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Shattered Souls | What YA Reading?

April 30th, 2012

Shattered Souls

by Mary Lindsey

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Lenzi hears voices. She also sees visions–gravestones, floods, a gorgeous guy with steel gray eyes. She knows she must be going crazy, just like her dad did. Her boyfriend, Zak, can’t do anything to help, and the voices just keep getting louder, the visions more intense. But when Lenzi meets Alden, the boy from her dreams, everything makes sense.

Sort of.

He tells Lenzi that she’s a reincarnated Speaker–someone who can talk to lost souls and help them move on–and that he has been her Protector for centuries. But instead of embracing her abilities, Lenzi struggles between her life as the girlfriend of a sexy musician and the life she is destined to lead with Alden. Yet time is running out; a malevolent spirit has been trying to destroy Lenzi for ages, and he will surely kill her if she doesn’t make a decision soon.

Her choices are clear: Destiny or normalcy. Alden or Zak. Life or death.

Whew.

Shattered Souls is intense. Very intense. Just so wonderfully, wonderfully intense.

Shall I be more articulate?

Shattered Souls contains three types of paranormal characters. Firstly, there’s the Hindered. These are dead souls who can’t move on due to their unfinished business. Yes, you’ve heard this before. I’m not done yet. Speakers are the people who can talk to these Hindered. They help them resolve whatever business they’ve left behind. Oh, and then there’s the Protectors. They– you guessed it!– protect their Speakers from the malignant Hindered.

Mary Lindsey has created a magnificently riveting, action-filled plot that captures her readers’ attention. Shattered Souls contains no dull moment. There’s a healthy dose of tension, a two-dozen or so events that just keep coming at you, a great climax, and just enough suspense. Intense is the word. Once I got through the first half of the book– the plot building up all the way– I could not put it down. When I was forced to stop reading, even for a few seconds, this novel dominated my thoughts. Yeah. It’s that intense.

You may be asking yourself why I’ve rated this book two point six out of five stars after hearing me preach on its intensity for the last seven minutes. The truth is, no matter how scintillating Shattered Souls proved to be, it had some issues. Serious issues. And I could not write an honest review without dealing with these.

First of all, Lenzi is an egocentric trollop. Not the greatest combination, right? When she discovers that she is charged with the responsibility of helping dead souls move on so the planet is not overrun with them, she freaks and immediately refuses to take the job. Now, this is understandable. If I found out that I had to talk to crazy, raving dead people to make minimum wage, I would be pretty freaking angry, too. But the fact that she denies her role for a sizable part of the novel really peeves me off. That is not acceptable– it’s selfish.

Oh, and I have I even mentioned the love triangle? No? I’ll get to the two love interests later, but, needless to say, being so consumed with her amorous indecision, Lenzi cheats on her boyfriend. ‘Cause that’s respectable, huh?

The next angle of this love triangle is, coincidentally, also a complete dolt. Zak’s character is absolutely intolerable. I mean, he ditches Lenzi at a cemetery on her birthday, tries to make out with her at her father’s grave, and frequently gets stone-drunk– all of this within the first 40 pages of the novel. The first forty pages! Can you even imagine what he’s like within the first fifty? And all the while, Lenzi is swooning over him. Swooning. I’m sorry, honey, but alcoholism, unreliability and assholishness just aren’t that attractive of qualities to readers. Why don’t you try, say, decency?

One would think that Shattered Souls’ other love interest would be an outstandingly great guy. He’s not. Alden is kind and smart and humble– but he keeps important information from Lenzi because she “couldn’t take it”. Look, Mary Lindsey, Lenzi may be an utterly sleazy protagonist, and she may whine until I’m on the verge of tears, but she should not be portrayed as weak. She can talk to freaking crazy dead people! I think that she can take a little information– especially if it’s direly important. Alden’s secrecy may have been supposed to come off as noble, but, ultimately, it worked against the pair and just made him seem really, really stupid.

There’s something else that I may have neglected to mention: Alden, being Lenzi’s Protector, is turned on by her fear. (Yes, you heard me right.) Just see for yourself.

He fidgeted and then ran his hands through his hair. “Okay. Your fear is a turn-on. Protectors are stimulated when their Speakers are afraid. It’s what makes it possible to put you in harm’s way. Otherwise, our instinct to protect would trump everything and we’d never allow you to do your job, which is to put yourself in danger in order to resolve the issues that keep the Hindered Earth-bound.”

Well, that certainly wasn’t what I expected. “Get out! You’re turned on to by fear?”

“And pain to some extent.” He winked and pulled his hand away.

Oh, Lenzi, darling. Let’s get some things straight, shall we? Fear and pain being a turn-on is not cool’. It is wrong, and disgusting, and just not okay. It does not make him ‘hot’ or ‘romantic’ or ‘attractive’. It makes him sociopathic and sadistic. And that is not sexy in any way of the word. Any way of the word. Did you hear that, YA authors? Psychotic does not equal enticing. It equals scary.

Lastly, I found this book to be a bit cliché. Is that just me? The ever-typical love triangle is overbearing, and a lot of the dialogue just seems so posed.  After about the third “I can sense that your soul is troubled by this.” one-liner, I was rolling my eyes. And laughing. (And not with the characters, if you know what I mean.)

Finally, Shattered Souls is intense. So, if a page-turner is what you’re looking for, great. Read this book. You’ll love it. But if you care about what’s more than just a scratch below the surface of a novel, you will be horrified. You will be repelled. And you will be laughing and forehead-smacking at its stupidity. 2.6/5 stars.

 

I’ll keep you posted,

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