“I envy people that know love. They have someone who takes them as they are.” – Jess C. Scott
Author Paul A. Cagle’s novel ‘Shadow Born’ is the first book in the Shadow-Borne Chronicles series of books. A 22 year old orphan Alec Carson may have only faint memories of being abducted and tortured by a strange woman. But he will never forget the changes brought on by that incident. Apart from the magical transformation of his body, he also attained super human abilities. This is because he was turned into a vampire that night. He is also a hybrid version, retaining human and vampire physicality. This not only makes him more powerful than other vampires but also the target of evil forces that aren’t happy with the odd one in their group. And he soon realizes that heroism comes at a steep price.
The vampire in Shadow Born is Cagle’s own interpretation of everybody’s favourite myth throughout the centuries. And it stands out from its contemporaries because of two very obvious reasons. Firstly it’s set in a more urban surrounding breaking the monotony of the woods and the mountains where you usually find your quota of vampires in fiction. The urban space of the story lends itself to making the vampire content more believable and relatable.
And secondly it differs in the treatment of its protagonist Alec Carson. He is unlike other heroes you find in similar books; a finished product fighting immortal enemies and saving damsels from the get go. Alec isn’t presented as some hunk so full of himself, his transformation takes place gradually and during that period he is confused, angry and often astonished by his own abilities. In fact Alec is such an unassuming hero that he often thinks about whimsical things to humor himself whenever he’s under intense situations. These thoughts also help in breaking the flow of the narrative whenever it gets too serious for its own good.
The writing ensures that right from the start you will feel for this young boy caught up in such extreme situations. And gradually you will begin to root for him to emerge victorious and choose his preordained life path. The secondary characterizations are also good and well rounded in their presentation. Cagle’s Marcus is loyal and honorable, plus he is strong, vigilant, and protective about Alec. And their friendship bordering on a full blown out romance actually spices up the book. But it’s not all fun and games as the narrative also parlays important political and religious discussions as well.
The chapter breaks are precise and each one has been edited in such a manner as to achieve maximum effect in delivering the mystery factor. And even though there are violent action scenes, it’s never too gory and for the genre it’s set in, it’s actually par for the course. The author also deserves appreciation for the originality & the imagination used in the set action pieces. Their ingenious use in the plot also builds up the thrill factor as the storyline moves forward.
Ending with the definite possibility of returning back with a sequel, Shadow Born is a book that all paranormal thriller fans will enjoy. It’s clever, intriguing and will leave you completely hooked to this new series.
Print Length: 340 pages