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Book 7: SHINE, by Jeri Smith-Ready - So Many Books...

Jun. 10th, 2012

08:55 pm - Book 7: SHINE, by Jeri Smith-Ready

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I'm SO not putting the cover here, as it's vile. Actually, I'm not going to say all that much about this book anyway, as it's book 3 of a trilogy, and it's all spoilers for book 1. So the few random thoughts that are all I'm capable of, for the trilogy.

1. This isn't exactly the kind of fantasy that would appeal to the readers who like their fantasy with a good basis that borders on the realistic end of the fantastic. Even in the first book, there was a big old unanswerable question lurking: How did anybody KNOW about the Shift? (For everyone who hasn't read it, all children born after the Shift - some unknown event that happened 16 years before book 1 - can see ghosts, while those who were born before it, cannot. Even those who could see them before the Shift lost the ability.) How did the adults find out all they did about kids being able to see ghosts, and, even more so, how did they discover how to trap and control them?

2. But that said, the Shift caused a really interesting change in the power relationships between adults and teens, with the teens having to translate for the adults so they can communicate with ghosts, as for example, in trials. (Nice side-effect of the Shift is the ability of murder victims to testify!)  In book 3 there's a lot of seriously bad stuff going on with the DNP (govt agency to control ghosts) and the big business interests that make fortunes over the control of ghosts, and it leads to the proposal of  a draft for all post-Shifters. A draft as in the erstwhile military draft - all post-Shifters will be forced to register on their 18th birthday and serve in the DNP.  We're not talking light-handedness here, but still, it's unusual and I like the 'what-if' exploration. (And I thought the scene in the high-school with the students standing up for the principal was pretty great.)

3. Ridiculous romance, we get it. And while there's the inevitable YA love-triangle, the fact that one of the guys is ghost Logan does offer interesting possibilities for looking at loss and letting go. I didn't even like Logan at all, but still found Aura's prolonged struggle to be loyal to him while finding a way to help them both move on quite touching. And in book 3, there's a ludicrous young lovers *fated* to be together and being connected in a way no other young lovers are deal - which isn't actually all that ludicrous because it's true in the reality of the book.

4. Bit of a downturn when Aura and Zach come to Ireland, to go to Newgrange where it all began, but it's mostly fairly little stuff, and the actual winter solstice at Newgrange is kind of awesome. It did grate that they kept talking about Irish people speaking 'Gaelic', and was very unlikely that Zachery would have been so easily able to understand said Irish speakers. But I was willing to let the daft Irish [spoiler] group go as this wasn't, as I said, very realist fantasy. Well, mostly willing to let it go.

5. Overall, despite the above-mentioned & other occasional annoyances (Aura makes some really bad choices in book 2 when grieving, and throws a hell of a bratty temper tantrum in book 3), the series was fun and I'm kind of sorry it's over now.


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Date:June 13th, 2012 05:44 pm (UTC)
For everyone who hasn't read it, all children born after the Shift - some unknown event that happened 16 years before book 1 - can see ghosts, while those who were born before it, cannot. Even those who could see them before the Shift lost the ability.

It's interesting to me when this sort of thing is made very clear in a story. I always wonder why it was that the author wanted to make things so sweeping and so clearcut.
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Date:June 13th, 2012 06:58 pm (UTC)
At the risk of stepping into authorial intentionality waters... [proceeds to do so]

I think in this case there were a few things going on. One was that this was supposed to be a very clear-cut everything changes type of event, with huge implications for society. (One of the things I found fascinating was the idea of all adults being totally dependent on under-age teens to translate the ghosts for them.) The first book really concentrates more on the here-and-now of this world, with the protag's boyfriend dying and remaining a ghost she can see. But she's starting to search for answers about what happened, why, and what it means that she's the very first to have been born post-Shift. (Her second/potential boyfriend is the last pre-Shifter.) It's not until the final book that she travels to Newgrange where it all began and finds out what caused the Shift. (I found the exact what pretty silly, actually, but the scene in Newgrange was quite cool.)
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