Thursday, July 21, 2011

Review: Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready

Title: Shift
Author: Jeri Smith-Ready
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: May 3, 2011
Previous Titles in Series: Shade

Aura’s life is anything but easy. Her boyfriend, Logan, died, and his slides between ghost and shade have left her reeling. Aura knows he needs her now more than ever. She loves Logan, but she can’t deny her connection with the totally supportive, totally gorgeous Zachary. And she’s not sure that she wants to. Logan and Zachary will fight to be the one by her side, but Aura needs them both to uncover the mystery of her past—the mystery of the Shift. As Aura’s search uncovers new truths, she must decide whom to trust with her secrets…and her heart.

Like Shade, Shift is part ghost story, part romance, all lovable characters and darkly awesome writing. I especially liked all the musical references (Radiohead!) (Mumford & Sons!); Aura seems to have a playlist for every mood, which is just a cute, small detail.

Aura is smart, competent, indecisive without seeming wishy-washy, and normal in that she makes some definite mistakes in this book (that are nonetheless very fun to read about). While there aren’t too many new characters introduced, I liked that Logan’s little bro (Dylan) has a more significant role, leading to some pretty entertaining moments. Logan himself continues to be impetuous and dramatic, but his personality is tempered by those unintentionally sweet moments that maintain his likeability. Zachary, on the other hand, is earnest and endearing and – best of all – not without a few flaws. And his accent! Mm. I would love to listen to an audiobook version of Shift (preferably read by James McAvoy) solely in order to fully appreciate all those sexy Scottish inflections.

In fact, my favorite part of Shift had to be that Zachary wears a kilt at one point. Swoon.

Ahem, anyway. I loved Jeri Smith-Ready’s writing, which transitions smoothly from humour to romance and ensures that Shift is as compulsively readable as its predecessor. She also does well what is too-often neglected in urban fantasy: world-building. She creates an explanation for the fantasy elements that exist in the modern-day setting, rather than simply throwing in some magical creatures or borrowing entirely from mythology or folklore. The concept of ghosts and their connections to Aura continue to be expanded on in this installment, ensuring that Shift is more than just a ‘middle book.’

Overall, Shift, with its heightened romantic drama, mystery-solving, and surprising revelations, is even more engrossing than Shade. I just wish I didn’t have to wait until 2012 to read the next (and final?) book.

Rating: 5/5

Cover Thoughts: It's not that I don't like it - the dark red and violet really resonate with the story and Aura is striking a suitably strong pose - but the 'girl standing with her face obscured' thing is way overdone. I feel like Shift deserves a more unique, pick-me-up cover.