Minutes Before Sunset by Shannon A Thompson, published May 2013 by AEC Stellar Publishing.
Read: May 2014
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Source: Author – this does not affect my opinion of the book.
This review is part of a feature on Minutes Before Sunset that includes an author interview and a giveaway of 3 eBook copies of Minutes Before Sunset. I was provided with a copy of this book to review, but all opinions are my own, pinkie swear.
Synopsis: She was undoubtedly a shade, but I didn’t know her… Eric Welborn isn’t completely human, but he isn’t the only shade in the small Midwest town of Hayworth. With one year left before his eighteenth birthday, Eric is destined to fight a long-raging war for his kind. But then she happens. In the middle of the night, Eric meets a nameless shade, and she’s powerful—too powerful—and his beliefs are altered. The Dark has lied to him, and he’s determined to figure out exactly what lies were told, even if the secrets protect his survival…
Jessica Taylor moves to Hayworth, and her only goal is to find more information on her deceased biological family. Her adoptive parents agree to help on one condition: perfect grades. And Jessica is distraught when she’s assigned as Eric’s class partner. He won’t help, let alone talk to her, but she’s determined to change him—even if it means revealing everything he’s strived to hide.
If you’re into your paranormal/fantasy stories but want something fresh and different from the vampire/werewolves/witches tales we all love (but are in desperate need for a break from), then I highly recommend Minutes Before Sunset and The Timely Death Trilogy. It took me a couple of chapters to really get my head around this story, because it is such a new concept; there’s two sides – the Light and the Dark, but the Dark are the good guys and the Light are the bad guys, and shades have these supernatural powers and abilities, and there’s a prophecy, and a love story, and a great big impending war looming… *takes a breath* Let’s just say it’s pretty intense and makes for a captivating read…
This story is told from two points of view – Eric and Jessica – I really enjoy books with multiple viewpoints because I think it adds perspective to the story, and in Minutes Before Sunset it really helps with the world-building and with the character development. Although the main characters are teenagers at High School, it was refreshing that they came across as more mature than many characters in paranormal young adult fiction, the two protagonists in particular. While the underlying love story could be considered insta-love, it’s heart-warming and believable due to its context in the story.
There is a HUGE amount going on in this novel, which Thompson has managed to navigate expertly. Not only are there the usual issues that teenagers deal with, like prom and dating and social cliques (not to mention the more serious issues faced by our protagonists like adoption), but there is this entire paranormal world with its own rules, societal structure and prophecies to contend with, and at no point did I feel lost in either world, they blended seamlessly due to the great story-telling, fast pace and constant twists and turns that kept me guessing right ’til the end. This wasn’t an overly long read and I felt myself wanting to know more about this world and the background of it, I wanted to know more about the Light and the Dark and this prophecy, but I’m
guessing hoping that’s where books two and three come in.
There are some great moments of humour in the book (I’m all for a little sarcasm) and I really warmed to Eric, Jessica and Teresa – I care about these characters, damn-it! I won’t give away any spoilers, but the ending of this book practically destroyed me. I suffered greatly the next day due to not finishing it until the early hours of the morning (because once I got started, I really couldn’t put it down), not to mention the fact that once I had finished it, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Me, when I realised what was going on:
“Her kiss could kill us, and my consent signed our death certificates, selfishly and without control.”
“I was falling in love with her, and she was falling in love with me. It was fated, decided before any of us were born, and I hated it as much as I loved it.”
I literally can’t wait to read the second book in this trilogy, Seconds Before Sunrise, and I can only HOPE that so many of my questions get answered, and that there is much more detail for a detail-fiend such as myself. I was expecting to enjoy this book, but I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I do. It’s a complex and unique paranormal fantasy story with some romance, a little heart break (for the reader anyways), some brilliant bad guys, a few kick-ass fight sequences and one great big whopper of a cliff-hanger. All I can say is if you haven’t got this on your TBR pile, you’re missing out!