The Shattering Review

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Title: The Shattering
Author: Karen Healey
Publisher: Little, Brown BYR
Publish Date: September 5, 2011
Genre: YA, Mystery
Pages: 305
Source: Publisher

Seventeen-year-old Keri likes to plan for every possibility. She knows what to do if you break an arm, or get caught in an earthquake or fire. But she wasn't prepared for her brother's suicide, and his death has left her shattered with grief. When her childhood friend Janna tells her it was murder, not suicide, Keri wants to believe her. After all, Janna's brother died under similar circumstances years ago, and Janna insists a visiting tourist, Sione, who also lost a brother to apparent suicide that year, has helped her find some answers.

As the three dig deeper, disturbing facts begin to pile up: one boy killed every year; all older brothers; all had spent New Year's Eve in the idyllic town of Summerton. But when their search for the serial killer takes an unexpected turn, suspicion is cast on those they trust the most.

As secrets shatter around them, can they save the next victim? Or will they become victims themselves?
Keri is used to being in control. She knows how to prepare, and she's ready for every twist and turn, but when her brother suddenly dies, she's thrown for a loop. Jake wasn't the type to commit suicide. He would never have simply left her, and she's so convinced of the fact that when a childhood friend suggests the possibility of murder, Keri is on board. So, she's got a goal again. Keri will find out who killed her brother, and while she's at it, she, Janna and Sione might uncover more than they were searching for.

The Shattering is an eerie book, to say the least. There's a darkness in the prose that resonates throughout, growing and expanding with each turning page and twist of the mystery. Karen Healey, author of Guardian of the Dead, has nailed down the suspense-factor, spinning riveting tales that are equal parts harrowing and mind-bending. By developing a fully-fleshed plot, relatable characters and a storyline that doesn't quit, The Shattering grips the reader in a world they can easily become lost and terrified in.

There are parts about The Shattering that I loved, while there were aspects of the book that were a bit puzzling for me, I'll admit. First of all, the author has placed The Shattering in a small New Zealand town, letting the richness of the landscape and environment sing through the pages and make the story that much more tangible. Then, she's placed a cast of characters within her dynamic backdrop and given them personalities, backgrounds and motives that make them accessible to the reader. Keri, for example, was brilliant. She had a quiet, steady strength that, while wavering at times, was powerful and a true presence. Plus, the way The Shattering combined folklore, grief, suicide and coming out was delicate and creative, ensuring that each element and theme played an equal part. That said, I will say that I felt the mystery element often overshadowed some of the others - namely the grief. It seemed as though it was meant to be a driving force, and it got lost sometimes. Furthermore, I felt that there were a few plot hiccups as the pacing slowed, then sped too fast. Like I said though, the strengths and weeknesses did balance.

Overall, The Shattering was another solid and entertaining novel from an established author. I give it a 4 out of 5, and I'd recommend it to those who enjoy YA, especially those who like mysteries and dark stories.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.


  1. This sounds like an imperfect book, but interesting nonetheless. I don't know if I'd like it since I don't enjoy mysteries usually. But I'm intrigued by the New Zealand setting. you know of any YA books set in South Africa?

  2. I have this one from Netgalley. Hope it hasn't expired yet as I really liked Guardian of the Dead by the same author. I've read mixed reviews of this one, but from reading your review it sounds like something I'd like! :)

  3. I, too, have mixed reviews about this one. While it does seem to have its flaws, I'm curious as to what the plot twists and characters entail. I think I'll have to pick this one up.

  4. This one sounds good! The hiccups seem manageable to me, since I love the sound of the story. It's great to hear that the characters were excellent, too! :)

  5. I just met the author and picked this up and I can hardly wait to read it! It sounds awesome. :)

  6. Glad you like this book more than me! For some reason, I could not get into it.

  7. Oooh, this sounds intense and pretty much kind of awesome! I haven't read a book like this in a while, but I used to love them! Makes me miss it! I'm going to have to look into this one!! :D

  8. Nice review! I'm always glad you tell us about the hiccups so we can decide if we can put up with it enough to read the story. I'm beginning to think I like characters more than plot so this one might be a good fit for me. And I love a good mystery!


  9. Totally intriguing! And how cool that it's set in New Zealand (a place that's been on my to-visit list for way too long!!) and the MC sounds fantastic. I'm definitely adding this to the TBR list.

  10. You wouldn't believe, I read your review and thought 'hmm, this sounds quite good, I might pick it up sometime', then the very next day saw it on sale in my bookstore! So I picked it up, based on your review. I'll definitely be starting it soon, thanks for the review :)

  11. Thanks for the great post. Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. , ,


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