Book Review: SHADOW STATE By Elyse Brayden

After a disorienting depression, Brynn finds herself in a Shadow State.

Brynn was a model student. She had straight As, was on the fast track to a bright future. But after her break-up with the toxic Jacob, her mental health plummeted. She lost interest and motivation in school. Things became a blur, really. In fact, the past is a little too blurry…

Still on the mend, but making progress, Brynn finds solace in her new boyfriend, Dex. She and her (previous) best friend no longer get along, but with Dex to lean on, who needs Lexi? Brynn has loving and caring parents who have her back, too. She has a great support system–until she doesn’t.

The panic attacks still have not ceased. Brynn’s just being paranoid, right? Still not fully recovered? Well, when a gray Toyota seems to be following her, Brynn is not so sure. Who could it be? What could they want? Between the car trailing her and hazy memories of the past surfacing, Brynn’s trust with virtually everyone in her life, even those she once trusted the most, begins to falter.

I was looking for more of a “wow” factor from a book that advertises to be a suspenseful thriller. Shadow State carried on quite well, but I anticipated a real shock. I also wish the writing would’ve been more colorful. It moved the plot along–which is a big plus–but I was not overly astonished by it. For the most part, Brayden’s style felt average.

In terms of characters, Brynn was the real stand-out for me. I worried for her, felt her stresses. Without dropping spoilers, the only other character I wanted to find out more about was Brynn’s mom. Everyone else kind of blurred during my reading. I couldn’t get invested in them, for I found them a little underdeveloped.

A very impressive factor of Shadow State was that there was practically no down-time. All the events–big and small–truly related to the main plot. The story moved forward over and over again. I had predictions that the book obliterated. I had predictions that the book confirmed–and then obliterated. I was quite fascinated by the way Brayden managed to keep the reader guessing.


Shadow State hits shelves on July 3rd, but you can pre-order a copy now via Amazon or Indiebound!

What Brynn Caldwell can’t remember might get her killed.

Brynn is a promising science student recovering from a bad relationship that sent her spiraling into depression. But as she puts the pieces of her life back together, a few don’t fit.

Brynn is uncovering memories of being abducted and possibly brainwashed. It’s all connected to a drug that might be an ultimate weapon: a tool to control people’s memories. Now, to stop a possible terrorist attack, Brynn has to find out what she’s been forced to forget—and what side she’s really on.


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