SHADOW WALKERS By Brent Hartinger [Review]

Shadow Walkers

Years ago, it feels like a million of them now, I had the chance to review the first novel from a new author by the name of Brent Hartinger. It was a wonderfully written book and I remember hoping that is was just the first of a long career. Happily, it was, and Hartinger’s latest, SHADOW WALKERS, is a book with the perfect blend of horror, adventure and romance.

Sixteen-year-old Zach lives on a tiny island in the middle of Puget Sound. Even though he is close, by ferry ride, to Seattle and Tacoma, he might as well live on the other side of the earth. Hinder Island is a small place, everyone knows everyone and there’s not much for him or his brother, Gilbert to do. Even after two years, he still feels like an outcast and his one escape is the internet. That is until he’s grounded and loses his ‘net privileges for a week. Bored, he discovers a book on astral-projection. However, after an unsuccessful attempt he gives up. It’s not until his brother is kidnapped that he realizes that astral projection might be the answer to finding his brother. While in the astral plane Zach meets Emory, a teen like himself, and they embark on the dangerous adventure to find Gilbert and defeat an ancient creature that lurks in the astral plane as well.

Shadow Walkers is a great read. Even though it is a young adult novel, I was riveted and read it through almost without a break. The idea of astral projection is interesting and fairly unique; it’s not something I’ve run across in many books, and certainly not as the central theme. The time Hartinger put in on research and tying together the varying ideas relating to astral projection shows, and it gives the book an authentic feel as far as that part of the supernatural element of the story goes.

And let me say, the creature in this book will haunt you. I don’t care if you are eight or eighty, this is a well thought out and well conceived baddie. Once or twice I was sure I felt the chill of its presence as I read the book. It’s that well done. Creepy, horror, scary, creepy, terrifying and did I say creepy?

I really, really liked Zach. He wasn’t whiny, he wasn’t annoying and a lot of teen protagonists can be. When he realized his brother was missing, he also reasoned how to reach him and took the chance, no matter where it would lead him. Over the course of the book, I loved the way he grew, his strength and his loyalty. He is actually one of the most likable characters I have come across in a long time. When you add in Emory, his friend, then boyfriend, it is such a lovely mix. Their relationship is sweet, gentle and touching. The discovery of love is a perfect counterpoint to the rest of the story, and again, adds a sense of realism to the whole world, making it solid and believable.

Shadow Walkers is just a wonderful book, and I hope that there will be more Zach and Emory books in the future. I know I will anxiously await reading their next adventure. These are people I like, and would like to get to know even better.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars | Publisher: Flux | Pages: 216 | Source: Publisher | Buy on Amazon

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