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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Shimmer (The Rephaim # 3) by Paula Weston Review

Shimmer (The Rephaim #3) by Paula Weston
Format: Paperback, 391 pages
Publisher: Text Publishing (June 4, 2014)
Expected Release for the USA: March 8, 2016 (published by Tundra Books)
Gaby thought her life couldn’t get more complicated.

She’s almost used to the idea that she’s not the nineteen-year-old backpacker she thought she was. She can just about cope with being one of the Rephaim – a 140-year-old half-angel – whose memories have been stolen. She’s even coming to grips with the fact that Jude, the brother she’s mourned for a year, didn’t die at all.

But now Rafa—sexy, infuriating Rafa—is being held, and hurt, by Gatekeeper demons. And Gaby has to get the bitterly divided Rephaim to work together, or Rafa has no chance at all.

It’s a race against time – and history. And it may already be too late.

Check out my reviews of Shadows and Haze!

I wrote in my review of Haze that the plot had taken a more serious turn than the first novel, that continues here in book three. This book suffers in comparison to it's predecessors for one major reason which is Rafa's absence. It makes a huge blow to the action and comedy that have been built up in Shadows and Haze which Shimmer can't make up for. This book really illustrates how much his character means to the plot as well as the other characters. The vacancy felt is honest and stirring. If, as a reader, I didn't feel his loss so strongly, there would be no reason to care about him. His lack of presence is what makes this book so serious that it's painful. It was a necessary move, the plot is not at all hindered by it, in fact, it's the main reason this book is able to keep pace with the other two books, because you find yourself keeping track of how long Rafa is gone and that time is running out on him. Part of me, wants to rate this book lower than Shadows and Haze but it's written well, I like the plot, and the fact that Rafa's truancy affected me so much is a huge testimony to its brilliance.

1) You really feel the pain of Rafa's loss. He's not physically there, but all of the other characters are talking about him and thinking about him continuously, we learn more about his past and his relationship with Gaby and Jude. While reading, Weston makes sure that there is never a moment that you don't feel the pain of missing and worrying about him. This is the exactly the kind of writing I wanted in Lauren Oliver's Pandemonium but didn't get.

2) As I mentioned above, we learn more about Gaby and Rafa before they were against each other. In the first two books, the readers found out about them as kids, and growing up in the Sanctuary. It creates a whole new side of the relationship, that makes their current one not seem so implausible.

3) The brother-sister bond between Jude and Gaby is really sweet. The way they steady each other, their ability to read each other's thoughts and feelings and most of all their love for one another. It's so sweet and charming that it almost (but not quite) makes up for the lack of Rafa in this book.

4) Shimmer really put me through the emotional-ringer. All of the anguish and turmoil really got under my skin. Not just because of Rafa either, it was everything. I really felt like I was Gaby and that every bit of emotional pain she went through were my own.

5)  The plot of this novel is extremely intricate, when you think you have a grip on everything, Weston hits her readers with a onslaught of new information. An issue that comes with an onslaught of information is that sometimes the author gives a little bit too much away (explained in my first two points in my Dislikes section).

1)  The major climactic moment. It comes towards the end of the book like a huge epiphany to the characters, but for me, I saw it coming a mile away. There were plenty of indicators as to who and what to be suspicious of, and once I caught on to that, the plot unraveled for me before I even reached the end of the book.

2) Slight Spoiler Alert: Shimmer ends in a cliffhanger, just like Haze, but this time I was already expecting it. Just like I realized what the climax moment would be before I got to that part of the book, it was really obvious how this would end. The characters kept talking about it over and over again, and there were a few dozen ifs thrown around if it would happen, so to me it was clear, that it had to happen.

3) The fight scenes wrap up too quickly for me. It's literally BAM! and then over.

4) Once again there are two many characters for me to handle (surprise, surprise). I'm on board with all of the Rephaim, which is a lot, even if I don't like them all, I can see their purpose and generally understand why they are there. My problem lies with all of the humans in this book, there are so many of them and each one has a little detail significant to that character and the plot, which makes them important, but otherwise annoying. In my opinion, Weston could have combined these characters into 2-3 characters instead of the 10+ that there were.

"Same time?" Jude says to me.

"You're worried I might go first and throw you off your game? You are so competitive."

I get a quick grin.
"But you're not going to go against them, are you?"

"Not as long as they're supporting our plan to get Rafa and Taya." He rests his arm on the back of his chair. "Gaby, this isn't about them versus you. There's no contest—It's you."


"I don't care what happened a decade ago," he says. "Don't make me keep saying it."


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