Book Review: Falls the Shadow by Stefanie Gaither

From the publisher

Cate’s sister may be a clone, but that doesn’t make her a killer. Does it? Murder, morality, and a slow-burning romance fill the pages of this futuristic thriller.

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When Cate Benson was a kid, her sister, Violet, died. Two hours after the funeral, Cate’s family picked up Violet’s replacement like nothing had happened. Because Cate’s parents are among those who decided to give their children a sort of immortality by cloning them at birth—which means this new Violet has the same face. The same perfect smile. She even has all of the same memories as the girl she replaced.

She also might have murdered the most popular girl in school.

At least, that’s what the paparazzi and the anti-cloning protestors want everyone to think: that clones are violent, unpredictable monsters. Cate is used to hearing all that. She’s used to defending her sister, too. But Violet has vanished, and when Cate sets out to find her, she ends up in the line of fire instead. Because Cate is getting dangerously close to secrets that will rock the foundation of everything she thought was true.



This book was quite a ride. I’ve read a lot of fast-paced action-packed sci-fi lately that, unfortunately, fell flat in the character development area. In said novels, when relationships or lives were in dangers, it was easy to say, “meh….so what?” But here, the author spent the time developing the relationships so they actually meant something when they were in danger. There were several moments that got me (a 30 year old manly manly man) choked up—because the relationships actually mattered to me! (Although, in full disclosure, I do admit that I’ve got a family and tend to become as tender as a filet mignon when familial relationships are involved).

What really drew me to the novel was the layering of mystery upon mystery, plot twist upon plot twist. From probably about 20% through 80%, there was a major twist about every 20 pages or so—the sort that made me laugh with delight (yeah….kinda a strange way to react to a twist). Aside from James Dashner, I don’t know of any other author who can continually sustain such layering of mystery.

And now to Cate, the main character. I was nervous at the beginning. As I said, I’m a 30-year-old manly man who (unfortunately?) cannot quite relate to the plights of teenage girls in high-school. But there was something about Cate—sassy without being angsty, witty while having depth of character. Within a few pages, I was hooked.

So…if you’re looking for unexpected plot twists, characters that pop from the page, relationships that really matter, and exceptional writing, this is it!

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