Nathan Maple is the main character in Robert Hood’s novel, Shades. Nathan shows us that being a teenager is really hard. Like most teenagers, Nathan experiences evil forces and problems that make becoming an adult difficult.
Nathan has to learn to leave his past when he loses his memory and enters a mysterious Shadow Realm. By doing this he discovers who he is and what he wants and grows into an independent and responsible person.
Before Nathan lost his memory, he was a normal middle class teenager living with his mother and father. When he was “skylarking” in the surf, Nathan disappeared and was presumed dead. Six months later, Nathan appeared out of nowhere after being recognised by an old friend Mel. Nathan begins to experience strange occurrences, including being attacked by Gatorhead a giant half man, half alligator from another realm called Tenebra. He also realises that he can move from shadow to shadow and that he becomes transparent and weak if he is exposed in light.
The new ability to shadow hop and an inability to be in light makes Nathan feel scared and sometimes ill, so he tries to rediscover his old life. Nathan sets off to find his parents. He firstly meets Cassandra, another Shade, who Nathan becomes very attracted to. In her Porsche, she drives him to where he thinks his home is. After walking around town for several hours, he approaches a petrol station to look up his parent’s in a phone book. Here Nathan experiences a violent clash with the attendant making him realise the full extent of his power.
After finding what he believed to be his parents address, he goes there and is questioned by a police officer who eventually drives him there. Upon his arrival he finds to his horror the people he thinks are his parents have been murdered. He starts to feel protective towards his best friend Mel as well as guilty about the destruction that seems to surround him. He realises who ever comes in contact with him is at risk of becoming victims of the evil threat he faces. Through his experiences, Nathan learns to be responsible and that being brave is the only way to overcome his ordeal.
Seeing that we now know Nathan’s improvement in becoming responsible and confident to fight trials, we come to a point where we discover similarities between Nathan and those of a normal person. As a young teenager, Nathan experiences problems in his life, not only physically, but emotionally as well. In relation to his experiences we find he battles evil forces. As a result of this we know that young people experience bullying, family conflicts, stress given by teachers, parents and peers and some even fall into depression. Nathan begins to experience feelings for Mel and Cassandra. Once again, as Nathan being a young person, and having two attractive friends, we know that all young people especially at the stage of being young teenagers, experiences feelings for the opposite sex.
Shade’s is a novel that deals with issues that a normal person would go through in life. It teaches readers how to overcome their trials and problems in life. It is a book that I would recommend to people that loves to read fantasy books and to people that would like to relate to the life of Nathan Maple!