Customer Reviews: The Shattering
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on August 27, 2011
The Shattering was amazing. At first, from the summary, I thought it'd just be a book about murders (which I love, btw!), but it's so much more. I'm awed at the amount of complexity this book packs together--suicide, murder, bullying, being gay, and magic.

Yeah, you heard that: there's magic included in this book. And it's not like waving wands or anything, but more Wicca magic. White magic and black magic and oh my god, so amazing.

What I really loved about The Shattering is it's told in three points of view: Keri, Janna, and Sione. And it's set in New Zealand. Summerton, specifically, and it's CREEPY once you figure the book out.

I don't know what to say without spoiling the book or gushing about it. I don't have to say everything about it (because I LOVE IT SO MUCH) or just gush (again: I LOVE IT SO MUCH) about it either. So let's go with the characters:

Keri. She's smart, knows what to do, but when her brother kills himself, she doesn't have a plan and this throws her life in chaos.

Janna. Janna, Janna. Janna can sometimes be a bitch, but she's also nice at times. And she's in a band called Vikings to the Left (love that name!)

Sione. Oh, my poor Sione. He's the one who's being bullied most of the time and god, every time it happened, I wanted to kick somebody's ass. He doesn't deserve to be treated like they treated him!

Also, since it's told in three points of view, I must say this: they're distinctive. Keri's POV is told in first person while Sione's and Janna's are in third person. And even if they were all told in one narrative, I think you'd still be able to figure it out. Janna's voice is a bit rougher at times, while Keri's is soft--but she also has a rough edge, and Sione. Sione sounded like a wounded puppy or a turtle stuck in its shell. He was just so wounded that I really do want to give him a hug and kiss him.

And all the issues? They were tackled neatly and not like you were being pounded over the head with a message. This is one book I'm definitely going to have to shove in people's hands at bookstores. So much love! <3

I also believe this is a standalone novel. The ending (not the climax, mind you) takes place a year later, so I do believe it is a standalone novel. High five!
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on March 14, 2016
The Shattering was a pretty good read, considering it was only ONE DOLLAR! I found a hardcover of it at the freaking dollar store, can you believe it? Anyway, it had a very interesting premise with the whole mystery of all these older brothers committing suicide, except maybe it was murder? What?! It was just super intriguing! And there was an unexpected supernatural twist which I very much enjoyed, even though the actual ‘why’ behind all the killings wasn’t all that surprising. I did, however, enjoy learning that I was right about the whole thing, a very rare thing for me seeing as how I like being totally and completely surprised. Everything was tied back to the tourist town with some pretty crazy magic and, well, it did not disappoint.

As for the characters, I liked most of them just fine, which is usually the case with standalone novels. I find that I never fully connect with the characters before the story is over. One character I was not the fan of, though, was Janna. They live in this tourist town and she is one of those girls who dates tourist after tourist, not taking any guy seriously. I felt SO bad for Sione; I honestly do not know what he saw in her. Speaking of Sione, I didn’t really care for the guy, sorry. He was kind of a pushover. Janna’s current crush, Takeshi, though, I liked him much more!

I do want to point out one thing, I was pretty much crying by the end when Keri was thinking about her brother. I kept thinking back to my own brothers, and I just cannot imagine what it must be like losing a sibling like that. It’s so awful! But what sent my tears over the edge (quite literally), was the fact that I was listening to music while reading this, and just when I got to that particular heart wrenching part, Ghost of You by My Chemical Romance came on and I just couldn’t hold them back anymore (A little context for the video: The singer and the guy with the glasses are siblings in real life so just keep that in mind when the tragedy strikes). That song (and its music video!)... the ending of this book... it made for quite a sobfest.

In the end, I really liked the story itself even though the characters were kind of meh. I actually didn’t really care for the triple POV. I did love the magical touch to it, the mystery and suspense of whether another boy would die before they found out what was going on and stop it. And then that plot twist at the end with all the murdered boys and Keri’s brother... whoa! I did not see it coming! It just made things that much more sad *cue tears* Overall, I really enjoyed The Shattering and I recommend it to anyone looking for a good mystery with a bit of magic laced in.
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on October 13, 2011
First Impressions: I was initially interested in this book because of the suicide factor. I haven't read many books that deal with suicide so I thought that this book would be something different for me to read and ponder about. The cover art is also pretty cool, and as you all know, I'm a sucker for books with cool covers.

First 50 Pages: What I found I initially liked about The Shattering is that it is written from three different POV's: Keri, Janna, and Sione. I typically like this sort of thing because it gives each character's perspective on whatever the situation is. Some people may find it annoying, but it didn't bother me and I quite enjoyed it. I also loved the setting of the story. It takes place in New Zealand and it introduced me to a culture I didn't know very much about, actually, I didn't know anything about. For the first couple of chapters, I had to keep looking up cultural terms that were in the book that I didn't understand, but it wasn't that big of a deal. I like to broaden my horizons!

Characters & Plot: I felt like each of the characters were well developed and made to be believable. They felt very real to me, especially Keri. She was the character I could connect with the most and I really enjoyed her part in the story. I didn't always like each of the characters but they were made to have their flaws and not be perfect.

As for the plot, the best way I can describe it would be that it has a touch of magic mixed with a murder mystery. Towards the middle of the book, the plot became highly predictable and that was a bit of a disappointment to me. I really enjoy books where I can't figure out what is going to happen with some twists and some turns. This book just didn't have that and it was a let down. I would have preferred a little more unpredictability. Despite that, I enjoyed the ending of this book and I feel like the author did a good job wrapping everything up well.

Final Thoughts: I think that that book would be suitable for an older teen, since it does deal with some tougher issues. I enjoyed the author's writing style and especially loved the realness of her characters. Like I had said before, the plot is kind of predictable, but the characters and the messages this book brings makes up for that flaw. If you are looking for a book that isn't really paranormal, dystopian, or whatever else is flogging up the YA shelves right now, I'd recommend trying out this book!
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on March 1, 2012
I loved Guardian of the Dead, Karen Healey's literary debut, and was very excited to hear about her second release. While this release isn't as steeped in Maori mythology as the last book, it manages to weave a compelling tale about friendship and family, and things we will do for both.

Keri Pedersen-Doherty, Janna van der Zaag, and Sione Felise are kids who have the same shared tragedy in their past: each of their older brothers committed suicide. However, when Sione discovers a recurring pattern in these and other suicides, he makes a convincing argument to the others that there may be more to this than meets the eye, and together they have to work to uncover a conspiracy in a plot that puts the lives of the protagonists and the future of the town of Summerton, NZ at stake.

Again, unlike GotD, The Shattering isn't a Neil Gaiman-esque deep weaving of native mythology to modern-day storylines, but what it lacks there, it more than makes up with the protagonists. Each chapter of the story bounces between the perspectives of the different protagonists, with Keri receiving the first-person treatment. However, despite each character receiving a third of the screen time, each of them feels as fleshed out as Ellie Spencer did. You get a feel for their camaraderie as it forms, as well as for the others they know and start to know, from inhabitants in the town to tourists passing through.

Quite honestly, though, the best reason to read through this book is for its climax. Getting into the heads of each of these characters, understanding their motivations, and then subsequently reading the payoff to all this build-up is possibly one of the more cathartic moments in literature I've had in a while.

On the Kindle, the formatting is a bit awkward, with accented characters in Maori and Samoan words being replaced by graphics, but it's not illegible. The small icons and graphics used are also somewhat blocky on the Kindle itself but look fine in the iOS applications, at least. None of this mars the experience of reading a terrific story, however.

I've now thoroughly enjoyed both of Ms. Healey's books thus far and am looking forward to a third.
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on September 9, 2011
The Shattering by Karen Healey is a murder mystery with magic. Awesome.

I had the book figured out before reaching the halfway mark and I was tempted to put it down for being predictable, but the characters kept me going. I'm glad I kept on. There came a twist that I wasn't expecting and a revelation that left me, at first, like "oh" and then I realized what it meant and was like "ooooh." And then I felt an emotion of the sad kind. I'm pretty sure my heart broke at the same time as the unnamed character's (unnamed so as not to give spoilers). Otherwise, until that moment, I found the story to have lost its pace. The beginning was awesome, the middle was so-so, and the end was great.

Though I had issues with the story, Healey writes fantastic three-dimensional characters who have faults and redeeming qualities. They're real people; I didn't like them sometimes and I loved them most of the time. I really had fun getting to know Keri, Janna, and Sione.

It's not a book for everyone, but maybe for someone who is looking to read something different and doesn't need an action-packed story. I didn't hate the book, but I didn't love it either.
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VINE VOICEon August 11, 2013
The writing itself is good and the voices of the three different POV characters were distinctive and appropriately teenagery. I really liked Keri and Janna. Keri is smart and strong, and Janna is cool and fun (and not nearly as shallow as she thinks she is). And I thought it was interesting that the author chose to write Keri's chapters in first person but Janna's and Sione's chapters in third person. (You might have noticed that I didn't mention I liked Sione. I wanted to--really I did. But he came off as weak and whiny.)

Description and such was also good. I definitely could picture the characters very well, and some of the setting. Not all, though--I found parts confusing and difficult to discern exactly how/where the action took place. But I thought it was way cool to have the story set in New Zealand!

The concept was very cool and unique. The idea of teen boys being used in a ritual and their murders being covered up as suicides. But the execution fell flat for me. There were so many conclusions drawn by the characters that didn't have any real merit. It was like, oh, that guy showed up and asked how we were, I bet he's in on it! Connections just came too neat and tidy, and while I don't want to reveal spoilers, the villain was found out too early in the story and the "confrontation" was all too easy.

Finally what really bothered me most about the book was the way it muddied everything by trying to tackle too many hot-button issues at once. A paranormal murder mystery that touches on: racism, classism, homosexuality, bullying, suicide, various religious/anti-religious types (Christianity, wicca, and atheism), teen sex...It felt like a stew of after-school specials all rolled up in a Twilight Zone episode. I much prefer books that focus on *one* issue and explore it fully.

All in all, I can't say I loved the book, but it did keep me curious enough to finish it. (I will also warn that this is not a book that will be favored by many conservatives.)
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on June 13, 2014
Now that it's been a while since I read this book, it's kind of fuzzy in my head. That was one of my problems with this book: it was very easily forgotten by me.

I didn't really love this book, but I didn't hate it either. I found it very hard to relate to the characters in the story. They all just seemed... foreign to me.

The storyline was a good, solid storyline, but until the last fifty pages, it seems that there is no action happening. The reason why I gave this book four starts instead of three was because of those last fifty pages. They are intense, action-filled, and wonderful, which makes up for the rest of the novel.

I do like the setting that Karen Healey introduces and describes though. It seems so beautiful and wonderful. It's one more perk to this story.

I'm on the fenceline on this one. Pick it up if it sounds interesting to you, but know that those first hundred or more pages aren't very entertaining and it's hard to keep reading because of that.
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on June 6, 2015
This book wasn't at all what i expected. I thought it was going to be a murder mystery, but it was more than that.
There were plot twists I didn't see coming. I didn't expect there to be ------ in it, but there was, and it made a very interesting aspect to the plot. I would recommend to anyone who loves a good mystery, and you think you know what happends, but you don't.
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on August 13, 2012
Karen Healy impressed me mightily with her YA contemporary fantasy Guardian of the Dead, but ultimately I found the second half uneven in plot and pacing.

The Shattering shows none of these issues. It is a tightly woven story of three, broken friends: Janna who uses boys to make herself feel good but hopes for music to make her famous, Sione who lives in his popular, dead brother's shadow and isn't quite islander enough for other islanders, and Keri, whose abrasive personality and obsessive planning hide fear and loneliness.

These three all have something in common; their brothers committed suicide after spending New Year's Eve at the small, West Coast town of Summerton.

Into the compelling mystery of the brothers' deaths Healy weaves issues of "outsider-ness" for each character. They are all non-mainstream in various ways, including race, sexuality, and religion. Each of them looks for relief from loneliness in various ways, but it isn't until each one uses their "weaknesses" as a weapon do they find a way to stop the darkness that took their brothers.

I gulped this story down almost in one night. From the moment Janna tells Keri "come with me to find out who murdered your brother" until the exciting conclusion, the ever-tightening circle around the villains of this story kept me turning pages. We get each of the main characters' POV, and unlike so many other shared-POV stories I've read recently, I get a saturated sense of each of them. They were all separate and finely drawn.

Finally, the ending isn't easy. There is no happily ever after. And that is what gets this book the fifth star. So few authors deal with the aftermath, and Healey shows us the toil of post-trauma while still giving us hope.


This Book's Snack Rating: Garlic Parmesan Kettle chips for the unable-to-stop-reading flavorful plot on crunchy, satisfying characters.
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on June 10, 2012
I really love Healey's first novel Guardian of the Dead. Since reading The Shattering, I can officially call myself a fan of hers. Like Guardian of the Dead, The Shattering is a murder mystery with folklore and magic mixed in, and they both take place in New Zealand. This time, however, Healey presents us the mystery of supposed suicides rather than an immediately recognizable serial killing.

The Shattering starts off as a seemingly normal story--like with Guardian of the Dead--this time as one about grief and a girl coming to terms with the suicide of a beloved brother. The story is told from the perspectives of these three teenagers who have been brought together through their shared desire to piece together the truth behind their older brothers' deaths... and to ultimately prove that their brothers were murdered.

Then Healey starts introducing elements of the murder mystery, and it becomes quickly apparent that there is more to the story. Healey is a master at plot, and it is definitely a big part of why of I love her writing. Her attention to detail and clever plot twists kept me enthralled with the story and consistently second guessing myself. It wasn't until I reached the end of the novel, that I was one hundred percent sure of the story and how it would end.

The Shattering is a brilliantly crafted novel with a fresh setting (for me--Healey herself is a New Zealander). Those of you have who read and enjoyed Guardian of the Dead should definitely pick up The Shattering. If you haven't and you end up enjoying The Shattering (if you haven't already read it), then you should try picking up Healey's first novel. Just keep in mind that both contain darker themes, more so in The Shattering what with references to suicide, racism, and bullying.
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