Minutes Before Sunset by Shannon A. Thompson
Here is a word of warning. You are going to get to the end of chapter one and say I can put this down anytime I want to. Then you’re going to realize it’s five o’clock in the morning and you forgot to sleep. It’s true. It happened to me.
Jess and her parents move back to the town of her birth. She was adopted and they left the past in the past but now that they are back Jess wants some answers.
Eric is the rich kid in town. He also has a secret. He’s a shade. A very special shade. He has his own prophecy and everything. He isn’t really looking forward to his next birthday because that’s when he’s supposed to fight an epic battle that could kill him. Between keeping up his human identity and training for battle Eric doesn’t really have time to mentor a shade that doesn’t even know she’s a shade. He also can’t walk away.
This book tosses convention on its head. Forget everything you think you know about how good and evil are supposed to act. Forget about how you think light and dark spend their time. The author throws all of that out the window. She forges a new reality for the characters that represent dark and light. Should shades be dark and evil? What is dark and evil? Does dark and evil know it’s supposed to be dark and evil? Can light and good be so corrupt that it only looks like light and good?
The characters in this novel are unique and the story is told from two points of view. Don’t worry. The author moves between them with skillful ease. Eric is basically in hiding. If the light finds him before he’s eighteen and able to protect himself they’ll be able to kill him. That would be really bad new for the shades. I believe I mentioned a prophecy. Every shade has a human form that is different from their shade form which gives every shade sort of a secret identity. That means that names are secret sacred things that they don’t tell anyone they don’t know.
We don’t get to know to much about the light in this book. I get the feeling that the next book will have more of the light in it. I can’t tell you why because that would spoil the end and you really need to appreciate the end when you read this book. While I was reading I screamed NO this can’t be happening. Once I calmed down and thought about it I realized the end was very clever. As I said before this book tosses convention on its head. I think this series will twist convention further and prove to be something I’ll continue to be excited to read.
This book has numerous twists and turns. I felt compassion for both Eric and Jess. He lives with the constant threat of death hanging over him. The shade he meets in the woods offers him an escape. He can be himself while he teaches her. His friendship with her is dangerous because he slips away each night to meet with her. She’s also dangerous because she wasn’t brought up in the shade community. She’s nameless and she doesn’t know he’s supposed to fight the epic battle. I liked that fact that the person who brings him so much peace could also unknowingly put him in so much danger. It offered a nice balance.
Jess has an overwhelming need to find out information about her birth parents. She has a great life and her parents love her but she wonders about her birth parents and who they were. Her parents agree to allow her to search for information but only if she has good grades. The problem there is that Eric is her lab partner and he’s busy with other things. She finds him a sleep a lot because he’s been out all night with a certain nameless shade. I love how it all comes together at the end. It’s a beautiful story.
Lot’s of YA series follow a formula whether they mean to or not. The first book is usually about the two main characters coming together. The second is usually about how one of them goes away and comes back in the end. I’m interested to see how book two plays out because the end of book one contorts the YA formula I’ve come to expect. Shannon A. Thompson offers us a completely new take on YA urban fantasy.
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