Sunday, August 17, 2014

Review: Falls the Shadow by Stefanie Gaither

Falls the Shadow by Stefanie Gaither
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 16, 2014
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

When Cate Benson was a kid, her sister, Violet, died. Two hours after the funeral, Cate’s family picked up Violet’s replacement. Like nothing had happened. Because Cate’s parents are among those who decided to give their children a sort of immortality—by cloning them at birth—which means this new Violet has the same smile. The same perfect face. Thanks to advancements in mind-uploading technology, she even has all of the same memories as the girl she replaced.

She also might have murdered the most popular girl in school.

At least, that’s what the paparazzi and the anti-cloning protestors want everyone to think: that clones are violent, unpredictable monsters. Cate is used to hearing all that. She’s used to defending her sister, too. But Violet has vanished, and when Cate sets out to find her, she ends up in the line of fire instead. Because Cate is getting dangerously close to secrets that will rock the foundation of everything she thought was true.

In a thrilling debut, Stefanie Gaither takes readers on a nail-biting ride through a future that looks frighteningly similar to our own time and asks: how far are you willing to go to keep your family together?

What I Liked:

I'm not sure how I feel about this one. On the one hand, I enjoyed the ride. On the other, it was nothing special. It felt like other science fiction novels I've read, which makes me a little sad. I love science fiction novels, but I love original ones. 

Cate and her sister have clones. Her parents decided to have clones made when Cate and her sister were born, because life is dangerous in this futuristic world. Diseases and sickness ravage the world, which make her parents cautious. When Violet (Cate's sister) dies, they go to get her clone. A perfect copy of Violet, with even her memories intact (the clone and the origin are linked in the brain through devices). Four years later, Violet (clone) goes missing, and Samantha Voss is presumed dead. Everything is about to change for Cate, and she will finally know the truth.

So basically, Cate doesn't know where her clone sister went, but everyone expects her to know. When she is taken to the CCA (which, for the life of me, I have no idea what that organization is or stands for), she learns that the cloning lab/company is evil, with nefarious, ulterior motives. But the CCA is just as bad, for kidnapping her and refusing to let her go. She goes on the run from both, and to find her sister.

The first half of the book was interesting. The second half of the book was anticlimactic. It wasn't an epic showdown, a heart-pounding thriller. I wasn't turning pages like a crazy person (or clicking the "next page" button on my Kindle, etc.). But I liked the first half of the book. It had my attention, even though I was convinced that this book wasn't anything unique.

There is romance in this book, but it's insta-love-y. The female protagonist was already in love with the male protagonist. And hey, maybe the male protagonist was already in love with the female protagonist. Maybe that's what the author was going for. But it seemed like instalove. These two were too familiar with each other, too forgiving, too able to make difficult, heartbreaking decisions for each other too quickly. 

Like I said about the second half... anticlimactic. I expected a more crazy ending, but it seems like things just smoothed out and ended, which is certainly NOT how I imagine science fiction thrillers ending. There was a pretty interesting climax, but it was so jumbled and ehhhh written that I barely understood what was going on. WAIT. I'm in the wrong section. Read on.

What I Did Not Like:

Anticlimactic borderline boring book. Instalove. Scrambled ending. Similar (in specific ways) to other science fiction books. Need I say more? 

I think I liked the book, but it was a bit boring. I wanted to finish the book, but I struggled. I wanted to like it, but there was no spark, nothing that made this book stand about. There was nothing special about this book.

It reminded me A LOT of Linked and Unravel by Imogen Howson. In fact, the ideas are eerily similar. Same publisher too. Hmmm. In Linked, there are twin girls linked together by a path in their brain. The spare escapes. In this book, there is an origin and a clone, linked in the brain. The clone has extra abilities, just as the spare does in Linked. I really enjoyed the Linked duology. It was a lot more fleshed out than this book. This book wasn't very developed, in my opinion. The plot is simple and predictable, and it doesn't hold much. The story isn't based on much, either. Who cares whether or not Cate knows where Violet is? Why is Cate so important? I still don't get it. Go after Violet, not Cate.

I'm confused about a lot of things in this book. Like what the CCA is. I don't even know what the acronym stands for. I understand the players in the game - Huxley or CCA or anything. I didn't understand why Cate was being chased like a terrorist. Yes, her father is the mayor. Yes, she is cloned. Yes, her sister possibly killed a girl. But why go after Cate like that? It makes no sense.

I already explained the instalove. Instalove is almost as bad as a love triangle, but not quite. No love triangle. Look, Cate's not a bad character. Neither is her boy. Neither is Seth, her boy's best friend. Don't worry, Seth isn't part of the romance - he's more of a comic relief character (love him!). I can't remember the male protagonist's name, so we're going to roll with "her boy". What was I saying... oh, yeah, the instalove. Meh.

I mentioned the characters in the previous paragraph... I didn't really *like* Cate, and couldn't connect with her. Jaxon - THAT'S HIS NAME - is cool, but too perfect. Too good. Too selfless. I like character flaws, imperfections, human (negative) traits. Ahem, Jaxon.

The ending was kind of meh too. It ended on a boring note and wasn't all that exciting, in my opinion. Meh.

Would I Recommend It:

No. Not really. It's an okay novel, and I think I liked it while reading it, but ehhh, I wouldn't recommend it. 


2.5 stars -> rounded up to 3 stars. Perhaps if there is a sequel, I might read it. IF there is a sequel. We'll see though.

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!


  1. Hmmm, I think I'll probably be skipping this one, even more since you've already recommended Linked & Unraveled, and I have them both home to be read!
    Thanks for the very honest review, Alyssa!

    1. Skip it, it's not that great. Linked/Unravel are really great! This book is entirely too similar. You're welcome - and thank YOU!!

  2. Oh no, I was really excited about this one. But I understand where you're coming from. Insta-love and meh ending can bring a lot to not liking the book. I'm still not sure if I'll be reading this one, even though I have a review copy.

    1. Ahhh, I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news! Though I hope you do give it a shot, since you have a review copy. You never know, it may work for you! Especially if you haven't read Linked/Unravel.

  3. Okay so you convinced me to read Linked (which iirc had a gorgeous cover) and pass on this one. I've read similar stories and this one doesn't seem to differentiate itself positively. Thanks for the review, Alyssa!

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

    1. YES! Read Linked! That duology is amazing. You're very welcome, P.E.! And thank you :)

  4. Meh. It sounds boring, lol :D Amazing review, though, sweetie. <3 I'm glad you didn't fully hate it; but sorry you didn't love it either. I'm not sure this would be a book for me. Though, honestly, still haven't read the summary :p But sounds boring from your review, hah :D Thank you for sharing. <3

    1. Boring is about right. I would recommend the Linked series instead. You should skip, if you weren't familiar with it before! You're welcome, Carina - and thank YOU!!

  5. I'm really bumped that you didn't end up liking the book because the premise sounded promising and the cover is just amazing. The reason why I like to read thrilling books like that is to constantly be on the edge of my seat trying to figure out what is going on. And if that is what is missing in this one I think I have to pass it up. But since you mentioned the Linked duology and I had my eye on those for a long time now I think I will just pick them up instead :) Great review!

    1. I agree - I wanted to like it! When thrillers are thrilling... well, that makes me sad :( However, yes, I totally recommend the Linked duology! I hope that if you read the series, you enjoy it :D Thank you so much, Roy!!

  6. I'm sorry this didn't work for you, Alyssa. I was looking forward to it myself, but my expectations are definitely lowered. It actually sounds a lot like the book Lost Girl - which cam out a couple of years ago I think. If you're going to do a book about clones, and it's not that original, at least make it exciting! And the lackluster romance certainly doesn't help.

    Thanks for your thoughts, lady!

    1. It was okay while I was reading it... but even then, meh. Lower expectations is the way to go, especially if you are going to read it! I hope you like it, if you do read it.

      Thank YOU, Danielle! <3


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