Friday, June 29, 2012
Do you believe in ghosts? Are they good ghosts, stuck to earth by unfinished business, or are they mean ghosts, there to haunt and hurt people? Do you believe people can talk to ghosts? In Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey, Lenzi reluctantly realizes she "can see dead people".
Lenzi hears voices and is terrified she is going to end up like her father who committed suicide as a result of his schizophrenia. She avoids the voices, but they grow more and more persistent. When a strange young man named Alden arrives and claims he is her Protector and she is a Speaker, she thinks he might be crazy too... until he helps her realizes the voices aren't in her head, they are ghosts who need help resolving issues before moving on. But allowing Alden to help her requires something Lenzi might not be ready for: trust.
In order for Alden to help Lenzi, he has to take his own soul out of his body and put it into hers to remove the Hindered soul that used her body as a vessel. But Lenzi is barely tolerating the fact that she might be a Speaker without having to share her body with other souls. Then she learns that she and Alden have been reincarnated generation after generation and always emerge again with all their memories in tact in order to continue the job easily, but Lenzi's memories are gone and the IC (strange, controlling, government-like board that oversees Protectors and Speakers) claims to have no knowledge of such a thing. But their generational history isn't the only thing Alden has kept from Lenzi. Will she learn the truth before its too late?
So, I really enjoyed the whole Speaker/Protector aspect of this book. I had a few icky moments involved in the soul sharing thing (not a pleasant experience for the Speaker as the new soul enters and exits), but I got over it. But there were a few things I wasn't overly fond of. First, the IC was mostly a horrible, relentless, heartless group that controlled the Speakers and Protectors with little concern for the fact that they were actual people. That bugged me. Then there was Lenzi's dad. It seemed like his hearing voices was going to be a huge part of the story at first, tied to her own voices, but then the resolution went something like: "Nevermind. He was just crazy. But you aren't Lenzi, so forget about mental illness and your father." It was so important one moment then disgracefully ignored the next! I think if you are going to introduce an important element like that, you have to at least give it a solid resolution.
As for characters, I liked Lenzi, but Alden seemed a little wishy washy for me. He was so concerned with Protecting Lenzi, he wouldn't even think of doing anything the IC wouldn't approve of. He was a real "by the books" kind of guy. She was clearly expressing an interest in him that was beyond just business, but he wouldn't hear of it. I think showing a little more interest and desire on his part would have invested my interest in the two of them as an item. But still, I did like them together. And this is yet another novel where you will most likely love the supporting characters more than the main characters. Why can't we have leading characters who are funny, snarky, witty, and harmless pranksters? Why do the main characters pull the broody weight while the supporting characters get to have all the fun? All in all, this is an interesting book that has a new take on souls moving on and the help they need. Not the best, but more than mediocre. I enjoyed it, but there could have been more!