I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Minutes Before Sunset by Shannon A. Thompson
Series: The Timely Death Trilogy #1
Published by AEC Stellar Publishing, Incorporated on June 14, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Eric has less than a year left before his fated battle when he meets her. She's a shade like him, but separated from the Dark - and Eric has less than a year left before his fated battle when he meets her. She's a shade like him, but separated from the Dark - and with more power than she should have. And he can't stay away. Jessica is new to town and desperate to figure out who, or what, her birth parents were. But she can't find them without overcoming Eric, and she won't let him stop her. 'Minutes Before Sunset' happens through the minds of two young adults as they struggle to survive their paranormal realities and find balance in their human lives.
My Initial Reaction…
I am so incredibly glad that I found this series so close to the release of the next book. Minutes Before Sunset is a fresh young adult fantasy that I can’t wait to read more of.
I usually talk about characters first because they are immensely more important to me than the story. But I think it will make more sense if I explain the really pretty fantastic world Shannon has created first. Problem is, I can hardly do it justice in a review so you seriously just have to read this book.
This is a world of Dark and Light – but contrary to popular perceptions, the Dark is good and the Light is bad. The Dark, represented by a group of people called Shades is a bit weaker than the Light because they only have their power at night. There is a prophecy that tells of two descendants – A Shade and A Light – who will fight each other and the result of that epic battle will bring about the survival of one of the two (and we’re rooting for the Shades).
The coolest thing about this world though is that the Shades and Lights walk around looking like normal humans most the time. At night the Shades get their power and, if they so choose, transform into their other form. Lights can do the same, though they have their power during the day as well. Anyway, their other form comes with a completely different identity. They look completely different – height, eyes, hair, clothes, EVERYTHING changes. They even have different names. And they guard their human identities fiercely. This added such an incredible element to the story because you never really know a person. Is s/he a Shade or a Light or just human? I was constantly trying to figure out who people were and it was maddening in the best way!
Since the characters are such a mysterious element it makes this such a hard book to review though. There’s a love story element – and it’s fantastic! – but I can’t really tell you anything else about it because it’s caught up in characters that I can’t explain without ruining fantastic elements in the story.
Okay – so that last explanation might make clear why I felt like the story needed to come first for this review. It also is why I’m not going to say too much about their characters. I don’t want to ruin any element of this amazing part of Minutes Before Sunset. I have to say that characters having two identities sounds like it could be really confusing. And I might do a bad job writing about it here, but Shannon does a great job. I was never once confused about who was who (except when I was supposed to be, of course).
There’s only a couple characters that we know from the start in both their human and shade forms and they’re all closely associated with Eric/Shoman. Minutes Before Sunset is told in part from his point of view. Anyway Shoman, Eric’s Shade form, is a name he received when he came of age as all Shades do – and when he received the name he was fated for it revealed him to be the first descendant. And it utterly changed Shoman’s life. Here’s this teenage boy – he’s 17 when we meet him – with the weight of his entire species on his shoulder. And somewhere, possibly at his very school, the second descendant is growing up with the same weight. And maybe he’ll have to kill him. Needless to say, Eric gets a bit distant and becomes a bit estranged from his classmates. It’s the closest we get to teenage angst in Minutes Before Sunset and it didn’t bother me at all. It felt appropriate.
Jessica, the other point of view in Minutes Before Sunset, is an adopted orphan who’s just moved to town and is in Eric’s homeroom/science class. They get forced into being lab partners and Jessica – who needs good grades before her parents will let her research about her real parents who lived in this town when she was a baby – is not about to let him get away with not doing his part. I loved seeing them interact and Jessica has just the right amount of spunk. Shannon is genius about when she lets us see the story from Jessica’s point of view, because it leaves you wondering about Jessica’s other identity. Like Eric/Shoman, you have no idea who she actually is, even though you spend time in her head.
Minutes Before Sunset kept me guessing from beginning to end! The characters are fantastic, the world building is complex and exciting, and the plot itself was engrossing. I even had serious moments of heartbreak and tears. I cannot wait to read the next book.