that Rory objects to the way people on the island are categorized, but I wished she had also questioned the categorization itself.
However, I will definitely keep reading in the series because I think that in book three, we will get to see the Shadowlands, and -- call me weird -- I really like those kind of stories. (I can't say more without spoilers, but if you've read the book, you'll know what I mean.) I really hope that's exactly where I am headed -- fictionally, of course!