Saturday, June 25, 2016

Review: Grey and Shadow by Christi J. Whitney

The Romany Outcasts Series, Book 1
by Christi J. Whitney
Harper Voyager
YA Paranormal
344 pages

Sebastian Grey always thought he was a fairly normal teenager –- good friends, decent grades, and a pretty sweet job in his foster brother’s tattoo shop.

But when Romany gypsies arrive in town, Sebastian discovers that his world is not what it seems. There is an age-old feud between his family and the gypsies — and this isn’t the only secret his brother has been keeping from him. His life is not his own. The girl he’s been dreaming about has just turned up at school, and he feels compelled to protect her at all costs.

Even if that means life might never be normal again.


This book pushes a whole new type of mythical creature onto center stage, opening up an exciting adventure  with unexpected twists and turns until the last page.

Sebastian Grey is a normal high school senior with friends and a loving home. He's spent the last two years of his life living with his older foster brother and has no memory of his life before that point. Not that it matters to him. He's happy with how things are. He's a bit shy and anti-social but gets by just fine, which makes him a pretty easy character to sympathize with. 

Slowly, strange things start to happen, most concerning physical changes. It's clear right away that something's up, but it's unclear what. The author does a terrific job of dropping clues without revealing the true outcome, letting the tension and uncertainty mount. It's not only Sebastian himself who is changing, but the entire world around him. Secrets upon secrets follow his every step, making it hard to guess not only what will happen next, but difficult to figure out who or where the real danger is. 

Friendship is key in this story, and Sebastian is surrounded by a great support group who has his back even if he doesn't always have theirs. He doesn't have to go through anything alone--a great message and one teenagers will understand. The romance is also very sweet, building slowly and uncertainly the entire way through.

This book grabbed me from the first page and I couldn't put it down. The pacing holds the entire way through, never letting up as layers upon layers of secret agendas unfold. The description and phases of Sebastian's change make it easy to feel for him every step of the way. It's hard not to root for him as he plunges into a dark world where nightmares come to life, and yet he tries to not lose hope and fight off the bad guys as best as he can.

The Romany Outcasts Series, Book 2
by Christi J. Whitney
Harper Voyage 
YA Paranormal
400 pages

When stone hearts break they shatter.

Sebastian Grey used to be a normal teenager. Now he’s a creature whose sole purpose is to be a guardian for secretive gypsy clans.

When the Romany gypsies claim him, Sebastian is given a second chance to protect Josephine Romany – the girl he loves. But some clan members would rather see a gargoyle in a cage than have one by their sides.

If Sebastian is to keep Josephine safe from the shadow creatures attacking her people, he might have to embrace his changes. Even if that means choosing between his humanity and becoming the monster everyone believes him to be.


After finishing this book, only one thought filled my head--I want to read the next book, now!

This is by no means a stand alone, but builds on the story of book one.

Sebastian believes he's broken his ties to the Romany gypsies and is sure that letting the girl of his dreams, Josephine, go was the best best way to protect her. So when the head of the Romany clan appears at Sebastian's foster brother's house and requests that Sebastian return to Josephine and carry out his duties as her bonded guardian, his temporary calm is broken.

This book is a great continuation to the first one. Now, that Sebastian knows what he basically is, he wants to discover the details, including his history and purpose. The plot starts to turn from Sebastian trying to figure out himself to him finding his place and dealing with the dark world he's now been sucked into. The questions of his past are a mystery, and even his own abilities still need to be discovered, but all of this is over shadowed by a violent and very present danger. This creates more danger, tension and intrigue than in the first book.

The pacing is quick as Sebastian finds himself in one precarious situation after another. He's not sure who to trust and discovers more secrets at every turn, making for a plot with so many twists and turns that it's hard to know which characters are trust worthy and which are not.

Sebastian has grown as a character, and tries to keep himself calm and at bay. The author does a great job at bringing out the monster within him, a sharp contrast to his calm and often passive own nature. The romance deepens, but still holds enough mystery and uncertainty to keep it interesting.

The only thing which bothered me is the ending. It's a cliff-hanger which leaves the reader on the edge of the seat wondering what happens next.

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