Release Date: December 8, 2011
336 pages, Souls #1
Rating: 4 stars
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“I can just imagine the recruiting poster. 'Ghost whisperers wanted: no experience necessary. Death wish and masochistic tendencies a must.” ― Mary Lindsey, Shattered Souls
Lenzi Anderson hears voices. First, it started off as just hearing static constantly. But now she hears different voices begging her for help. She is terrified that she's becoming like her father, a schizophrenic who committed suicide a year ago. Then, she starts seeing images when she closes her eyes. A grave, a stone angel, a boy with grey eyes. She's scared to tell her mother. She's afraid that she's going crazy and that she'll be locked up.
But then she meets the boy with grey eyes in real life. Alden tells her she isn't crazy; the voices are real. He reveals to her that she is a reincarnated Speaker, someone who can talk to spirits and resolve their problems so they can move on. He is her Protector, and he has filled that position for centuries. But for some reason, Lenzi can't remember any of her past lives.
Lenzi has to choose between her life with musician boyfriend Zak and her destiny as a Speaker protected by Alden. But when a Malevolent spirit from the past- intent on killing her - tries to take over her body, Lenzi is forced to make a decision before it is too late.
I cannot gush enough about how much I loved Shattered Souls. First off, the cover is stunning. I am not usually into any covers with photographed models, but the color scheme is so striking. I also love how her dress and body transforms into rose petals. It's so beautiful. I actually bought this book because the cover caught my eye, and I am so glad I did.
The premise is awesome. The whole system of Speakers and Protectors is so inventive and a crazy twist on Ghost Whisperer and Medium and all those shows because the spirits actually inhabit the Speaker. The Speaker serves as a vessel, and the Protector has other purposes besides being just a bodyguard. The whole idea of soulsharing and a grading system for resolutions was wildly imaginative. The whole Intercessor Council as a business, keeping files and documenting ghost resolutions, was another original twist. Each ghost was interesting, and I was fascinated by the interactions between Lenzi and the voices in her head. They were amusing, touching, and sometimes terrifying. The Malevolents were of the creepy Exorcist variety and were convincing villains. They were out to possess Lenzi's body which is scary.
The romance was out of this world. I loved Alden and Lenzi together, and overall, I just loved Alden. I was humiliated when I was reduced to a giggly little girl whenever Alden appeared. He was just delightful! He was supportive, compassionate, intelligent, and mature. So sweet and thoughtful. He's like the perfect guy any teenage mom would dream of for their daughter because he's centuries old (how can he not be mature?) and he is dedicated to protecting Lenzi from evil spirits. He actually said enlightening things. He could be so witty and clever. He wasn't overprotective or jealous to the point of annoyance. He didn't fawn over Lenzi until I wanted to gag, but he did pay attention to her and actually listened. Yeah, basically, I am all about Alden here. He has his weaknesses too so he's not sickeningly perfect either.
Lenzi was a great character too. I loved her origami interest, her love for music, and her sarcasm. She was a strong female lead. It took some time for her to believe Alden or to even be willing to talk to a spirit, but that was realistic. She had been through a lot with her dad and his illness. Despite her struggles with her Speaker identity, she really came through and proved herself.
The other characters kind of took a backseat, but I loved them. One of my favorites had to be Alden's dog Spook. He was such a cute addition. And my mom had a black cat named Spook before I was born. We always have to have a black cat. It was different to have a spirit sensitive dog instead of a cat. I liked it. I adored Izzy. I love children, and Izzy was far from a spoiled brat. She was a sweetheart and very endearing. Race was funny and competition for Alden. Though very little competition. Maddi provided a girlfriend for Lenzi which was nice, seeing she had no friends. People tend to think you're crazy when you hear voices. Fancy that. Race and Maddi were both really supportive and loyal, and I hope to learn even more about them in upcoming books.
I was less than thrilled about Lenzi's continuing relationship with Zak. He seemed to have potential for alcoholism and physical abuse. Yet Lenzi never seemed to fully realize that. She forgave him too easily and ignored Alden's warnings. Understandably, she had just met Alden, but Zak was just a little too possessive and overbearing. If he wasn't coming on too strong, he was passed out drunk. It's a sad fact of life that many girls will end up with loser boyfriends and stick with them because of their insecurities. So I can try to understand Lenzi's situation. She had no friends besides Zak, and she was going through a lot with her father's death and the appearance of the voices. But I would still expect her to realize at some point that Zak was bad news. Even after she was fed up with him, she still thought he was a good guy.
Despite Zak's despicable character, I loved Shattered Souls just so much! I could not put it down! I cannot wait for the next book to hear more about Speakers and Protectors. Lindsey actually announced it will be a companion novel which will follow another Speaker and Protector pair. While I hate to lose Alden, I love companion novels because they offer a wider view of the world and introduce new characters. It is expected in 2014. AH! So far away! Yet I do think a sequel to Shattered Souls should be written because I felt the ending left me expecting more in the future.
But then she has Ashes on the Waves expected for 2013! This book is inspired by my favorite Edgar Allan Poe poem, "Annabel Lee!" And that sounds awesome! Can't wait!