Eliza's Shadowby Catherine Wittmack
Published on May 26, 2012 by Local Honey Publishing
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Eliza Gowan's past has come back to hunt her. Since her mother's mysterious disappearance, Eliza has enjoyed a quiet life under the care of her aunt in the sleepy town of Port Rune. But the moment magnetic Ren Alden appears in her high school classroom, Eliza is thrust into the exciting world of magic and the path of danger. Menaced by an otherworldly enemy, Eliza embarks on a quest to solve the mysteries of her past and end the hunt for good.
I love a good YA paranormal romance, which is the first thing I thought of after reading the synopsis for Eliza’s Shadow. This book had its ups and downs. The storyline itself was different than what I expected; original enough to keep my interest until the very end. I liked the magic aspect as I’m a sucker for a good witch story. Wittmack also utilizes strong descriptions and her character interactions do well to portray both the characters and the situations they find themselves in. I had no problem relating to Eliza, who I consistently thought was much older than she really was (perhaps a remark of her maturity compared to the average teenager). Ren was also a favorite of mine, even more so than Eliza.
What I didn’t like: Ren and Eliza as a “thing.” Their romance came off as…forced, unnecessary, in need of more development, and just…weird. It just seemed like it was there because the author thought it was a requirement. After all, the YA paranormal romance genre is indeed popular these days. But for this novel, I thought is wasn’t needed and didn’t really work in general. The pacing also threw me quite a bit. Granted, I’m a fan of action and adventure, but this story seemed to lack it to the point that I often wished the next page would liven things up…and the next page…and the next. Description is great but not a constant necessity.
Despite some of its flaws, I set Eliza’s Shadow down with a satisfied feeling. It was a good read–entertaining and original while playing to some of the favored cliches of the genre. While it may not be the best book I’ve ever read, I would certainly read more from Catherine Wittmack and recommend this to anyone who’s a fan of the YA paranormal genre. The novel flows easily despite the slow pacing and keeps the reader intrigued throughout the story. This is a good “witchy” story for young adult and middle grade readers (and fans).