Shudder by Samantha Durante
Series: Stitch Trilogy #2
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult/New Adult
Genre: Dystopia, Romance, Science Fiction
Release Date: June 15th 2013
Synopsis: It’s only been three days, and already everything is different.
Paragon is behind her, but somehow Alessa’s life may actually have gotten worse. In a wrenching twist of fate, she traded the safety and companionship of her sister for that of her true love, losing a vital partner she’d counted on for the ordeal ahead. Her comfortable university life is but a distant memory, as she faces the prospect of surviving a bleak winter on the meager remains of a ravaged world. And if she’d thought she’d tasted fear upon seeing a ghost, she was wrong; now she’s discovering new depths of terror while being hunted by a deadly virus and a terrifying pack of superhuman creatures thirsting for blood.
And then there are the visions.
The memory-altering “stitch” unlocked something in Alessa’s mind, and now she can’t shake the constant flood of alien feelings ransacking her emotions. Haunting memories of an old flame are driving a deep and painful rift into her once-secure relationship. And a series of staggering revelations about the treacherous Engineers – and the bone-chilling deceit shrouding her world’s sorry history – will soon leave Alessa reeling…
The second installment in the electrifying Stitch Trilogy, Shudder follows Samantha Durante’s shocking and innovative debut with a heart-pounding, paranormal-dusted dystopian adventure sure to keep the pages turning.
There is just something about the Stitch series that makes reading it pure, genuine entertainment. When I read Stitch back a few months ago, I was in awe of the refreshing, new world of Paragon that Samantha Durante had created and the story that came with it. Now, after I have read Shudder, I am in awe of the exciting action, endearing characters, and the story.
The beginning of Shudder is what happens right after the end of Stitch. Alessa and Isaac have escaped from Paragon and are now exploring the deserted world outside of it, in search of base for the rebels. But Alessa, Isaac, and the reader soon find out that the weather conditions are the least of their worries. The threat of the monstrous, strange creatures following them and the fear of a disease that may or may not be gone looms over their heads. There is also the fact that unknown (and not-so unknown) visions and emotions that have been sparking inside Alessa’s head.
And as the pages turn, some more characters are introduced, and so are their stories. The boy named Nikhil who is trapped in a prison where his only company is a person that goes by the name of 14 and a girl who has woken up with no past memories called Pheonix who is just being introduced to the workings of Paragon. Through all these characters, as the reader learns about them and watches how their stories unfold and connect, information about Paragon is revealed and an exciting story of survival and rebellion kicks off.
Alessa, Isaac, Nikhil, and Pheonix really do shine in this installment. I cared for each and every one of them and thoroughly enjoyed reading their stories, which is the best part about the experience of reading Shudder ,I think. All these characters have depth and are extremely sympathetic, with fluid character development.
Since there are quite a bit of main characters in this book, there are quite a bit of point of views that the story is told through. I believe that Durante pulls off the multiple point of views with skill: the transitions between character to character are smooth and never feel unnatural or jarring, each character’s situation has a different aura to it, I could immediately tell which character I was currently reading about, and I never felt bored or impatient with a certain character’s chapters.
Stitch was very slow in the beginning, sometimes making a person impatient for what the synopsis promises, but Shudder had absolutely no problems like that. The story begins with excitement and action, keeping a perfect pace throughout the whole novel. My fingers were constantly ‘flipping’ the pages on my Kindle and I admit that it was really hard to stop.
Just like in the first installment of the series, Durante’s writing is compelling and easy to read, making it easy for the eyes to simply glide over and process the words with ease. I would even say that Durante’s already good writing has vastly improved. The world building is still absolutely captivating, though I believe it still hasn’t reached its whole potential.
One major quibble of mine centers on a scene in which Alessa and Isaac sit down and talk about how the disease affected them. The dialogue felt awkward, making the whole scene come off as lazily written. I think that it would have been better if the author had simply sprinkled the information throughout many different conversations instead of just one.
Overall, Shudder is a solid second installment of a trilogy that is not a victim of the famous Middle Book Syndrome. I am absolutely in love with the quality of this series and believe it to be a great example of what a self-published book series can be. I merely ask that Durante keep up the awesome work 🙂
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