Shattered Blue

Shattered Blue

Shattered Blue was written by Lauren Bird Horowitz and first published in 2015. It is a paranormal romance novel which focuses on a teenage girl who finds herself inexplicably drawn to a handsome newcomer at her school. The novel forms the first part of The Light Trilogy, though at the time of writing no further instalments have been announced. Please also note that this review is based on an advanced copy that I received from Netgalley and so there may be some differences between it and the published work.

Noa is about to start a new school year but this time will be doing so alone. She is still recovering from the tragic death of her twin sister, Isla, and is trying her best to remain strong for the sake of her family. Although she initially struggles to get by, things change when she sets eyes on Callum. Beautiful and mysterious, she falls for him at first sight. Trouble is that Callum seems to want to have nothing to do with her.

Yet Noa perseveres and soon manages to snag a first date with Callum. During the date, she can’t help but notice his strange behaviour. He goes out of his way to avoid touching her and is very reluctant to discuss his family. However, when Noa witnesses his ability to heal with a touch, she quickly finds out why. Callum is a fae who has been banished from his home world.

It’s not long before Noa’s life begins to fall apart. An accident at school almost leads to the death of her two friends. As the accident coincides with the arrival of Judah, Callum’s rebellious younger brother, it seems as though he is the most likely culprit. Yet Judah professes his innocence which can only mean one thing. There must be other fae on Earth, ones that mean harm to Callum and all those who know his secret…

Although I did enjoy this novel far more than I thought I would, my feelings towards it on the whole are rather conflicted. Perhaps I should start by talking about what I enjoyed the most.

The opening of this novel is very strong. It takes a while for the supernatural elements to come into play (beyond the occasional sighting of Isla’s ghost) and so the focus is largely on Noa. For a female protagonist in a paranormal romance novel, I found her very easy to empathise with. While she does eventually succumb to the usual romantic lead tropes, we are first introduced to her as a grieving teenager.

Her early interactions with her friends and family caused me to fall in love with her. She has so much inner strength. Although she views herself as being completely ordinary, she really bends over backwards to make life easier for her family. She gives up her place on campus to be close to them, cares for her little sister because her mother can’t cope alone and even sacrifices something important to her because she knows it will help heal the rift in her family. She’s selfless and caring but still feels human. She still has the capacity to be jealous or resentful. She just overcomes these inclinations because she doesn’t want to put any undue pressure on her depressed mother.

I also loved the world building. Fae paranormal romance novels are a dime a dozen but Horowitz did manage to make her story stand out through her concept of “coloured” fae. Basically, all fae magic corresponds to a colour on the spectrum – blue for elemental, red for psychic, green for emotional and clear for channelling. The fae gained the strength to use their magic from an element called the light. In their home world of Aurora, light was abundant in nature. In our world, this had to be drained through physical contact with humans. Light is what measures a human’s capacity future happiness. To drain too much would leave the victim joyless forever.

I mean, wow! What an original concept. Really, this idea blew me away and did form the backbone of the story. What we learn about Callum’s family and the Civil War in Aurora is also enticing, making me itch to learn more about their world. My only real issue was that it was all largely told through exposition. As all of the action in the story purely takes place in our world, we never see Aurora first hand. At times, the sheer info-dumping felt clumsy and difficult to wade through to get to the meat of the story.

Unfortunately, the book slowly started to lose my interest as it progressed. While the second half of the story is a lot faster paced, it also felt as though it lost a little of its heart. The novel is told entirely in third person but over the first part of the story this is entirely from Noa’s perspective. As the story moved into its second act, more and more character perspectives were added to its narrative. While it wasn’t so bad to utilise the point of view of the three protagonists, it began to lose something when Miles, Olivia, Fabian and Thorn were added to the mix. There were just too many voices, often switching every couple of pages, which gave the story an unnecessary drag.

The story also contained just a few too many paranormal romance tropes for my liking, making it a little generic on the whole. Insta-love and love triangles were just the tip of the iceberg. The novel read as a cross between Vampire Diaries (in the sense that it focused on two brothers, one who is happy to “feed” off humans and one constantly repressing the urge) and Twilight. Callum is a repentant “monster”, full of self-loathing. He claims that the heroine should leave him alone and yet seems to be the one who keeps come back to her. While I know that these tortured snowflakes are very popular, they just pop up far too often in YA literature for my liking.

The other characters in the novel were somewhat varied. Some, like Miles and Olivia, were very well fleshed out. They had personalities of their own and plenty to do within the story. Others, such as Fabian and Pearl, were a little less developed. While they seemed very important to the story, they just didn’t seem to have much to them. We didn’t ever really learn why they were important. Callum claims that no others have been banished so it’s unclear how they came to be on Earth at all. I really hope that this is addressed in a future volume.

Finally, there was the climax. This part of the story just felt too cluttered and confused. So much happened over a short space of time that it became difficult to focus on what was important. A couple of plot twists reared their heads over the last couple of pages and varied in quality quite wildly. While the reveal of the true identity of a certain character was quite brilliant (the clues were there but I didn’t even pick up on them the first time around) other twists were less solid. I won’t say anything more here because I don’t want to spoil the novel but I did feel more than a little disappointed.

The story also ended on a rather abrupt cliffhanger which, as you’re probably aware, is a pet hate of mine. Nothing is really resolved in this book and its many plot threads are left hanging, unresolved. While it did leave a reason to continue the series, it also made the ending feel a little lackluster. The climax was all build up and no real conclusion.

All in all, this may not have been my favourite romance novel but it’s still far from being the worse. The story had its problems but it did contain a sympathetic protagonist and some strong world building. It did leave me curious to see where Horowitz will take the story going forward and I will definitely revisit this in a future review.

Shattered Blue can be purchased as a Paperback and eBook on

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