Shattered Souls - Mary Lindsey

The short version:
A bit draggy and boring during the first half, but quite captivating, when the action and the romance started to run warm.

The long version:
Lenzi Rose had a schizophrenic father, whose condition unraveled her mom, thus Lenzi does not dare to confide in her that she is hearing voices trying to enlist her "help" (like Isobel in Unraveling Isobel). Instead she talks to the only person still by her side after her father took his life (do people let their friends drop because of mentally ill perents? Well.), her boyfriend Zac, who had a difficult and neglected childhood himself and is now on the verge of becoming an alcoholic. Zac persuades Lenzi to medicate herself with her mother's presciption Xanax, which reduces the voices to static buzz.

On the eve of Lenzi's seventeenth birthday, which she decides to spend visiting her father's grave, Zac passes out on the graveyard and misses the moment, when Lenzi instant-attracts with Alden Thomas, a boy who insists on knowing Linzi from uncountable former lives, on being able to teach her how to deal with the voices, shortly on being the protector-half of their ghost-busting/ghost-helping team. Although Alden is self-confident and not shy with physical contact, knows - opposed to her - exactly what to do and is capable of a lot of marvelous tricks, he is by the rules of their profession the inferior one who has to obey and to follow, which - along with his infatuation - reminded me a lot of the peculiar relationship between the hero and the heroine in Angelfire. Another thing those two books have in common is the long introduction of the lore and the fighting methods and tasks that go with it cut into two or three heavy chunks to be swallowed by the reader ... pardon by the reincarnated and clueless heroine. Although the heroine lusts after her protector in between and starts to lay the foundation for the formula-completing love-triangle, I contemplated giving up during that part of the plot, because I was bored.

There were some flashbacks to the nineteenth and eighteenth century and the fact that the whole help-good-ghosts-pass-over and excorcise-and-banish-gone-bad-ghosts business was organised by a secret institution with contacts in high administrative places, which reminded me repeately fleetingly of The Eternal Ones, although I have to say I liked Shattered Souls. Although Alden was cute and hot and loyal, he is no Jesse and - though hundred times more likable and kind than Angelfire's Ellie - Lenzi with her occasional whininess, her undecisiveness and her general bluriness, as definable character traits are concerned, would never hold up against Suze on the latter's worst day.

That impression might also derive from the fact, that the real action (and that got me finally hooked) in this first volume of a series or trilogy starts pretty late in comparison. The plot rather focusses on the - certainly forbidden - romance (including business-wise absolutely necessary, but secret sleep-overs of the boy in the girl's room) and the pressure put on the paranormal couple by their own unwaveringly strict kind: Alden reluctantly reveals to Linzi, who is still coming to terms with her fate, that they have to fulfill a weekly ghost-busting quota ... or else. This reminded me a bit of Jehova's Witnesses' duties ... and not really in a good way. But the ending hinted at the possibility that Linzi seems to have some inner-institution ass kicking in mind for the volumes to come. If I might be persuaded to read one of those is still undecided.

I don't believe 'Shattered Souls' offers anything really special besides the ultra-gorgeous cover, but I would not label reading it a waste of time either. Young adult paranormal romance lovers, go ahead and read it. I've really read worse.