I can forgive logic flaws in a YA book when the author knows to write very tongue in cheek rather than drearily earnest. With Joe Shine’s I Become Shadow, we have a very snarky but also kick-butt heroine that who makes for a great character to read. Sure, you do have to turn off your brain – but that is the appeal here and I enjoyed this book for what it is – great entertainment.
Plot: At 14, Ren Sharpe is kidnapped from her bed by a shadowy organization who imprisons her for four years, teaches her martial arts, and then sends her out to protect a person who will become very important in the future (appropriate dubbed FIP for Future Important Person). On her first assignment to protect a very nerdy college student, things begin to go very wrong for Ren.
The first half of the book is the ‘training’ – where she become acquainted with the shadowy organization that supposedly knows the future. The justification for her kidnapping is simple: she would have been dead anyway in an accident and this way she can be of use to the world. By the second half, she’s been assigned to protect a brilliant student and we get her interactions with him as she is forced to break rule after rule in order to protect him.
There are three main characters in I Become Shadow – Ren, fellow abducted Junie, and nerdy student Gareth. If it sounds like this is a love triangle, don’t worry. Even the romantic subplot with Junie is very underplayed and lacking the saccharine soppiness of most YA romance novels. I greatly enjoyed following Ren through her travails – she was a likeable character smart enough to recognize when she was in trouble yet also able to hold her own without needing to be rescued. Passive, she wasn’t.
Of course, what drew me most to the book was the snarkiness. I admit to greatly enjoying when the main character adroitly uses self deprecating wit in order to deal with problem situations. It’s a reminder not to take the plot too seriously and just enjoy the ride and Ren mows down the bad guys.
I look forward to the next in the series. Reviewed from the Audible version, which had a decent narrator.