Shade Trilogy by Jeri Smith-Ready

shadeseriesThe first in this series, Shade, has been sitting on my shelves since BookExpo 2010, signed by the author nonetheless. For some reason – my huge collection of unread books perhaps – Shade sat untended on the shelves for all these years. One good thing about the wait, I was able to read all three books in one month rather than having to wait and wait for the next installment to come out. It is so satisfying to me to start an already finished series.

The foundational premise of the series is that a shift occurred approximately 16 years ago. All people born after the shift can see and talk to ghosts, pre-shifters cannot. Aura is a post-shifter, having lived her whole life able to communicate with the dead who have not yet transitioned on to the next world (heaven, Valhalla, a black hole, reincarnation, whatever, we don’t know). Her boyfriend, Logan, a pre-shifter, an aspiring rock star, dies suddenly on his birthday, leaving Aura devastated but….well, he’s still sort of there. Dead but not gone.

As Aura tries to cope with Logan’s death while still seeing Logan, she is also trying to uncover the secrets of the Shift, to determine why it happened and whether or not it can be undone. And her partner in all this, Zachary, is very much alive. And hot. Obviously.

The books move from the very specific instance of Logan’s death and Aura’s conflicting feelings over the whole Logan-Zachary saga to a more broad-reaching story arc featuring government agents, foreign government agents, history and Druids and magic. While the story still stays personal, the love triangle – which felt more real than most as Aura’s feelings for both boys were genuine – is not the central idea for the entirety of the series.

I was very satisfied with the story beginning to end; it was an easy, well-paced, and well-written read. I recently discovered there are two short tales which can be interspersed with the full-length novels, but I didn’t bother. If anyone out there has read this and thinks I should too, let me know!

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