Monday, July 28, 2014
Review: Shimmer by Paula Weston
Title: Shimmer (The Rephaim, #3)
Author: Paula Weston
Rating: 4 Stars
Note: There are minor spoilers for Haze in this review, though if you are unfamiliar with the series as a whole you will be unable to discern the actual spoiler. If you have read Shadows but not Haze, however, there are a few spoilers below.
You can read my spoiler-free reviews of both Shadows and Haze here and here respectively.
Shimmer, I find, is my least favorite edition of this series to date. When the weakest link in a quartet still manages to pull off 4 Stars effortlessly, though, you've certainly found an undisputed winner among novels.
Weston's strength, as always, lies in her flawless execution of plot but, even more, in her mastery of characterization. With Rafa out of sight in Shimmer, it becomes all the more imperative to tie these characters together and define their relationships. Jude and Gaby, in particular, truly blossom as siblings and their united front, combined with the strange experiences they've shared, make for a memorable growth arc. I'm both anxious and eager to see its culmination in Blaze, the finale to this quartet, as the past finally catches up to these two.
Shimmer takes place predominantly in the Sanctuary, home to the Rephaim. Lines have already been drawn between Nathaniel's followers and the Outcasts but, when forced to work together, these allegiances gradually begin to shift. I found the first-half of Shimmer to fly by seamlessly but I also found it to be oddly repetitive in the argumentation between the secondary characters. Yet, I love how Weston uses this base to evolve her characters as the story wears on and the conversations, however minor or similar, all carry their weight.
Gaby certainly discovers more about her past, especially pertaining to how she came to lose her memory, but so many of the vital details are still shrouded from the reader. Once again, though, we never feel frustrated by the lack of answers since Weston keeps up a steady stream of action and tiny tid-bits to please fans. Where Shadows introduced us to this complex world and Haze began to answer our swirling doubts, Shimmer brings forth slightly unexpected plot lines and introduces even more questions into our minds even as we gain answers. I'm in awe of Weston's ability to do this; to introduce even more into the complicated mix-up of Gaby's past all while weaving these threads together. Unlike Laini Taylor's plot introductions towards the end of Dreams of Gods & Monsters, in Shimmer everything feels all-too natural thanks to the expert foreshadowing Weston has littered throughout the story. I'm curious to see, now, what Gaby and the gang make of these new developments in this sequel.
Many readers have promised that the romance in Shimmer is delightfully swoon-worthy--it is! While I'm all about the build-up, hence the reason I adored Haze as much as I did, Shimmer in no way disappoints and I'm more than a little curious to finally have all my romantic enquiries answered in Blaze. If you expected to find more about Rafa and Gabe's history in Shimmer you'll remain disappointed but at this point I'm just as curious about Jude's romantic past as I am about Gaby's so alongside the explosive revelations in Blaze and kick-ass action sequences, I'm expecting a full load of swoons, sighs, and kisses.
Shimmer is a difficult novel to review mainly because it picks up directly where Haze leaves off and much of Shimmer's excellence stems from the plot twists in the second-half of the story. Yet, the political machinations between these Rephaim are just as intriguing and I'm glad we finally glimpsed the true personas of Nathaniel's followers unclouded by bias. It was all-too-easy in the past two novels to distinguish the "good" Rephaim from the "bad" but with Shimmer that line becomes blurred and I love that level of depth in a novel. Though Shimmer may not have provided all the answers I sought, fans of Weston will certainly not be disappointed--well, with the exception of that ending. Seriously, so cruel Ms. Weston. CRUEL. *pouts*