Reviewed by: Jo
Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
When sixteen-year-old Rayna was discharged from the Sunflower Serenity Mental Health Clinic four months ago, she set out with a plan: New school, new job and absolutely no angels. And it seems to be working… Until the new guy in her English class has wings only she can see.
Determined not to set foot back in the SS Crazy, Rayna sets out to ignore Cam (and his wings) and carry on as normal. When a student in her art class paints a picture of a dark winged creature then commits suicide, normal no longer seems like an option. Soon other kids are beginning acting strangely, the same winged image keeps appearing, showing up in her dreams as well. As Rayna starts to open up to Cam, she begins to wonder if her delusions are, well, actually delusional or could angels in fact be real? And if angels are real, do they come with something darker behind them, something stalking the students around her?
The first half of the A Shimmer of Angels is a slow build, focusing on Rayna and the struggles she’s faced in the past. Her fear of returning to the mental health clinic is palpable and I found her mental isolation and desperate longing for normality heart breaking at times. When Cam enters the picture the world begins to be unveiled with Rayna questioning him and herself constantly. She’s had it drilled in to her for four years that she has a mental illness and it’s a hard journey for her to see past that. This is especially evident in her relationship with her father and sister. Once she makes this decision though it’s full tilt into the action. She makes some hefty sacrifices along the way and I loved how the tension built.
Alongside Cam we are also introduced to Kade, who brings the bad boy element. Where Cam represents the light, Kade is brooding darkness with a snarky attitude. Straddling the line between heaven and hell he is full of secrets and was second only to Rayna as my favorite character. The secondary characters of Rayna’s friends and family are just as vivid, all getting caught up in the celestial mayhem along with the other students.
There is the whiff of a love triangle here but not in the conventional sense. While it’s clear after a certain point which one has Rayna’s heart I didn’t fully understand her reasoning for choosing the way she does. It is left somewhat open-ended at the conclusion and I’m really interested to see the way these relationships develop in later books.
It took me a while to figure out my feelings after finishing A Shimmer of Angels. It has vivid characters, solid world building and plot that builds to great action scenes. While I didn’t completely agree with the romantic choices, Rayna’s journey in this book touched me quite profoundly, ensuring I’ll be back for more.
Sexual content: Kissing