Shortly after the unexplained, sudden death of her mother, Rayna starts seeing angels. When she musters up enough courage to confide in her father, he flat out disregards her. In fact he thinks she's lost her mind. Poor Rayna (Ray) just can't let it go, which eventually lands her in a mental institute, labeled as a paranoid schizophrenic. Three painful years later, she's officially declared to be in remission and released back to her family. Unfortunately, her younger sister and father aren't welcoming her back into their lives with open arms. Even worse, when she returns to her school it starts happening again. The new guy in school, Ray swears, has wings! Is she slipping back into her so called schizophrenic ways?
From Lisa's website: "Lisa M. Basso was born and raised in San Francisco, California. She is a lover of books, video games, animals, and baking (not baking with animals though). As a child she would crawl into worlds of her own creation and get lost for hours. Her love for YA fiction started with a simple school reading assignment: S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders. When not reading or writing she can usually be found at home with The Best Boyfriend that Ever Lived ™ and her two darling (and sometimes evil) cats, Kitties A and B." A Shimmer of Angels is the first book in the Angel Site Trilogy and is also Lisa's debut novel. Book two, A Slither of Hope and the final book A Matter of Time both will be released sometime in 2014.
SETTING PACE AND STYLE
With a strange plot line and a murder occurring within the first couple of chapters, this one isn't exactly slow off the start line. Progressing at a moderate to brisk pace, it concludes with an action packed finale. Writing is pretty straightforward with a sprinkle of descriptive language. Its not overly flowery by any means. The story is told in first person from the viewpoint of the main character, Rayna or "Ray" for short.
CHARACTERS AND PLOT
Rayna, the main character, struggles throughout the book to keep it together. She's always on the verge of loosing it, especially when she starts to see angels - again. Previous life experiences taught her to be untrusting, standoffish and a self preservationist. Her biggest fear - being readmitted to the mental institution, which she refers to as the "SS Crazy".
Cam and Kade are respectively the good and bad angels who vie for Rayna's attention, each for different reasons. Cam is understanding, grounding and sensitive to Ray's needs. He tries to help her realize she's really not crazy, never had been. Kade, unnerves Rayna, makes her do ridiculous things and act out of character. When he's around her fear level increases and she reacts by dropping breakable objects or sometimes just bolting. Initially, he's mean, cruel and doesn't care about Rayna's feelings. As the story progresses he does change for the better. A sort of strange love triangle is emerging between Cam, Kade and Ray, which will be further developed in future installments.
Lee, Ray's best friend, is a such a dependable guy who is determined to stand by Ray's side, despite what others think of her controversial return to school and subsequent odd behavior. He also just happens to be her one and only friend. If forced to have only one friend, Lee would be a great choice. I only wish Ray would have confided in him about her angel sitings. I think he would have understood, if she would have given him the chance, instead of keeping everything hidden from him.
Plot: When a teenager starts seeing angels she's diagnosed with Schizophrenia and institutionalized. Once she's finally deemed, "in remission" and released, it all starts happening again.
This story is geared toward those who read a lot of angel stories, searching for something a little different. Its certainly not your typical run of the mill angel story. AShimmer of Angels manages to set itself apart from other angel stories. If you don't mind some contemporary issues infused into a paranormal plot line then grab this one and give it a try.
In my not so distant past I have enjoyed a plethora of angel stories. With so many angel books out there, the trick is now for the author to find a niche. This book proved to be slightly different and stood out from the rest. I'm pretty certain it paved its own path. What stood out as unique revolved around the main character being considered schizophrenic because she sees angels. In fact, Rayna, the main character is forced to spend many years of her life institutionalized. This story is not unlike other angel stories as it has both good angels and bad ones (fallen angels). Cam and Kade are the main angel players, Cam is good and Kade is supposed to be evil.
Certain aspects of the storyline were a little grating for me: I didn't like the love triangle materializing between Cam, Kade and Rayna. It felt too similar to The Fallen Series with Cam, Daniel and Luce. I also was appalled by Rayna's little sister and how horribly she treated Ray. She basically wrote her off after she was admitted to the mental institute. Plus, she also "rats" her out later in the book. I understand she was bitter, but I thought her attitude and poor treatment of her big sister was extreme.
Overall, I felt the plot and story line were good, just lacking a certain bit of something extra special to land this book in my "great" category. I really liked reading the book, though it failed to knock my socks off. Its a solid story, different enough to be considered unique and I would recommend it to others who enjoy reading books about angels, with a slight contemporary twist.
For me, this was a solid 3.5 Rings. I enjoyed the story, it was just different enough to stand out and it kept me turning pages. I take 1.5 rings off for length, it seemed longer than it really was and the love triangle didn't work well for me.
3.5 out of 5 Rings (Really Good - Kept me Flipping Pages)