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You cannot wake the Shadowless when she sleeps within my bed. Kiss the lips of the Shadowless and the morning finds you dead.

When a bolt of lightning causes a Boston-wide blackout on her sixteenth birthday, Willow Jane doesn’t think anything of it—until she begins stopping time, until she comes face-to-face with her menacing familiar, until her sister disappears. But these aren’t the only strange and horrifying things to come out of the storm. An ancient witch named the Shadowless has awoken and escaped from her crypt, and she’s looking for revenge on Willow Jane’s family.

544 pages, Hardcover

First published September 1, 2017

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About the author

David Macinnis Gill

31 books125 followers
David Macinnis Gill is the author of the award-winning novels Black Hole Sun and Soul Enchilada, both from Greenwillow/Harper Collins. His short stories have appeared in several magazines, including The Crescent Review and Writer’s Forum. His critical biography of young adult author Graham Salisbury, Graham Salisbury: Island Boy, was published by Scarecrow Press. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English/creative writing and a doctorate in education, both from the University of Tennessee.

He is the Past-President of ALAN (The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents) and an Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. His non-fiction, book reviews, essays, and academic work have appeared in a variety of publications, including The English Journal, Teacher-Librarian, and many others.

David’s teaching career began in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he was a high school teacher at Brainerd High School and briefly at the Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences. He later joined the English Department at Ohio University as an assistant professor. Currently, he is an associate professor of English education at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

David has been a house painter, cafeteria manager, bookstore schleper, high school teacher, and college professor. He now lives on the Carolina coast with his family, plus fourteen fish, two rescued dogs--an airebeagle and a border setter--and a nocturnal marsupial.

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5 stars
24 (16%)
4 stars
27 (18%)
3 stars
48 (33%)
2 stars
30 (20%)
1 star
14 (9%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 36 reviews
August 17, 2020

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DNF @ p.66

While reading this book, I was like, "Why does this author's name sound so familiar?" And then I realized he was the author of BLACK HOLE SUN, which I think I received an ARC of back when it first came out. I remember thinking the teen speak in that book was really weird, but since it took place on a Mars colony or something like that, I was like, well whatever, it's the ~future~ and rolled with it despite being skeptical. But no, actually, it seems like it's just the author, because this book was also super cringe with its slang-- or what the author thought was slang-- with gems like "bitchlette" and using "zucchini" as an insult.

I was actually in a weird mood, so horror felt like a great choice, but this book is SO BORING and it's 500+ pages??? Why is it so long? NOTHING IS HAPPENING. There's a dude who possesses bodies with lightning and an evil undead witch and a girl with super powers, so really this should be the opposite of boring. I went to Goodreads to write my review and when I saw the low average rating, I felt SO VALIDATED. Apparently I'm not the only one who thought the writing was ridic and the pacing was off. Thank you, Goodreadians, for making me feel better about my choices.

1 star
Profile Image for Yara.
1,057 reviews5 followers
August 13, 2017
Contains spoilers.

So bummed this book was such a letdown. As a Boston native, I was intrigued at the premise, but all the author did was throw a few landmarks and "wicked" (as in "she's 'wicked smaht'") to try to make it a Bostonian locale. The writing was choppy, the characters were two dimensional, and the main character Willow Jane acted like a small child instead of a sixteen year old. The hinted at romantic suspense between Willow Jane and the gorgeous familiar was flat, and even the antagonist, the Shadowless, wasn't eerie.
Profile Image for Adrienne.
295 reviews38 followers
August 1, 2019
From the title, I was expecting this book to be a lot more... uncanny.

I read it in the perfect setting - at 3 AM, alone, with the lights partially dimmed. It has been a while since I've read anything from the horror genre, so I was excited to be MAJORLY spooked by this book. There was nothing scary about it, however. The antagonist - called the Shadowless - was laughable in her character, and the protagonist was just... ugh. She was a six-year-old living in the body of a teenager.

To cite evidence - THIS was how the MC acted when they were being chased by a rotten corpse carrying shears as long as her forearm.
His copper-colored eyes locked with mine for too long, then he smirked, and the spell was broken. "Don't stand there like an idiot!" he said. "Get on!"
"I'm not riding a motorcycle."
"You. Are. In. Danger!"
"What danger?" I said. "From that thing or from you?"

c r i n g e

Errr, considering that an undead witch wants to twist and mutilate your body into a hundred different ways with BOTH her magic and her shears - I would think that a motorcycle accident would be the least of your concerns.

"I took one step away from the elevator and heard a child's laughter. "Devon!"
"No!" Harken yelled. "It's a trap!"
"It's Devon!" I said, sure of what I'd heard.
"I said, do not leave!" he yelled.
"I am going," I yelled back, "to get my sister!"

oh shit

SERIOUSLY? The MC is definitely one of those chicks who die first in the movies.

Not recommended.
Profile Image for Emanuel.
6 reviews3 followers
January 1, 2020
Uncanny. This book. I don't really have a lot to say about it. It wasn't good or bad, probably the most meh book I've ever read, having the makings of a great story, and wasting them. With all the elements of fantasy and the definitely very creative world of the norns with the gossamer threads, the Uncannys, familiars, etc., I expected this book to be better, but all those elements were not really well used/explained and there were a lot, really, A LOT, of spelling/grammar mistakes, even basic conjugation, and that really bummed me. At many times I felt confused (not wow that's cool confusing, but that just doesn't make sense confusing) and actually wished I had a glossary that explained things better than they were in the book. Also, from the cover and name I expected this book to be a thriller or a horror book, suspense even. Maybe a little romance, because that doesn't hurt, but in the end I felt like this was just a bad romance passing for uninteresting suspense. I must admit, there were many great things that happened in the book, and it wasn't all that bad, but it definitely wasn't that good. I guess I'd give it a 7/10 or 3.5 if I could, but rounding up would be too generous for it.
Profile Image for BookLoversLife.
1,803 reviews9 followers
February 7, 2018
Willow Janes life changes irrevocably on her 16th birthday. Strange things are happening to her and she has no idea why. Stopping, slowing down and even reversing time, becomes the norm for her and she needs to figure out why. It's not till a mysterious stranger arrives to give her some answers, that she finds out who she is.

"You cannot wake the Shadowless when she sleeps within my bed. Kiss the lips of the Shadowless and the morning finds you dead."

There is one word that came to mind when reading this book, and that was weird! Not weird in a bad way, but weird in an intriguing way. This starts into the plot straight away, but it took a while for my mind to figure out what is happening. And I liked that fact!! I liked that the book took a while to figure out because once I started to understand, I loved it! There's a lot to the plot and once it really got going, it was good.

The characters weren't as fleshed out as I would have liked. Willow was ok, though I wanted her to be more proactive in the end! The mysterious stranger didn't really have too much of a role it seemed. I felt that he could have played a much more important and necessary role. Also, if Willow or any of her friends said "wicked" once more, I was going to scream!! Way too many "wicked" was used when they weren't needed!

In all, a good read once you can get into it. I will have to check out more from this author!
February 8, 2018
Uncanny by David Macinnis Gill is about a girl whose life has made a turn for the worse since the night of her 16th birthday. Willow Jane went from a girl who did normal things like picking up her little sister from school and playing hockey with her friends to the Uncanny who would frequently hear warnings of an evil spirit that nobody else could hear. Little did she know that all of these new occurrences were happening to her simply because her family had an ancient heirloom that belonged to the evil spirit—her heart, turned to stone. In order for the Shadowless, this evil spirit, to come back alive and get revenge for her death, she needs to get her heart back. She’s determined to do anything to get it back, even if it means killing Willow Jane.

The plot and the characters affected each other throughout the story. The plot was already somewhat set in stone because nothing was going to stop the Shadowless from getting her heart back. The characters were merely at the mercy of her actions and could do little to save themselves. Willow Jane and Harken, another undead character that has decided to help her against the Shadowless, used their wits to outsmart the evil spirit and to find a way to kill the Shadowless once and for all.

The events in this story were chronological, excluding the moments where Willow Jane could use her Uncanny powers to go back in time for a short amount. Moments like these were few and far between and the story continued to go along normally for the majority of the book. In the beginning of the story, the author gave no explanation of some things and would just wait for you to figure out what they meant on your own as you read the story. It was often very suspenseful because the author would give hints to something happening and would then wait for you to make your own connections to what was happening.

Overall I thought this writing technique was very effective because the suspense made me want to know more and made the book impossible to put down. Although the characters could’ve used more development, their motives were easy to follow and their actions moved the story along nicely. Once I got past the beginning confusion of what was exactly happening and got over the few grammatical errors that were left in, I enjoyed the book.
1,128 reviews
November 21, 2021
Started off with potential but then went downhill, fast. The scenarios that Willow Jane lived through twice weren't explained in a timely manner and left me confused instead of curious as to what was happening. I also felt the author was writing as if it was a horror film script as some points (grotesque scenarios, but not written with abundant detail as to be disturbing) and I found that off putting as I'm not much for horror. I also didn't really like any of the characters so I really wasn't invested in the story as I started to lose interest in the plot.

I'm proud of myself for putting the book down and moving on to other reads. The only thing I liked about this book was the following quote because it's my thoughts exactly whenever someone tries to say old or beat up furniture is antique: Our furniture was Early American Little Old Lady. The pieces were inherited from my late grandmother, who had lived a block away in an apartment that mirrored this one, but they couldn't be called antiques. That word implies that the pieces had once been expensive, designed by craftsmen, not modest furnishings that had weathered three generations of abuse by children, husbands, and pets.
Profile Image for John Clark.
254 reviews12 followers
September 16, 2021

Book: Uncanny
Author: David Macinnis Gill
Genre: Literary Retelling, Fantasy
Themes: Gruesome death, ancient spell, friendship, family,
My Rating: 2.5 ⭐⭐✨

Two facts; 1st, it's the first 530-page book I was able to finish in 3 hours and 2nd, I finished it in such a rush even if I didn't like this much.

Uncanny has an interesting opening statement and thought-provoking, poetic and lyrical lines.


Don't you find it an interesting start even if it's creepy?


Wow! This is poetic and lyrical yet a dark one.

Those are so far the only good things about the book. After the beautiful beginning and grim ancient spell, everything turned sour. It was a hell of a mess! Uncanny isn't the literary retelling of the Sleeping Beauty I've been looking for despite its dark version. I was expecting a Maleficent-like retelling when I looked at the cover.
Profile Image for Stephanie Tournas.
2,161 reviews21 followers
November 18, 2017
I never read horror, so I didn't expect to like this as much as I did. Willow Jane experiences unexpected changes on her 16th birthday. An ancient evil witch awakens and is out to get her, and bloody gory mayhem erupts in her life. Set in Boston with lots of local flavor, the reader is taken on a wild and unpredictable trip as Willie navigates the horror and her own new supernatural abilities, continues to grieve her father's recent death, and finds unexpected tenderness from another undead character. Gore, family drama and some cool paranormal time-bending make this a fun read. Her classmates and family are realistic and the juxtaposition of regular working class teenaged life with ancient baddies is well done and occasionally quite funny. Although there are no indications of a sequel, I can imagine that readers would be happy to have one!
Profile Image for Lynndell.
1,570 reviews1 follower
October 26, 2017
Uncanny by David Macinnis Gill opens with Willow as she's turning sixteen and her friends and family are throwing her a “surprise” party when a blackout occurs. A spirit takes over a recently deceased corpse and vows to keep the worst creature ever in prison. Willow and this spirit become entwined in
evil that threatens to kill everything they hold dear. Creepy and full of action, Uncanny is a twisted, supernatural read with wonderfully descriptive writing that brings the story to life and entertains. One part I loved was this clever piece of writing-“Numbers were alphabet soup, my eyes were roasted marshmallows, and my tongue felt like a wad of chewing gum.” Interesting characters and the magical concept make Uncanny a great supernatural read. 4 stars!
Profile Image for Brittany.
272 reviews2 followers
November 2, 2017
Good concept...really good concept. Gill really focused on the intense parts but I feel there was a struggle in bridging things. I'm just not really sure. And the proofreaders...fire them. Many grammar mistakes and incorrect word usage that I tried to overlook but just could not. I really wanted to take my red pen to it so that just really turned me off. It's definitely a good story but it needs a bit more polish and shine on it in my opinion. The good thing is though, it definitely has its moments of horror so there's definitely something here, I just think it needs a bit more editorial work.
Profile Image for Hillary Wheeler.
16 reviews
April 27, 2018
Be ready for a journey when reading Uncanny. David McGinnis Gill leads you on an adventure when Willow Jane turns sixteen and her power awakens; however, her power is not the only thing that awakens. While I was able to put this book down last night and get some sleep, Uncanny keeps the pages turning as Willow Jane's day continues to unravel. If you want all the answers laid out for you before the adventure begins, this is not the book for you as patience is a virtue while the author explains Uncanny bit by bit. And while this book is not one that I would read again, this stand alone novel is well worth the read if you don't mind a little horror.
Profile Image for Beth.
913 reviews
December 11, 2017
Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for an e-copy of this book.

I really wanted to like this book. The cover is awesome, and the first line was great, but I just could not finish this book. I found it confusing and hard to keep track of everything going on in it. I read about 25% of the book, and then I ended up skimming to the end. I am hoping some of the teens in my library will have a different opinion than me. It's also pretty high school in it's maturity level. Maybe I will try again later, but for now I have to move on to other books.
24 reviews
May 23, 2021
I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it. I feel like this book had the potential to be really good, but there was really no character development which was a big turn off for me. I loved the story idea and the beginning of the book seemed promising, but at times I thought that it was a little hard to follow what exactly was going on. Not to mention that the editing team should be fired due to the several grammatical errors throughout the book. I was hoping for a good horror/fantasy book and this one just didn't do it for me.
Profile Image for Renee.
Author 14 books125 followers
January 29, 2018
Ugh... I put this down, forgot I was reading it, lost it and the found it and went "I am not wasting anymore time on this."

It's a great idea (kind of... what I could make out of the plot)

Written not bad, (Just not for me, I guess)

And I wish I had been able to enjoy it.

I didn't care about anyone but the best friend. It was overly weird (not in a good way), complicated, a little boring and just made me feel meh. I got half way through.
Profile Image for Andrea Labonte.
567 reviews5 followers
June 7, 2018
I finally finished this book. When I first started reading this, it was really good and I didn’t want to put it down. As I got further into the book, it was like one of those books you had to find out what happened next. I really enjoyed this book. A mixture of mystery and drama all into one. Devon a seven year old girl goes missing and it’s up to her oldest sister to find out where she is and save her. If you want an on the edge of your seat kind of book pick this one up. You won’t regret it!
Profile Image for Abby Pechin.
384 reviews
January 1, 2018
I liked this book was it was clearly geared towards Young Adults. Had I known that before my purchase, I was not have bought the book. The book is simple and easy to read rather quickly. I was also a bit unhappy with character development, seeming the extra characters only needing to be there as a matter of convenience.
Profile Image for katie.
1 review1 follower
August 21, 2023
i thought that overall uncanny was pretty good. there were some pretty spooky moments. i thought the pacing was off a little bit and i would have liked an explanation about what was going on a little sooner in the book. however, it was overall an interesting concept and i thought the characters were likeable. i think other reviewers were judging this one a little too harshly
Profile Image for Creatyvebooks.
227 reviews10 followers
October 28, 2017
Heh it started off good but quickly lost its way. Damnit I was really excited for this book. Still a decent Halloween read if you're interested.

P.S. I might not be a native to Boston but I can that the author isn't even. Very stereotypical of the Boston accent and mannerisms
Profile Image for Abbie.
1,526 reviews
April 28, 2019
I picked this up because of its gothic-horror vibes. The first few chapters were good; I loved the creepy/gory death scenes but then the pacing started to slow and I got bored. Halfway through I just wanted the book to end.
Profile Image for eva.
7 reviews
Shelved as 'dnf'
April 17, 2023
Never wrote a review for this book because I genuinely didn’t think it was even worth it :,) but I am not a horror fan whatsoever, and this book definitely didn’t change that.

Thriller? Yes.
Mystery? Yes.
Horror? God, no. Not for me.

This was a dnf at 18%
Profile Image for Jen Westpfahl.
108 reviews11 followers
November 21, 2017
I liked the concept, but the story was very confusing at times and the characters weren’t engaging. I didn’t really even care how it ended.
22 reviews
December 28, 2017
was an easy read but could have used more details in the storyline and definitely a better ending.
May 19, 2018
Easily one of the worst books I’ve ever read
If I could give it zero stars I totally would
Profile Image for Casee Maxfield.
29 reviews1 follower
June 5, 2019
This book jumped the shark early on. I just couldn't suspend my belief as much as the book asked for. Huge disappointment.
Profile Image for Danielle.
388 reviews18 followers
September 28, 2020
*4.5 stars*

I wasn't expecting anything miraculous at the end, but I was expecting a little bit more than what was given.
98 reviews7 followers
August 18, 2019
like a cross between a Stephen King novel and the movie good Wiil hunting. liked the main characters, and it got scarier as it went which was really cool.One of the best young adult horror novels i've read.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 36 reviews

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