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Shield is the third and final book in Rachael Craw’s young adult science thriller. It brings with it tension, revelation, and brings the trilogy to a satisfying conclusion. If you have not picked up its predecessors: Spark and Stray, then I would highly recommend you do. Whilst aimed at the teenage market, they display a level of complexity and maturity that clearly demonstrates how much care the author has taken in weaving her world and her words. It is one I would recommend for the older teens, and potentially the “new adult” market.
In Spark, Evie discovered that she was a Shield, a genetically-altered being designed to protect the vulnerable Sparks. These Sparks, generally gifted and bright individuals, are in turn being hunted by Strays – people that remain seemingly ordinary, until they come into contact with the Sparks, then they become struck with the savage, all-encompassing, desire to kill the Spark. Evie’s best friend, Kitty is the Spark, and a Stray has found her…
In Stray, Kitty teams with Evie in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse, as they try and prove that Strays can be cured. Unfortunately, the project that created her, Affinity, is not open to fresh ideas and wants her back under their control. Meanwhile, there are numerous family revelations, tragedies, heart-break and non-stop action.
Shield felt slower moving than its predecessors. It delved more heavily into the politics and inner workings of Affinity, as Evie finally found herself, inescapably, in their clutches. The action really did not take off until the second half of the book – and then it was a helter-skelter, rollercoaster of a ride. Instead, it dealt more with emotions. This perhaps weakened it a bit in my mind: I’m somewhat less interested in teenager jealousy, miscommunication and blind assumptions than I once was. However, it was true to the characters and there was more than enough action to keep me hooked. There were also a few steamier moments – but nothing too overboard for a teen novel – and several surprise revelations.
Definitely worth a read, and I highly recommend the trilogy to those that love suspense, romance, and genetically-altered heroes.
Book reviewed by Angela Oliver
by Rachael Craw
Published by Walker Books