Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Shimmer of Angels by Lisa M. Basso

Title: A Shimmer of Angels
Author: Lisa M. Basso
Publisher: Month9Books
Release Date: January 29, 2013
Pages: 321 pages (paperback)
How I Got the Book: ARC from the publisher via NetGalley
Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Promotional Materials and More: author website

A Shimmer of Angels (Angel Sight, #1)Sixteen-year-old Rayna sees angels, and has the medication and weekly therapy sessions to prove it. Now, in remission, Rayna starts fresh at a new school, lands a new job, and desperately tries for normalcy. She ignores signs that she may be slipping into the world she has tried so hard to climb out of. But these days, it’s more than just hallucinations that keep Rayna up at night. Students are dying, and she may be the only one who can stop it. Can she keep her job, her sanity, and her friends from dying at the hands of angels she can't admit to seeing?


Angel lit can be a little risky, but a jacket copy that promises a take on it that's actually different and a beautiful cover pulled me right in. There's a lot to like about A Shimmer of Angels, but ultimately, it's a disappointment.

From page one, I was on board with Rayna despite her dumber moments. Really, when you just got out of a mental health clinic three months ago and your family could be looking for signs of returning issues, the smart thing to do it not keep a notebook in which you write down everything weird you see, including the angel wings that got you put in the mental health clinic in the first place. She's very sympathetic despite being a rather typical heroine. I'd have hot chocolate with her any day.

Well, other than her slut-shaming, I like her. Girls who are in skimpy Halloween costumes are dressed like slutty this or sluttier that while Rayna herself isn't dressed as a slutty anything when she's wearing even less than they are. Double standards are also unbecoming. YA novels, what have I told you about slut-shaming? (Read that in your best mommy voice.)

What really catches the reader is the worldbuilding. It's sparse and nothing new, but Basso breathes life into it and makes me curious. This and the combination of the readable prose Rayna's voice is constructed with makes A Shimmer of Angels easy to read in one sitting. I kinda-sorta stayed up late to finish it when I had to present a project the next morning and be... well, presentable. It was worth it. The last few chapters starting at the school dance all the way up to the climactic scene atop the Golden Gate Bridge were almost impossible to quit reading.

The romances fall flat, unfortunately, so readers looking for a great romance might want to look elsewhere. Rayna interacts well with both her love interests, but there isn't enough there for me to believe they actually have a spark with Cam, the guy she confesses her feelings for, or Kade, the guy she interacts more/more believably with. It's a told romance instead of one that's shown. Besides, what she might have with one love interest creeps me out considering who he used to date. (Hint: her mom.)

By the end of the book, the big question remains: why can Rayna see angel wings? I've got my educated guess and what happens to Rayna toward the end only supports it. I'll be happy to stay around for A Slither of Hope considering where the story leaves off.

2.5 stars!

What am I reading next?: Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King