Monday, September 11, 2017

WHEN I CAST YOUR SHADOW BY SARAH PORTER - BOOK REVIEW


Like Porter's previous novel, Vassa in the Night, I'm not quite sure how to feel about this one. Going in, I knew it was going to be another magical realism/urban fantasy - one of those genres I really love and the other I can take or leave.

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review When I Cast Your Shadow by Sarah Porter. Thanks so much to Raincoast Books for providing me with an eARC of this book for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.



The story follows the Bohnacker family after the death of the oldest son, Dashiell. His siblings, twins Ruby and Everett are left with their father to grieve their troubled brother. But through this grief, Ruby calls Dash back, at least a part of him. She dreams of him and he begins to possess her, completing the unfinished business he had before he died and helping his sister process his death. Everett is quick to notice the differences in his sister, those that seem so Dash. Soon Everett is talking to his dead brother through his sister and he begins to realize that Dash's only purpose may not just be to say goodbye to his family one last time.

Told in alternating first person perspective, the story is told by switching perspectives from Ruby, Everett, Dash, and occasionally other side characters. I thought that their voices were unique enough to keep me from getting confused as to who was who mid-chapter. I don't know, however, if I know a lot about the characters themselves. There was so much going on in this book and so many perspectives to switch between that I'm not sure the characters got a chance to really develop.

This book definitely has a very magical realist and I guess paranormal vibe to it. I think it would a fantastic fall or Halloween read without being too outlandish. Porter includes just enough fantasy elements to keep the story moving, but not too much to drown out the themes of grief and sadness.

On a very basic level, I liked this book. It has magical realism and a really well-written family structure. But upon closer reading, this book seems off. I don't really know if I can explain it, but there is some part of it that just doesn't add up to me. I think part of it might be Dash's coming back and why that was so crucial to his existence. I don't know if I just missed it or what but I felt like it wasn't really explained why he was running from others like him, I know they are supposed to be bad but I guess I need it spelled out a little bit more clearly for me.

I do think this is a solid book and a decent family story, there were just some parts that didn't add up for me.

I also think that this book pushes the limits a little bit with what is acceptable. There were a couple of times when I questioned what was going on and why Porter needed to add certain details and comments throughout the story. The relationship between Ruby and Dash for me was an issue. It basically bordered on infatuation and there were a couple moments where I wasn't sure how far things were going to go.

Overall, I guess this is just a really weird book. And for some, it may be a good weird and for others a bad weird. For me, I think it was a little bit of both, depending on what was happening at that moment in time.