Book Review: Shattered Dreams

review-cover-shattered dreams

Title: Shattered Dreams [Midnight Dragonfly 1]

Author: Ellie James

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Mystery

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

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 isspecial. 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.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Shattered Dreams was not what I expected. Some months ago, I won a copy of the third book in this series by mere coincidence. Being one of those people that hate to jump into a series of books mid-way through, I immediately went about securing the first two books in this series… and promptly forgot to read them. Finally, just a few short hours ago, I dove into Shattered Dreams. I hadn’t read the synopsis, didn’t know the genre… the most I knew was that the entire series has a trend towards beautiful covers. What I found within its pages however, was a pleasant surprise.

Shattered Dreams is a Paranormal/YA/Romance that revolves around the muddled life of Trinity Rose Monsour. Orphaned after the death of her parents when she was only a toddler, and then again by her dearly departed Grandmother, she moves in with her Aunt (who she barely knows) and tries to start anew. However, it quickly becomes apparent that Trinity’s life is never going to be normal. She’s a precog—blessed (or cursed) with the gift of witnessing people’s death before it happens, just as her mother, and her mother before her. Shortly after coming to live in New Orleans, she is witness to the grisly future of a classmate, and all chaos ensues.

I really enjoyed this book. The writing was clear, easy-to-follow, and for the most part, well written. There were a few punctuation / conjunction misuses that aggravated me, but I’m willing to admit that I’m nitpicky about those sorts of things. The pace moved along at a steady pace, the world building was well done (if a little hard to follow at times), and the characters were… well, maybe not three dimensional, but not completely flat either.

Honestly, the characters weren’t the best I’ve seen written, but they weren’t the worst either. They all had their roles to play and had their own clear identities… but I don’t think they were as well fleshed out as I’d hoped. Many of the characters (such as Jessica’s little sister—who’s name escapes me—and Pitre) had little more than cameo’s as far as face-time went. They were all right while on-screen, but quickly stepped off and faded into the shadows until key moments. I didn’t feel like their presence in the book was integral to the story, nor that they had any stage-presence once they were off-camera. Maybe I’m being finicky because I’ve read some fantastic characterizations recently, but it could have been worse.

There was one other problem: as interesting and unique as the world building of Ms. James’ novel was, it was also hard to follow. I understand that trinity was a precog. I understand that her mother and her grandmother were precog’s before her. What isn’t made clear, is how the women came upon this ability, who the other “magic” people exactly were in this story, and what connection they all had to Trinity’s family. There seemed to be this underlying current that perhaps they were part of a bigger, more important sub-story than what was just going on in this book, and that perhaps there were connections to Hoodoo and Wicca…. but honestly, I’m not sure what those connections are. There were so many unanswered questions in this book concerning Trinity’s place in this web of the paranormal. There came a point when, like Trinity, I couldn’t tell who she should trust. The line between her visions, reality, and the unseen paranormal world were so incredibly blurred that I lost track of what was real and what wasn’t. It was a disquieting feeling, and I can’t help but feel sympathy for Trinity. We were both going a little mad.

Despite these two aspects, I enjoyed the book. The story was fascinating, and punctuated with thrilling chases, paranormal mystery, and teenage romance that made this a fun and engaging read. Overall: I loved the book. It was by no means perfect, but it was still a great read, and I’d be happy to recommend it to anyone who enjoys YA fiction. It wasn’t a light-hearted read, but if you enjoy psychological thrillers and supernatural powers, you’re probably going to love this. I certainly plan to continue on with the series.

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