Shudder by Samantha Durante
-- Book 2 in the Stitch Trilogy --
It's only been three days, and already everything is different.
Paragon is behind her, but somehow Alessa's life may actually have gotten worse. In a wrenching twist of fate, she traded the safety and companionship of her sister for that of her true love, losing a vital partner she'd counted on for the ordeal ahead. Her comfortable university life is but a distant memory, as she faces the prospect of surviving a bleak winter on the meager remains of a ravaged world. And if she'd thought she'd tasted fear upon seeing a ghost, she was wrong; now she's discovering new depths of terror while being hunted by a deadly virus and a terrifying pack of superhuman creatures thirsting for blood.
And then there are the visions.
The memory-altering "stitch" unlocked something in Alessa's mind, and now she can't shake the constant flood of alien feelings ransacking her emotions. Haunting memories of an old flame are driving a deep and painful rift into her once-secure relationship. And a series of staggering revelations about the treacherous Engineers - and the bone-chilling deceit shrouding her world's sorry history - will soon leave Alessa reeling...
The second installment in the electrifying Stitch Trilogy, Shudder follows Samantha Durante's shocking and innovative debut with a heart-pounding, paranormal-dusted dystopian adventure sure to keep the pages turning.
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The first book in this series, Stitch, is one of the best books I have read this year. Needless to say I was very eager to read the second instalment in this unique New Adult dystopian series. Whilst Shudder was not quite as good as the first it was still amazing. It is packed full of exciting action, thrilling suspense and beautiful romance. Although this does not have the mind boggling twists of Stitch, there are still plenty of shocking revelations that kept me on my toes throughout.Samantha is a master of suspense; everything is shrouded in mystery so you are never quite sure what is going on. This is further enhanced by some characters from the first book being called different names (for various reasons that will make sense if you read the book).
Alessa is so beautifully real in this book. She is working for the rebellion yet part of her wants to stop fighting and just live a calm safe life with those she loves. Throughout the book she struggles with the moral dilemma of weather to just keep her friends and family safe or to risk everything for the greater good. I loved this aspect of the book as Alessa’s earlier thoughts make her final choices so much more moving.
Isaac is such a great character and I one of my favourite parts of Shudder is that we finally get to see him and Alessa together. They have such a beautiful romance though of course it has a lot of pressure being put on it by external influences.
The secondary characters come alive more in this book. A favourite for me was “Phoenix” who seemed to have such a fresh understanding of all that was going on. Both her and also Nikhil are two of the characters who had minimal roles in book 1 to then become important figures.This book is from a few more pov’s than the first which helps to give the reader a greater perspective of the whole story. We even get to see how Paragon and all that is happening is viewed by those who created it. Now that is a very interesting perspective to see.
Overall this is another fantastic book by Samantha Durante. I was expecting an incredible read and Shudder did not disappoint. The ending comes with a few shocking reveals that (yet again) leaves me desperate to read the next (and final) book of this trilogy. I highly recommend Shudder and if you are yet to read Stitch then what are you waiting for? Read it now!
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, this has not affected my opinions or rating in any way*
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Inspiration for "The Bones Incident"
There’s an incident early on in Shudder where Alessa and Isaac are happily strolling through the forest until they stumble upon a clearing that’s littered with something a little bit disturbing: bones. Some instinct in Alessa kicks in and they take off, only to be hunted down by a pack of terrifying creatures that they can’t quite put a name to. This is one of my favorite scenes in the book, and I think that is does a good job drawing a visceral reaction of fear from readers partly because it’s based on a true story – this actually happened to me.
Okay, okay, I wasn’t chased down by a pack of bloodthirsty monsters. But everything else depicted in that scene is taken directly from personal experience. Here’s what happened:
I was 13, and had just moved into a new house that was bordered by acres and acres of wetlands. One of my younger brothers and I decided to go exploring one afternoon as the sun hung low in the sky, and we set off into the woods, carefully picking our way through the swampy marshes for what felt like hours.
Finally, we were relieved to land on some dry ground, a well-beaten deer path trailing off into the trees. We strolled along chattering excitedly about how cool our new property was, until my foot kicked something.
I had trouble placing noise that issued from the impact – my first thought was that it was a couple of old cans. But it wasn’t quite a metallic sound, and instead was almost like hollow wood. I peered down to inspect, squinting my eyes in the now semi-darkness. And what I found there set my heart racing.
It was the full skeleton of some massive animal, picked dry and gleaming. My foot had brushed against some of the leg bones and clattered them together.
For some reason something inside me just snapped. My heart jumped into a sprint, and my feet quickly followed suit, with only a short, “Nicky, RUN!” as explanation. I’m not sure if my brother even got a glance at what I’d seen, but he knew enough not to hesitate. Together we dashed out of the woods, all thoughts of avoiding the muck and mud of the wetlands forgotten as we rushed as fast as our feet would take us to safety, finally emerging on the lawn mud-splattered and panting.
In retrospect, I’m not sure what exactly it was that scared me so deeply. Even my beta readers commented on this – “What was Alessa so afraid of? They’re just bones!” I still couldn’t tell you exactly why this experience elicited the reaction it did, but I can promise you this: the fear that Alessa (and I) felt in that moment was a 100% genuine reaction. Though rationally I knew that a dead animal (a deer most likely) couldn’t hurt us – and that it had most likely died of natural causes, since there are no predators (besides humans) in our area large enough to take down a deer of that size – some primitive instinct in my body just kicked in and told me to get moving.
And I, like Alessa, am glad I did. Otherwise, Shudder would have been down one heart-pumping scene. And Alessa would have gotten eaten by monsters. :-)
About the Author
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