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Broken Illusions: A Midnight Dragonfly Novel Paperback – May 8, 2012
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Set in post-Katrina New Orleans, this paranormal thriller and romance continues to follow the story of 16-year-old Trinity Monsour, whose psychic abilities are growing ever stronger. Another girl has gone missing and Trinity finds tangible proof that their families are somehow connected. Detective LaSalle, now dating Trinity's aunt, is eager to learn all he can about the protagonist's abilities and her dreams. Using italics to help guide readers in and out of the psychic realm and keeping them abreast of Trinity's thoughts and experiences, this book reads as much like a film script as a novel. The action and characters would be hard to follow if not for this clever device. However, even with the backstory peppered throughout, this installment in the series cannot stand on its own, as there is still too much catching up to be done. Fans of Shattered Dreams (St. Martin's, 2011) will enjoy the twists and drama and be left wondering where Trinity's abilities and mysterious past will lead her next.-Genevieve Gallagher, Charlottesville High School, VAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
“With this steamy second installment, the Midnight Dragonfly series continues to sizzle. In addition to the thrill factor, an effective balance of quick dialogue and occasional text messages with rich descriptions of the gothic New Orleans setting and Trinity's visions makes for an absorbing read. Fans of paranormal thrillers and romances will find plenty to love in this gripping series.” ―Kirkus Reviews on Broken Illusions
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Though she would prefer to ignore the horrific images, Trinity believes she cannot as she is convinced the only way to cope with them is to learn why she sees them and hopefully that will end them. She begins her quest for knowledge by searching for the lost girl. Those who care about her worry about her; however not her aunt, her BFF, or her boyfriend join her on her mission. Only enigmatic Dylan Fourcade does while Detective LaSalle follows them hoping she leads him to the missing person.
The second Midnight Dragonfly middle school age paranormal thriller (see Shattered Dreams) is a wonderful entry with engaging, surprising but improbable twists. Trinity works on the mystery of her DNA, the missing girl, and the body in the grass while wondering how young love could be as convoluted as she cares for Chase and Dylan.
While I love the world building of this series, it is incredibly convoluted and vague at at times. Despite this being the second book in the series, I am still no closer to understanding the lore behind Trinity’s gift, or behind any of the other “talented” people within the series. There’s just so much that I still don’t know about Trinity’s visions, Dylan, and the murderer, that it’s hard to keep up at times. The constant dreams and visions Trinity suffers from are so vivid, so ever-present that even I can’t distinguish between dream and reality any more when flipping through the pages of this book. I guess I feel that there’s just too many questions left unanswered—too many holes in the story that I desperately want to have filled, and because of that, it’s hard to feel satisfied about this book.
Another problem for me was the romance. In the first book of the series we were introduced to Chase… the popular boy at school that Trinity was crushing on. I liked him in the first book… although I wasn’t fond of how he was introduced. By the time the first line of the book rolled around, Trinity had already met and grown close to Chase… all off camera. I honestly dislike it when stories start the love interest off camera because I feel as if I’ve missed something. It was harder to connect to Chase from the very beginning than I’d anticipated, but by the end of the book I’d managed to get my warm-fuzzy feelings about him inline with what the narrative was telling me, and it was fine. In this book however, the warm-fuzzies flew out the window. He was needlessly jealous and unsupportive of Trinity. It felt like he was pulling away from her all throughout the book, and though Trinity kept running back to him, trying to patch up the shambles of their relationship… I couldn’t help but secretly hope she’d dump the guy and run toward the real hero of the story—Dylan.
I really enjoyed the dynamic between Dylan and Trinity in this story. There’s this underlying current between them that seems to draw them together. Dylan is sweet and caring, and despite his standoffish appearance, it’s clear that he really cares about Trinity. Every time she needed him, he was there (which is more than I can say for Chase). I was desperately routing for him throughout the story, and secretly wincing every time Trinity ran back to Chase. There’s so much tension and longing between Trinity and Dylan that it’s hard to do anything other than support them. I won’t give away spoilers, but I’ll admit, despite a tragic happenstance in the later half of the story, I was gleeful at the ending. I’m a terrible person.
Overall, I really enjoyed the story, despite how much the story actually hurt my brain at times. It was so busy and tension filled that I couldn’t peel my eyes away from the pages. Would I read this story again? Yes. Would I recommend it? Yes. I can’t wait to move on to the third book in the series. If you enjoy YA fiction that is heavy on paranormal and mystery… You’ll probably really enjoy this series. Give it a try.
First a few words about the Midnight Dragonfly series in general:
In Trinity, Ellie James has created a female protagonist who is unlike most of the young adult paranormal / supernatural / dystopian protagonists written today. She is neither whiny nor self-absorbed. I found her to be a little soft and too faint-prone in the first novel but now that she has a grip on her ability and has come into her own, there's none of the typical "oh why is this happening to me" nonsense that can span multiple installments. I think it is also worth mentioning that between the first and second novels, I have read at least twenty other YA books from Armentrout, Bartol, Stiefvater and the like. Unlike those authors' series, where I had to go back and refresh my memory of who's who before diving into the next in a series, I remembered everyone in James' series. That speaks to how well she has created the characters and their world in New Orleans.
Now onto the book itself: the reader is thrown right back into Trinity's world just a few months following Shattered Dreams' conclusion. Like, literally, it just grips you from the first page and does not let up until the end. More visions, more cryptic dreams and messages plague her as we follow her along in her journey to make sense of it all. I hate spoilers so I won't spill any here, but I can say that I honestly didn't see the ending coming. At all. The ending itself should earn it five stars. What stops me from giving the entire book five stars is the relationship between her and Chase, her husky footballer boyfriend. The relationship lost its appeal for me (and that gives nothing away, as the author describes the same in the synopsis). Honestly I wanted it to end at the beginning but then, I was rooting for the other boy as soon as he stepped onto the pages of SD. A couple of new characters were throw-aways who really didn't move the plot forward but their presence didn't affect my overall feelings about the book. The book's pace clips along nicely and kept me turning and turning to see what happens next. I read it in one sitting.
Ellie James has done herself proud with Broken Illusions. I can't wait for the next installment to see how Trinity moves forward from the shattered dream that came at the end.