Review: Shade by Merrie Destefano

About the book:

Frankenstein meets Dracula in this gothic retelling of Mary Shelley’s classic tale.

A holiday in Switzerland is supposed to lift Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin’s spirits. She wants to forget the past and have fun. In fact, everyone in her party is running away from one indiscretion or another–from her fiancé Percy Shelley to Lord Byron to Mary’s stepsister, Claire. But from the moment Mary arrives at Byron’s villa, she knows something is wrong. He rushes her indoors and forbids all of them to go out at night, claiming that the horrible weather has driven wild animals down from the mountains.

The only person who doesn’t seem to be running away from anything is a handsome, young Italian doctor, John Polidori. Instead, he is fervently pursuing local folk legends and a new scientific theory that claims people can be raised from the dead.

But it’s not until they all challenge one other to write ghost stories that the real danger begins. In a nightmare, Mary envisions a patchwork man animated by Galvanism and she begins writing Frankenstein. Likewise, fueled by local legends, John writes The Vampyre—one of the first vampire stories ever written.
What neither one of them knows is that they are conjuring a dark evil. Before long, all of their lives will be in danger—for neither of these characters are imaginary. Far from it.

Cover of Merrie Destefano's Shade

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Review by Katy Haye:

I ADORE Frankenstein. It’s one of my all-time favourites and Mary Shelley’s book would definitely make it onto my desert island. Because of that, I grabbed a copy of Shade the moment I saw it (that glorious cover helped seal the deal, too, to be honest!).

It’s quite something to take such a well-known story and make a success of it, but Merrie Destefano has done an amazing job. Her writing is an absolute delight; the words just sank into me until I was there in the Geneva villa, watching it all unfold around me.

The scenes and events in the story are so creepily atmospheric that my heart beat a little bit harder and faster the whole time I was reading. Shade captures it all – sense of place, characters, foreboding threat, and Mary herself is so real – damaged and suffering and strong and utterly vital.

Oh my, I can’t wait for the next installment (be aware, the ending leaves you hanging, so you’ll want to grab the next straight away – I know I did).

Loved, loved, loved this one!

Katy Haye writes speculative YA fiction. Katy’s The Clockwork War, set in an alternate, war-torn 1840s England with a mechanical genius for a heroine, a dastardly duke and a hero who isn’t what he appears, is the first novel in her complete steampunk series.

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1 Response to Review: Shade by Merrie Destefano

  1. vgemmell says:

    Sounds great. I have downloaded to read!


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