Sunday, January 24, 2016

Review: Shade Me by Jennifer Brown

Title: Shade Me (Nikki Kill #1)
Author: Jennifer Brown
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller, Paranormal/Magical Realism
Source: Katherine Tegen via Edelweiss

Nikki Kill does not see the world like everyone else. In her eyes, happiness is pink, sadness is a mixture of brown and green, and lies are gray. Thanks to a rare phenomenon called synesthesia, Nikki’s senses overlap, in a way that both comforts and overwhelms her.
Always an outsider, just one ‘D’ shy of flunking out, Nikki’s life is on the fast track to nowhere until the night a mysterious call lights her phone up bright orange—the color of emergencies. It’s the local hospital. They need Nikki to identify a Jane Doe who is barely hanging on to life after a horrible attack.

The victim is Peyton Hollis, a popular girl from Nikki’s school who Nikki hardly knows. One thing is clear: Someone wants Peyton dead. But why? And why was Nikki’s cell the only number in Peyton’s phone?

As she tries to decipher the strange kaleidoscope of clues, Nikki finds herself thrust into the dark, glittering world of the ultra-rich Hollis family, and drawn towards Peyton’s handsome, never-do-well older brother Dru. While Nikki’s colors seem to help her unravel the puzzle, what she can’t see is that she may be falling into a trap. The only truth she can be sure of is that death is a deep, pulsing crimson.

Shade Me is award-winning author Jennifer Brown’s first book in a thrilling suspense series about Nikki Kill.
Review by Nara

Shade Me was quite different from the type of story I’d normally expect from Jennifer Brown. It frankly wasn’t as heartbreaking or feels inducing as most of her other stories. It had a paranormal element to it. It was a mystery/thriller. I don’t think any of these things had a major impact on how I viewed the novel though. It was pretty clear from the start that this was going to be a different style from Brown.

Shade Me stretched synesthesia a fair bit from what the condition is normally associated with, pushing it further into paranormal territory rather than something that can be explained with science. Basically, the main character Nikki sees letters and numbers as different colours; which is something that I've actually seen people have. However, in Shade Me, the character can also feel/see certain emotions in the room as different colours. For example, when someone feels lust she sees purple.

While it got a bit unbelievable at times, on the whole this was a very thrilling tale full of suspense and mystery. The mystery was definitely quite intriguing, with many layers to the initial superficial plot. I was never quite sure where the story was going to go, with its weird, sometimes almost unbelievable twists. I have to admit, the villain was fairly obvious even when the author tried to leave tracks in the other direction and one of the biggest twists was made ridiculously obvious by a ridiculously conspicuous (and what the author probably thought was a subtle) "hint".

The main character Nikki was quite headstrong, at times foolishly so, and it did kind of get to a point where she was putting herself into situations that were clearly way too dangerous for a high school student. At the same time, the story probably wouldn't have been as interesting without the dangerous situations so I guess I can't complain too much. I don't feel like I particularly liked any of the other characters, and to be honest, didn't feel much of a connection with Nikki either, which is why this book drops a star. To be fair, the book is much more of a plot focused novel anyway.

Overall, Shade Me was quite a fast-paced mystery/thriller that had a great layered plot and an interesting paranormal twist. It’s a book I’d recommend to people looking for a quick read.

Really liked it
Overall: 8/10
Plot: 4/5
Romance: 3/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Cover: 3/5