Tropes aren’t always a bad thing. They sometimes still serve as fun devices, or get reworked in a way that either makes a case for them or transforms into something refreshing. A number of those tropes aren’t bad to start with, which is why they get used so much. Then there are others. The ones that remind us why we accuse things of relying on them to begin with.
Unfortunately, Lauren Bird Horowitz’s Shattered Blue employs the latter.
Horowitz is in no way a bad writer nor is Shattered Blue a bad story at its core; however, an overuse of damaging tropes and rushed characterization weigh the book down very heavily.
Shattered Blue revolves around Noa, a sixteen year old girl who’s just lost her sister. She’s withdrawn into herself, distanced herself from her friends, and let her grades slip. That is, until the mysterious new student, Callum, enters her life. If you’ve ever read a YA supernatural romance novel, or know what a Twilight is, then you know the chain of events: Callum isn’t what he seems to be and his presence in Noa’s life hurls her into a secret world of magic an danger.
Creating the typical supernatural romance trope would be fine if the most disingenuous one of all weren’t awkwardly crammed into the story: the love triangle. It’s predictable and ineffective, and frankly, sets off a series of revelations that the reader to neither trust or like any of the main cast at all.
It’s a pity because the actual fantasy story at play here is interesting. The fae world as it unfolds promises a complex and complicated future infinitely more enticing than the fickle emotions of three stereotypical young characters. With the fae lore, Horowitz weaves an intriguing structure to their realm, leaving one to wonder why the human world was ever involved in the first place. That fact will likely come later, as Shattered Blue is part of a trilogy, however, unless someone is just starving for another run of the mill girl-torn-between-two-versions-of-the-same-crappy-magical-guy, there may not be reason to return to it unless you’re looking for a beach read.
This review is based off an advanced copy provided by the publisher. Dark Room will be released on September 15th, 2015.