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Shadow Walkers by Brent Hartinger

Published by Flux

Pages: 216

Ages: Young Adult

Publishers Summary: Zach lives with his grandparents on a remote island in Puget Sound in Washington State. With only his little brother, Gilbert, to keep him company, Zach feels cut off from the world. But when Gilbert is kidnapped, Zach tries the only thing he can think of to find him: astral projection. Soon, his spirit is soaring through the strange and boundless astral realm—a shadow place. While searching for his brother, Zach meets a boy named Emory, another astral traveler who’s intriguing (and cute).

As Zach and Emory track the kidnappers from the astral realm, their bond grows—but each moment could be Gilbert’s last. Even worse, there’s a menacing, centuries-old creature in their midst that devours souls and possesses physical bodies. And it’s hungry for Zach.

Zach’s life consists of watching out for his younger brother, keeping in line for his grandparents and connecting with his friends online. Suddenly though, all of those things seem to be falling through the cracks. First Zach forgets his chores, then gets the internet taken away from him and lastly the most devastating thing of all happens, his brother Gilbert goes missing. After the sudden death of his parents, Gilbert is his only remaining “family” and his disappearance is frightening to say the least. Zach will stop at nothing to find him, including make a visit to another world where everything could potentially go incredibly wrong.

Shadow Walkers is the first book by Brent Hartinger that I’ve read, though he has many to choose from. I had the opportunity of meeting him at a recent signing during ALA Mid-Winter and have to say, he was absolutely wonderful. Extremely down-to-earth and his writing definitely portrays that easy going pace he exudes in person. What enjoyed most of all from Shadow Walkers was this very thing, it was an incredibly quick and easy going read. Which, after reading book after book that exceeds more than 400 pages was a pleasant reprieve. I loved how quickly you were drawn into Zach’s life and were able to connect with him within a matter of pages.

Essentially, Shadow Walkers is a young adult science fiction book that explores the possibilities of a world other than our own. In Zach’s case he travels to the astral realm to search for his kidnapped brother without being detected. This was a concept I definitely enjoyed seeing explored, because it wasn’t as if Zach was leaving earth but stayed here invisible to all those around him. The conflict arises in the fact that what does Zach do once he discovers his brother? Could he leave him to try and contact the authorities, because in his astral state how could he save his brother? It’s a fantastic concept and creates just the right amount of conflict to have you turning the pages to the very end.

During his travels in the astral realm that night he encounters another teen, Emory, who also happens to be gay like Zach. This is where I had to pause, not because they were both gay, but because the speed in which their relationship developed. Now, having said I enjoyed the short quick read aspect of the book I’m going to sound like I’m contradicting myself, but I really wish Zach and Emory’s relationship had been explored a little longer, that it was allowed to develop over a little longer span of time. I say longer because their relationship happens over the space of only a little more than a day/night. They’re suddenly enthralled with one another and “in love.” In any book with a romantic relationship I question the probability of this happening so quickly, it’s not exclusive to Shadow Walkers, I just wish it had gone a bit differently. Outside of this, I really enjoyed their interaction and honestly wish it would have continued further.

With time running out, Zach takes matters into his own hands and enters the astral realm to find his kidnapped brother Gilbert. In a world filled with fantastic young adult fiction, Brent Hartinger brings an element to the table that’s rarely explored through his characters as well as the science fiction genre. I’m positive readers will enjoy the quick pace of Shadow Walkers, but may be left wanting just a bit more from the relationship between Zach and his suddenly acquired boyfriend Emory. A novel that reaches beyond this world into other realms where dangers lurk around every corner as do wonderful new friendships, much the way they do in “real life” and often in our own everyday use of the internet.

The1stdaughter Recommends: Ages 15 and up. A science fiction young adult novel that will appeal to readers who’ve often wondered, what exactly hides within the walls of your computer and who might you encounter when your life is based in another existence outside of “real life”?

Find Shadow Walkers by Brent Hartinger at the following spots:
Powell’s Books
Barnes & Noble

Please make sure to stop by the other tour stops for Shadow Walkers by Brent Hartinger, you may even be able to win your very own copy!
Thank you so much to the publisher, Flux, who provided a copy for review to me while at ALA Mid-Winter this year!
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6 Responses to Book Review: Shadow Walkers by Brent Hartinger

  1. Sounds like an interesting premise! Thanks for the review. 🙂

  2. NotNessie says:

    It is annoying when relationships develop too quickly to be believable, especially in cases where one or both of the characters involved is supposed to be “untrusting.”

    This book sounds interesting and different… probably not my thing, but I enjoyed reading your review.

  3. Gina says:

    Interesting cover there….sorta psychedelic with the colors and picture warp. Story wise…sounds like it has a bit of a creepy factor too. A “creature” that “devours souls”… O_O …spooky. How cool you got to meet the author! As for my future reading list, perhaps not…but I know a few that would be interested. Will be passing the recommendation on. Thanks for sharing!

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