Monday, January 2, 2012

Review: Shattered Dreams, by Ellie James

Title: Shattered Dreams
Author: Ellie James
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (an imprint of Macmillian
Pub. Date: December, 2011
  • Read the first chapter HERE

I really enjoy paranormal mysteries, and I think that shows in my love for  Shattered Dreams. Like with The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting, and Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann (as well as others) I was reminded of all the reasons why I love a good mystery novel (and left wondering why I don't read them more often), as well as treated to a little dash of paranormal to add a little spice to the story.

Sixteen-year-old Trinity Monsour wants nothing more than to live a normal life. But that isn’t as easy as it seems. Trinity is different. She is special. She sees visions, and for those she’s seen, it’s already too late. 
Trinity arrives on her aunt’s doorstep in New Orleans with virtually no knowledge of her mysterious heritage. She begins settling into life at a new school and even starts making friends. But all too quickly her dreams accelerate; twisted, terrifying visions of a girl locked in a dark room. And when the head cheerleader, Jessica, goes missing, Trinity knows she has no choice but to step forward with what she’s seen. 
But people believe that Trinity has information about Jessica’s disappearance not because of a dream, but because she is involved. She is kind-of dating Jessica’s ex-boyfriend, Chase, and Jessica did pull a nasty prank on Trinity. Revenge seems like the likeliest scenario. 
Nothing prepares Trinity for the dark odyssey that ensues while searching for Jessica, including the surprising romance she finds with Chase, or the shocking truths she learns, not just about the girl who has gone missing, but the past that has been hidden from her. (courtesy of Goodreads) 
I was really intrigued by this story. The whole psychic dreams aspect, while not original in the least, definitely adds an interesting element to any mystery. Especially when the person getting the visions is still trying to figure out what being psychic means.

Since she was younger, Trinity's grandmother has repressed the heritage passed down from Trinity's mother, saying that  she shouldn't talk- about what she could see, and that if she were to tell others they would turn from her. When Jessica disappears, because of what her grandmother had been telling her since she started seeing things, Trinity is left with an internal debate about what she should say, if she should say anything at all, about what she has seen of Jessica. I thought this conflict was portrayed nicely. The fears were justified (even in the context of the story), but I liked how she could also learn to let some people in, to trust them with the knowledge of what she could do.

What I didn't like was the floating evidence used "against" her. I say floating because that's basically what it's still doing now. Certain pieces of evidence that would point to Trinity's guilt as the perpetrator were thrown up into the mix to add conflict and uncertainty to Trinity's fate. Would they arrest her for what happened to Jessica because of this evidence and the details she knew? Or, would they learn the truth?

There was some speculation (mainly by Trinity) during the novel as to where the evidence came from, how it got where it was recovered, etc.. Some of this "evidence" was explained away at the novel's conclusion, but certain pieces (like the earning) never were. Are we meant to assume that Trinity's initial speculations were correct, then? Or was this merely and oversight?  Either way, it's something that wound up bugging me in the end.

I also wasn't too fond of how Chase was so quick to believe the worst in Trinity. Don't get me wrong, I understand how what is revealed about his past may have caused trust issues. But for someone who apparently put up with lot from his mean-girl, on-again-off-again ex-girlfriend and was still able to say she would have been a better person if such-and-such had happened instead of what did, he seemed quick to judge, here, on a person whom he already thought was a more decent individual. A little too quick to judge, if you ask me. It didn't seem entirely natural.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I think Shattered Dreams warrants 4.5 Crazy Hearts rating, so if you like a little paranormal with your mysteries, don't pass this one up. I can't wait for the next installment, Broken Illusions (due out May 8th, 2012 -- There is also a short story that was released before Thanksgiving, Haunted Destiny).


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