Secrets and Shadows is the second book in the 13 to Life series by Shannon Delany. It was published by St Martin’s Griffin (US) on 3rd March and the book is 320 pages long.
When your friends are werewolves and you’re not, don’t expect for your life to be anything close to normal.
After what happened on Pietr Rusakova’s birthday, Jessie Gillmansen thought she had seen it all. It isn’t everyday that you see your major crush turn into a werewolf and uncover his families secret after all. Since that day, nothing has been the same for Jessie and even though she does her best, things are getting to her. Pietr is still not her boyfriend and continues to fake date one of her best friends and the Rusakova family’s mother still hasn’t been found.
As time is running out to find Pietr’s mother, Jessie realises that the decisions are only going to get harder and no one seems to be making the right ones. When things get tough and Pietr backs off, Jessie only has her human friends to turn to for help but none of them are exactly what they seem. In a world full of mystery, suspense and secrets, Jessie has to figure out who she can actually trust before it is too late.
What I thought
I had pretty mixed feelings about the first book in this series, 13 to Life, but I still wanted to carry on with the series regardless as I hoped it would get better.
I had a bit of a love/ hate relationship with Jess in the first book and unfortunately, this didn’t change for me with the second book. One of the main problems that I had with her before was how she always went on about caring so much for her friends but didn’t show it and she kind of does the same thing here only not on such a grand scale. The good things about Jess though were that she is still outspoken and pretty fierce. Jess isn’t afraid of any of the crazy things going on around her and infact, she wants to be more involved which I had to applaud her for. If I found out some of my friends were werewolves I would probably run a million miles. She has guts for sure and this one factor of her character was the redeeming factor.
The relationship between Pietr and Jessie annoyed the hell out of me throughout the first half (and maybe a little more) of this book. Both characters made silly decisions regarding the other and whatever was happening around them and I just didn’t understand why. Some reasons are given later on in the book but I really didn’t feel as though the choices were justified enough. However, I did still love Pietr just not as much as I did originally. His use of Russian gets me every time and it was tied in extremely well with his relationship with Jess. Although I didn’t understand some of his actions, they were finally justified a lot more than Jess’s were in the end. Pietr has a lot going for him as the hero of the story and I can’t wait to see what the next book has in store for him.
Secondary characters in the form of Pietr’s family and a couple of Jess’s friends were, again, what made this book good. Due to the expansion of the werewolves’ story, we get to find out a whole lot more about the Rusakova family and their history. Getting to learn of their past, what drives them to make certain decisions and understanding their actions was by far the most interesting part of this book and even though there was quite a lot of this, I still wanted more. I think I could read about this family all day long and still be happy. I was also really happy to see Jess’s friends included more in the main story as they were just there for the sake of it last time around.
The pacing of this book was much, much better than that of 13 to Life. I didn’t feel as though the story was disjoined in any areas this time around and now, it flowed really well. The book begins pretty much where the first book left off and had a nice build up to the excitement. There are quite a few twists and turns in Secrets and Shadows and although most of them were quite obvious, there were a couple of massive twists that I didn’t see coming at all. I loved that I could know instantly what would happen in some areas of the story but then other parts would shock me completely. There was a really nice mix of knowing and mystery throughout.
While Secrets and Shadows was not amazing, it was still a pretty entertaining read. There were aspects that I loved, hated and felt unsure about but overall, I still finished this book quite happily. I really think that Delany is getting much better with each book she writes and for this reason, I will carry on with the series.