I received this book for free in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
I started this book with low expectations—and by the time I was a little more than halfway done, I was convinced this was going to be one of the best books I have read—only to be sorely disappointed by the last quarter of the story. In spite of this—I’d still recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy and fae stories—this book may not be without its flaws, but it’s not a completely waste of time either. To put it in a nutshell—Lauren Bird Horowitz’s debut novel Shattered Blue is a roller coaster ride.
The Writing: Lauren Bird Horowitz is one fantastic writer who creates characters that will just come to life. Her writing is definitely one of the highlights of the book for me—I loved how real each character felt, and how easy it was for me to connect to them. The storytelling is unique in its beauty, in its somewhat detailed descriptions, and the multiple perspectives is very well written; each character had their own individual voice, and it was very easy to differentiate between the narrators. It was different than most YA books—the narration is a lot more complex than I would have expected, and the point of view of the protagonist (who happens to be a poet) is just spot on.
In gray light, Noa tiptoed over the small girl burrowed into
the sleeping bag. Her Other Sister—the Still-Alive Sister—threeyear-
I also loved the occasional use of poetry in the novel. Not only did it help me understand Noa better, it also added depth, eloquence and allure to the storytelling.
Cool is seeping, lightning sleeping,
dry-bone spindle, cactus eye;
nothing burns—until he turns, and sees
the tree that climbs the sky
Needless to say, if Lauren Horowitz ever writes a poetry book I would definitely be buying it.
The description too, is absolutely perfect, so I had no problem diving into the world this book was set in. Overall the writing is mostly convincing, except during the last quarter of the book where certain events are not explained properly or were not written well enough for me to understand what was happening. It certainly put me off the story for a while, but when considering how well written the rest of the book is, I can easily ignore it as minor issues.
The Characters: This book initially reminded me a little bit of Twilight because of the setting—so I was bracing myself for a weak, invertebrate protagonist. I was completely wrong. Noa is a survivor—and I loved how even though she was depressed and grieving she was still a strong, smart, character. Admittedly my respect for her took a slight hit when the love triangle was introduced—it felt completely unnecessary—but besides that, she is one of those protagonists I could easily admire. I liked how selfless she was for her family, and at the same time, how after a certain point she refused to keep hurting herself for the sake of others, how she decided that she could be a martyr without making herself insignificant. Even though she is one of those girls who cried a lot, I found her to be a very awe-inspiring character.
Her mother’s happiness, that
old excitement, the ease of her waiting smile for Sasha—these
things were water after the longest drought. But for Noa, it was
like drinking the ocean, each salty swallow somehow taking,
instead of giving.
It wasn’t regret. The lie was important—Hannah’s tentative
rebirth, beyond all else, proved that. It just hurt to swallow it
silently. She’d meant the vow she’d made when Sasha had squeezed
her fingers—never again. For no one else would she bend like
this, be invisible like this, keep quiet like this.
Our other two main characters—Callum and Judah—were also interesting in their own ways. I loved Callum’s sweetness, his lightness and how like his brother Judah, he too was constantly struggling to walk that line that separates good from evil. Whereas Judah is reckless, he is over-controlling, and I loved how they both had their own guilts, their own demons to fight—how neither character was a knight in shining armor. I am kind of tired of reading about both the perfect heroes and the bad, misunderstood boys in romance novels, but in Shattered Blue, we see characters who are not simply just one or the other of those stereotypes but a mix of both, in my opinion.
This book also has a good cast of supporting characters, and Sasha-monster in particular won my heart. I also loved how present the other family members were for most of the book—I never understand why adults play such a small role in the lives of their own children in YA books. My favorite part was when Noa and her father finally learns to heal—it was such a powerfully written scene, and the way it showed the father-daughter love was simply moving.
The Plot: The plot of Shattered Blue is incredibly unpredictable—and this coming from me, someone who is exceptionally good at predicting plot twists—is saying a lot. Usually I can catch even the most subtle foreshadowing, but not in this case. Lauren Horowitz took me by surprise every single time, without making me feel like I got hit by a truck each time. I swear, the whole time I was reading the book, this was my reaction at every plot twist:
The fact that I couldn’t put it down for a minute speaks for the book itself. There weren’t much loopholes either, and the plot was complex enough to keep me interested in finding out more throughout the entire time.
That being said, there were several parts of the book that I didn’t like. The plot is good for a fantasy/fae story, and while the insta-love was written well enough that I cannot complain about it, I hated the love triangle. I thought it was completely irrelevant and I honestly did not see it happening; neither characters were developed enough to be in love.
I also hated the confrontational scene during the last part of the book, mostly because there was so much information/revelations happening at once, I could not process it. Even though it was a very intense scene, I hated how so many things were being pushed down my throat, and truth be told that whole scene was just confusing.
As emotional and passionate that scene was, it seriously put me off the book, making the ending a disappointment.
The Ending: I honestly have ambivalent feelings about the ending of this book. I love the epic cliffhanger, but also hate how sudden it felt, because of the things that preceded it and also because I thought it could have been written better. But then again that ending was just so unexpected and I have no idea what’s gonna happen next…It’s so confusing!
All of this being said, I’m definitely going to be reading the next book whenever it comes out. Like I said before, this book isn’t perfect, but it’s not a waste of time–far from it, even if this is not your type, chances are you’ll find yourself enjoying it. So would I recommend you to read it?