Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey
publisher: Philomel / Penguin
release date: December 8, 2012
hardcover, 336 pages
intended audience: Young adult
source: from publisher for honest review
Lenzi hears voices and has visions - gravestones, floods, a boy with steel gray eyes. Her boyfriend, Zak, can't help, and everything keeps getting louder and more intense. Then Lenzi meets Alden, the boy from her dreams, who reveals that she's a reincarnated Speaker - someone who can talk to and help lost souls - and that he has been her Protector for centuries.
Now Lenzi must choose between her life with Zak and the life she is destined to lead with Alden. But time is running out: a malevolent spirit is out to destroy Lenzi, and he will kill her if she doesn't make a decision soon.
Review: I really couldn't help but love this one. A great beginning that dips you right into the action, a slow-building love story with a deep history, a bit of creepiness, and wonderful complex characters---this was a fantastic debut.
I'm always up for a good ghost story, and there are plenty of them out there, but this story ended up being something completely other that what I expected and really set itself apart. Lenzi can see and hear losts souls and with Alden's help she soon finds out that she has been reincarnated from a very well-known "Speaker"---someone who the souls can come to for help with their unfinished business, and he is there as her Protector. What's more is that there is actually a vast network of these Speakers and Protectors, as well as a council that oversees their work. It gave the "saving souls" concept a completely different dynamic, sort of like the CIA of the afterlife. :) The speaker/protector team helps the souls, files reports on each case, and even racks up points according to the kind of problem the soul had. It gave the story an interesting twist!
Lenzi is a great character---it was easy to stay interested in her dilemma and how she changes and grows. Her struggle changes from fear of turning out like her father who also heard voices, to uncertainty in trying to understand the answers that Alden gives her, to confusion as she grapples with who she is in this life---a quick-witted, confused teenager who is just trying to maintain a little bit of normalcy---and who she was in her past lives as the serious-minded and accomplished Speaker, Rose.
The love story was fantastic. There is a bit of a triangle going on here, but for me, her loyalty to the boy she was with before all this started was confounding. Zak scored no points with me right from the beginning; one of his first actions in the book is to get raging drunk at Lenzi's dad's grave and pass out, leaving her stranded without a way home. So needless to say, I was rooting for Alden from his first appearance. Alden is passionate and loyal and although it's his duty as a protector, he proves to protect Lenzi/Rose out of pure love that's built over hundreds of years of reincarnations. The other protectors that Lenzi meets, Maddi and Race, really add history (since they've known her through her past reincarnations) and humor to the story.
Definitely a debut to add to your must-read list!
Visit Mary Lindsey's site here.
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