Christal’s Review - 4 Skulls – B+
A Shimmer of Angels was a surprisingly good read. It reminded me a little of the Unearthly series, but still had its own unique take on angels. I think the strength of the book was the main character’s voice. Ms. Basso wrote a very well-defined and believable 16-year-old without veering into annoying territory. I think fans of angel books and YA urban fantasies in general will find a lot to appreciate in this book.
A Shimmer of Angels tells the story of Rayna, a teenage girl that can see angels. I think the only thing I didn’t like about this book was the disservice it presented to the mental health field. Rayna has been involuntarily committed for three years off and on, and then once more within this book, and I just didn’t find it a very realistic portrayal of how the system actually works. I enjoyed the other parts of this book enough to overlook this fact, but I could see how it would really bother other readers. I think the book could have been just as strong if that plot point had been modified into something different.
My favorite part of the novel was probably Rayna’s voice. I found her to be a very sympathetic character and enjoyed being in her head. Ms. Basso was very successful at showing how Rayna felt, especially when she thought she was relapsing. She felt like an authentic teenager who just happened to be a little special. I thought her decisions and actions were pretty believable and I never felt she entered “Too Stupid to Live” territory. I look forward to reading the next book from her perspective and seeing how she adapts to all the changes at the end of Shimmer.
Like so many YA novels these days, this book did have a slight love triangle, but Ms. Basso didn’t hit the reader over the head with it. Cam, an angel Rayna meets at her high school, was an intriguing character because he had to keep his distance from Rayne. There was major sparkage between them, but he couldn’t give in to his more human emotions without the risk of “Falling.” Kade, on the other hand, has already fallen and we are lead to believe it is because he was in love with Rayna’s mother. He says some things later that make me wonder if that is the true reason, but it is obvious he is hiding things in his past. While he started out as a shady and kind of creepy character, by the end of the book he was absolutely lovely. He became a rock for Rayna, a lifeline… If nothing else, he truly became her friend. I’m interested to see how this plays out as both “men” have to be much older than Rayna, but they never treated her as inferior nor did they put her on a pedestal. As much as I liked Cam, I really hope we get a healthy dose of mysterious Kade in the next book.
Rayna’s classmates had their parts to play in the plot, but it was only her best friend Lee that was fleshed out as an actual character. I hope that Rayne doesn’t lose touch with him in the next book because I think he helps ground her and remind her that she is only human (we think) when she gets too involved with the angelic stuff. I’m undecided about Rayna’s family. Her mother is dead and there is definitely more that Rayna needs to learn about her. Her father and sister seemed supportive sometimes, but at others they were too quick to judge and they expressed their concerns much too harshly. I see redeeming qualities in her younger sister, but I just don’t understand her father’s actions.
This story read quickly and flowed very well. There were certain points where my dinner almost burned because I didn’t want to stop reading. The characters were so engaging, the dialogue snappy but expository, and the actual plot so engrossing that I read the entire book in just a few hours. While this one didn’t end with a true cliffhanger, I cannot wait to read the next book!
Thank you to Netgalley and Month9Books for providing an ARC copy of this book!
Series Reading Order:
1. A Shimmer of Angels
2. A Slither of Hope (expected publication 2013)
3. A Matter of Time (expected publication 2014)
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