Ren was abducted at fourteen by the mysterious FATE Center to become a Shadow: the fearless and unstoppable guardian of a future leader. FATE has determined that these future leaders hold the key to keeping everything together, and as Shadows, Ren and her fellow trainees must learn how to protect their assignments at all costs- even at the cost of their own lives. Everything she knew before is gone forever- there is only FATE now. And Junie, another Shadow-trainee who might be the closest thing to love that Ren might find.
Four years later, Ren and Junie must part ways when they both receive assignments: Junie to a toddler, Ren to college science student Gareth Young. However, when attacks on Gareth’s life force Ren to believe FATE may be behind them, she’s forced to track down the only person she can trust, and even Ren’s and Junie’s combined skills and knowledge may not be enough to save their assignments from the company who created them.
I loved all of the suspense and action throughout the book- the tension created by knowing that Gareth is to be a huge leader in future society yet Ren has been assigned to protect him from attacks. If FATE knows that someone is going to attack him, if they have this predictive power, why can’t they use it to stop attacks rather than kidnapping and training Shadows? In addition, I loved the twists and turns within the story- just when you get comfortable, Shine takes you and flips the world around to something different.
I liked the premise of an anti-government secret agency working to protect future leaders, it seemed like a really strong storyline. Parts of the training sequence were extremely interesting as well- the science fictional injections to speed healing and the mind bending in order to make Shadows so focused on their targets that they are instantly protective of them and would be willing to die for them.
The book, for me, seemed really disjointed, and had an uneven feel. The training with Ren seemed to alternate between high tech and torture training, and the relationship between her and Junie seemed halting at best. How they could have formed such a relationship underneath the watchful eyes of the FATE trainers seems unrealistic. Additionally, the huge plot twist within the book seems improbable.
The whole giant plot twist. That just popped my suspension of disbelief completely. If you’ve read the book, and want to talk about it, start in the comments or on twitter, because it was too much for me. I was with the kidnapping from the house, and the training. I held in for the psuedo-romance with Junie. The twist, however, just no.
Reviewers have I Become Shadow ranged between ages 12 and 18. After you get past Ren’s training/torture, I would definitely put it more for a youthful teen/older tween age (12-15) than a teen (13-18). However, with the (basically) torture that Ren goes through in the beginning of the book, I’d be a little hesitant to recommend it to more gentle readers looking for spy adventure.