by Joe Shine
Published by Soho Teen Release date : June 10th, 2014
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Source: The Publisher | Format: ARC
Purchase at: Amazon (Affiliate Link) • Audible • The Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads
Ren Sharpe was abducted at fourteen and chosen by the mysterious F.A.T.E. Center to become a Shadow: the fearless and unstoppable guardian of a future leader. Everything she held dear—her family, her home, her former life—is gone forever.
Ren survives four years of training, torture, and misery, in large part thanks to Junie, a fellow F.A.T.E. abductee who started out as lost and confused as she did. She wouldn’t admit it was possible to find love in a prison beyond imagining, but what she feels for Junie may just be the closest thing to it.
At eighteen they part ways when Ren receives her assignment: find and protect college science student Gareth Young, or die trying. Life following a college nerd is uneventful, until an attack on Gareth forces Ren to track down the only person she can trust. When she and Junie discover that the F.A.T.E. itself might be behind the attacks, even certain knowledge of the future may not be enough to save their kidnappers from the killing machines they created.
I received this book for free from The Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I Become Shadow was one of my WoW picks a few months back, and I was beyond excited when I was asked to be on the tour.
Ren is taken from her home at age 14, and soon learns that she is now a part of F.A.T.E. A government organization that trains kids to be SHADOWS, an elite brand of spy that is to protect the future’s most important people. What we learn though, is that there is more to this “organization” than we thought.
Holy batman, how awesome does this sound? Morbid, sure. Kidnapping children from their home, forcing them to train to kill.. Well, makes for a great plot, no? It’s gruesome, this F.A.T.E. organization. Not many of the kids kidnapped actually make it out of the training, which explains a lot about what actually happens.
One of the main things that stands out is the narrating style. It’s Ren talking to US. The first quarter of the book, we get a small snid bit of her life before F.A.T.E. Then, the first few months inside the training center, on to after she placed with her FIP (Future Important Person). This style will not appeal to everyone, and it did take some getting use to.
Another plus in the writing? No info dump. We slowly learn about the organization over the course of the novel, in summarized bits and pieces. The technology, the training, the secrets that F.A.T.E. keeps. Once you think you know everything you need to know, more information comes flooding in. It really kept me on my toes. Also, nothing is held back. It’s action packed and violent – as it should be, considering the overall aspect of the novel.
On to Ren. Her voice was very immature at first, but since she IS 14, that explains it. She is smart, witty and just hilarious. She doesn’t change much during the course of the training. However much I appreciated this – I can’t help but see the unlikelihood of this actually happening. I mean, basic training changes people. So, imagine 4 years of gruesome training. She comes out tough, obviously, but still snarky and pretty true to herself.
The other characters too, Junie and Gareth. Junie is another shadow that Ren meets in training. They become close over those 4 years. I really liked him, and the romance angle too. It doesn’t overshadow the main plot of the book, but it is important, especially where Gareth comes in.
Gareth is Ren’s FIP. Once a shadow is assigned, they are linked to that person. That link creates almost a lust like reaction with Ren. She feels compelled to protect him, obviously, but she also gets a euphoric high being around him. Feelings of contentment and such. I could have went without that aspect though – yet, it creates hard to answer questions for Ren, which was important overall. If that makes sense.
– My Peeve –
As of right now, I don’t see anything around that there is a sequel. I am all for a standalone, but there are SO many unanswered questions, that I can’t help but BEG for a sequel.
– Overall –
I really liked it! Full of action, witty characters and unique writing, I Become Shadow was all I hoped it would be. I recommend it!