Author: Alyson Noël
Warnings: Spoilers (and I spill the ending).
Friday once again. This week I’m reviewing a new book called Shimmer by Alyson Noël. It’s the sequel to Radiance. The book starts off with Riley, Buttercup, and Bodhi on vacation at St. John Island when Riley comes across this ferocious dead dog that she refers to as “Hell Beast.” Riley wants to cross him over, but Bodhi tells her that unless the Council assigns the job, it’s none of their business. Riley ignores him and follows the dog.
Riley follows the Hell Beast to this shimmer, which is really just a peach-coloured ball of energy, which transforms into Riley, except for the clothes. After Riley’s a little freaked out, the Riley-replica transforms herself into her usual appearance: A thirteen-year-old girl named Rebecca. Once she learns Riley’s name, she asks, in an innocent-voice, if that’s a boy name. She transforms her shimmer into Riley’s kindergarten classroom, where everyone, including her teacher, thought Riley was a boy.
Rebecca kidnaps Bodhi and Buttercup, and Riley has to recuse them. She meets a ghost named Prince Kanta, who agrees to help her rescue her friends. Besides Buttercup and Bodhi, Rebecca—who was killed during a slave revolt in 1733— Riley has to also rescue all the slaves who died along with her. Rebecca, angry about being murdered, is keeping all those other souls with her, trapped in their worst memories. Rebecca seems to have a talent for finding a ghost’s worst memory.
In the end, Riley frees her friends, and Bodhi helps her free all the other slaves, which makes Rebecca really angry. Her dog sprints across the bridge to the afterlife, and finally, after a lot of coaxing, Rebecca walks across the bridge to the Here & Now.
I really liked this sequel. The relationship between Bodhi and Riley is complicated. First of all, he’s her guide, and Riley’s an independent person, even though half the time she’s making up the rules as she goes along. But one minute Riley and Bodhi might be joking around like old friends, and the next minute they’re furious with each other. Personally, I believe Bodhi likes Riley, and just won’t admit it—to himself or to her.
I also like how Riley doesn’t seem to care about how everything is “supposed to work out.” Bodhi specifically told her that if the Council doesn’t assign a job, she’s gotta stay out of it, but if Riley doesn’t think a rule is “right,” she just ignores it. I like that. One of Riley’s major flaws is that she just jumps into situations, thinking she knows more than she does, and she’s usually wrong. The part I like is that Riley recognises this as an imperfection, though she makes no effort to change. She doesn’t see the need to change for anyone.
All in all, this was a very good book. I liked it better than Radiance. I’d rate this book five stars out of five.