Saturday, June 29, 2013

Review: SHUDDER by Samantha Durante

It's only been three days, and already everything is different.

Paragon is behind her, but somehow Alessa's life may actually have gotten worse. In a wrenching twist of fate, she traded the safety and companionship of her sister for that of her true love, losing a vital partner she'd counted on for the ordeal ahead. Her comfortable university life is but a distant memory, as she faces the prospect of surviving a bleak winter on the meager remains of a ravaged world. And if she'd thought she'd tasted fear upon seeing a ghost, she was wrong; now she's discovering new depths of terror while being hunted by a deadly virus and a terrifying pack of superhuman creatures thirsting for blood.
And then there are the visions.

The memory-altering "stitch" unlocked something in Alessa's mind, and now she can't shake the constant flood of alien feelings ransacking her emotions. Haunting memories of an old flame are driving a deep and painful rift into her once-secure relationship. And a series of staggering revelations about the treacherous Engineers - and the bone-chilling deceit shrouding her world's sorry history - will soon leave Alessa reeling...

The second installment in the electrifying Stitch Trilogy, Shudder follows Samantha Durante's shocking and innovative debut with a heart-pounding, paranormal-dusted dystopian adventure sure to keep the pages turning.

When I read Samantha Durante’s debut novel, Stitch, I was blown away. Samantha had so skillfully woven a punch to the gut into her story that I didn’t even see it coming.

“Punch to the gut?” you ask. “Did the book physically attack you?”
I nod, not really sure how to explain it without giving away spoilers. “Kind of. It was more of an assault to the mind that felt like a punch to the gut.”
“How does that work?” you ask me, scratching your head.
Placing my hands on your shoulders, I shove you out the door, not sure why you are in my house. “Look, that’s something you’re going to have to discover yourself. Stitch is only 99 cents on Amazon. Buy yourself a copy and prepare to have your mind blown.”

Like I said, Stitch was like a punch to the gut. The sequel, Shudder, was the reader recovering from that punch, internally bleeding a little (I’ll get to that part later), and slowly trying to piece together where the punch came from.

What I really loved about Shudder was the different POVs that were in the story. Since we were seeing the story through the eyes of different characters, it really helped us have a better understanding of Paragon and what was taking place there while Alessa and Isaac were on their mission.

There was some steaminess, there was action, there was great world-building, there was a little bit of supernatural mystery happening again which surprised me, and there were a lot of twists that had my head spinning. There was a little bit of everything without it going overboard.

At one stage in the book, I had to stop reading (this is the part where Shudder punched me so hard, I started internally bleeding). I don’t want to spoil anything, but it had to do with a character dying. That’s all I’m going to say. Anyway, it affected me so much because I really cared for this character. That’s how invested I was in what happened to the characters, and I hadn’t even realised it.

The great thing about Samantha Durante is that she is a very skilled writer. I felt very safe in her hands as she took me through the story. And then, BAM, she punched me in the gut again! Freaking hell, Samantha! Like I needed you to do that to me in the end when I’d only just recovered from Isaac!

In conclusion, Shudder was a very intelligent book that makes you think about the future of our world. That’s what is so unsettling and real about this book; that the events are plausible and that one day, we might be faced with the same issues that were presented in Shudder.

I highly recommend Shudder and am impatiently awaiting the sequel. Thank you for writing such an insightful, wonderful, and thoughtful book, Samantha!

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