________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 4 . . . . September 26, 2014


Haze. (The Rephaim, Book 2).

Paula Weston.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2014.
433 pp., hardcover & ebook, $19.99 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-77049-550-0 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-77049-552-4 (ebook).

Grades 9-12 / Ages 14-17.

Review by Joan Marshall.

**** /4


“What? What are you so scared of?”

I stare at the scuffed wall. If I look at him, I won't be able to get the words out. And I have to. It's time. I need him to understand.

“What if...” I swallow. “What if he doesn't want to be found? Or what if he wants Gabe, not me?” As soon as the words are out I feel exposed, hollow. “Gaby.” His fingers lift to my face, hesitate, and then push a strand of hair out of my eyes. “How could he not want you?”

“I'm not Gabe.”

“It won't matter, trust me.”

My eyes burn.

“Is this why you've been stalling? Why didn't you say something? Gaby, look at me.”

I wet my lips, force myself to face him.

Rafa is more serious than I've ever seen him. Whatever was in his eyes when we were sparring has gone.

“We're going to deal with this mess in LA and then we're going to get him. I don't care what it takes or who we have to go through. Or how much it scares you.”

“But what if we can't find him?”

His breath is warm against my skin. “If he's alive, we'll find him.”

“How can you be so sure?” I badly want to believe him, but this is Rafa. The guy who's all action and no plan.

His smile is tired, knowing. An echo of a shared past I don't remember. “Because I'm not smart enough to give up, and you don't know how to.”



“The Rephaim” series” began with Shadows, a compelling fantasy for older teens. In this electrifying second book of the series, Gabriella Winters (aka Gaby) and Rafa search for Gaby's twin brother Jude and try to figure out who wanted Gaby and Jude to forget who they were so badly that they wiped out their memories and arranged their "deaths". The children of fallen angels and human women, the Rephaim and their Council of Five are, themselves, divided, their calling unclear and their ferocious fighting powers often out of control. Everyone wants a piece of Gaby and is wary of Jude. Powerful Rephaim bicker among themselves. And then there are the others: some like Jason and his sister Dani, secret Rephaim, and others, like Maggie, a human drawn into the battle by love.

     Gaby is a strong character, stunned by the revelation of who she is, quick and intuitive and loyal. Although resistant to take on the role Rafa drapes over her shoulders, she bravely welcomes physical dangers, learning to shift to other places and re-learning how to be a deadly fighter in order to find her brother. Gaby accepts the insecurity of not knowing anything about her true past and forges ahead into the future. Also, she falls in love with Rafa, exasperating, handsome, impulsive and knowledgeable Rafa. Rafa who also desperately wants his best friend Jude back. Rafa who can outsmart demons and hellions, and outmanoeuvre other Rephaim who are jockeying for power around him. Rafa who maybe has a nasty history with Gaby, a history he wants to hide because he's falling in love with her. Jude is a fast study, immediately accepting his past and joining Rafa to protect Gaby. His fearsome reputation and the adoration of his friends mark him as a leader to be reckoned with.

     The Rephaim Daniel and Nathaniel, battling for control of the Rephaim group, are driven, ruthless, cold-blooded and unpredictable killers. Their followers, Taya and Mya, are suspicious master fighters who intimidate Gaby and annihilate their foes. Loyal Maggie is Gaby's lovable, steadfast friend while Maggie's lover Jason struggles with how he can remain true to his roots and yet helpful to Gaby.

     The action is nonstop, with Rephaim shifting, humans blundering into the action and political alliances made and broken. The fighting is violent, bloody and will make readers’ hair stand on end. Dialogue virtually sets off sparks, demonstrating bravery, stupidity, impulsivity and caring, couched in the vocabulary of typical 20-year-olds.

     Because the Rephaim shift, the settings vary, from the eerie nightime of an Iowa cornfield to the hot beaches of Australia and the dreary tenements of Dubai.

     Weston's themes of sibling love, loyalty, friendship and love will appeal to older teen readers, both boys and girls, who crave the good vs evil battle led by appealing, powerful young people. The third book in this four-book series will be eagerly anticipated. A must-read.

Highly Recommended.

Joan Marshall is a Winnipeg, MB, bookseller.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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