by Shannon Duffy
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Convinced she’s a part of the witness protection program, sixteen-year-old Jewel Rose is shuffled around the globe with her family like a pack of traveling gypsies. After arriving at lucky home twenty-seven, she stumbles upon a mysterious boy with magical powers claiming to be her guardian . . . and warning of imminent danger. Despite the obvious sparks between them, Jewel discovers a relationship is forbidden, and the more she learns about dark, brooding Roman, she begins to question who she can even believe—the family who raised her, or the supposed sworn protector who claims they’ve been lying to her all along. As she struggles to uncover who her family has really been running from, she is forced to hide her birthmark that reveals who she is. With new realities surfacing, unexplained powers appearing, and two tempting boys vying for her heart, Jewel battles to learn who she can trust in an ever growing sea of lies, hoping she’ll make it through her seventeenth birthday alive.
Spectral is the debut novel of author Shannon Duffy. This young adult paranormal romance offers us a delightful look at witches, covens and the power of celestial events. This was a beautifully written, fast-paced tale that kept me engaged. Spectral is sure to delight fans of paranormal, suspense and mystery as we travel from a small town in the Midwest to Russia and Italy.
The tale begins with Jewel and her family moving yet again. Jewel and her family are in the witness protection program and she along with her seven-year-old brother Jayden has moved with her parents just about twice a school year. There are those who wish to harm them, and it’s never safe. She was just starting to make friends at her old school when her Dad whisked her away in the middle of class. When they arrive, they pick new names and head off to their new school…but not before their parents go over the rules. 1. What are your names? 2. Our names? 3. Where did you move from? and 4. The biggest rule of all for Jewel; let no one see your scar! The tale that unfolds was engaging and suspenseful as Jewel begins to discover things about who she is.
The characters in Spectral were interesting. Whether I loved them or hated them they felt genuine. Jewel is a typical seventeen-year-old, who adores her brother and tries for their own safety to obey her parents. I questioned why she didn’t demand more information about why they had to keep running, but the human mind is complex and I know plenty of people who choose to ignore the pink elephant in the room. Despite this, I liked Jewel; she was brave, sweet and loyal. This novel presents a love triangle. Ugh! However Jewel does indicate her choice, but we all know that could change with the stroke of a pen. First, we have Chase, school athlete, tall and gorgeous he befriends Jewel and makes his intentions known. Then there is dark and mysterious guitar carrying Jacob. He knows about Jewel and her family; he has been tracking them. Both boys are completely swoon-worthy and I adored them both. I will leave you to decide which team you will join. Now the characters I loved to hate…you will meet a snotty, stuck-up female bully and an Aunt straight from the movie Matilda. A Grandma that reminded me of Raymond’s mother Marie from Everyone Loves Raymond. She was all sweet and gooey on the outside and sour in the middle.
The world-building was exciting in Spectral. I loved Duffy’s take on witches, the covens and of course Jewel. At times it had elements that reminded me of the DaVinci Code and I loved it. While I am so not a fan of love triangles, Duffy did a great job with it. To complicate matters she mixed in a little insta-love and forbidden romance! I know by now you are seriously scratching your head but all of these elements are present and it was believable. While the plot leaves room for sequels, this book would work well as a standalone.
I recommend Spectral to fans of paranormal romance, suspense, and witches. I read Spectral in a few hours and found it to be an entertaining and delightful tale. I have added Duffy to my list of authors to watch.