Review: Shattered Dreams

Author: Ellie James
  • Series: Midnight Dragonfly #1
  • Published: December 6, 2011
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
  • Reading Level: Unlisted
  • Pages: 352 pages
  • Source: Won
Sixteen-year-old Trinity Monsour wants nothing more than to live a normal life. But that isn’t as easy as it seems. Trinity is different. She is special. She sees visions, and for those she’s seen, it’s already too late. 

Trinity arrives on her aunt’s doorstep in New Orleans with virtually no knowledge of her mysterious heritage. She begins settling into life at a new school and even starts making friends. But all too quickly her dreams accelerate; twisted, terrifying visions of a girl locked in a dark room. And when the head cheerleader, Jessica, goes missing, Trinity knows she has no choice but to step forward with what she’s seen.

But people believe that Trinity has information about Jessica’s disappearance not because of a dream, but because she is involved. She is kind-of dating Jessica’s ex-boyfriend, Chase, and Jessica did pull a nasty prank on Trinity. Revenge seems like the likeliest scenario. 

Nothing prepares Trinity for the dark odyssey that ensues while searching for Jessica, including the surprising romance she finds with Chase, or the shocking truths she learns, not just about the girl who has gone missing, but the past that has been hidden from her.

~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

Before I begin, I feel obligated to say that the synopsis above, taken from Goodreads, is totally misguiding. I thought that I was getting a paranormal romance novel, but the entire thing seemed more like a murder mystery to me. A murder mystery that a girl with paranormal psychic-like powers played a huge part in, but the murder mystery dominated every else. While Trinity's powers were important to the plot, we barely got a back-story to them. There was a decent bit of paranormal occurrences in the story, but there was no explanation behind them. It was odd. But I'd also like to point out that I now have my first ever signed book, which I think is totally cool!

The story begins with Trinity, the new girl in town, playing truth-or-dare in a haunted house in New Orleans. Soon, she finds out that it was a trap, a trick played by evil head cheerleader Jessica and her cohort, Amber. Not long after, Jessica disappears. While her romance with Jessica's ex, Chase, heats up, Amber gets the rumors flying about Trinity and her supposed role in Jessica's disappearance. Jessica did play a mean trick on her, after all, and she was now semi-dating her boyfriend. Isn't it an obvious choice that Trinity played a role in the disappearance? Time begins ticking as more and more people turn their back on Trinity and she works to uncover the mystery surrounding Jessica's disappearance before it's too late.

The plot in this book was decent. It had so much potential to be absolutely amazing. Trinity was a psychic! She could see when people were in danger. If only she shared her gift and joined forces with the police or something. They'd be unstoppable. But instead, she attributes everything supernatural in her life to "dreams" and makes herself seem insane to everyone. Still, the journey her visions took us on was great. Despite all the flaws in the novel--I'll elaborate on them momentarily--I couldn't put the book down and had to see what happened to Jessica and who her abductor was. I had to read to the very last page.

The plot had so many oddities in it. For one, Trinity just accepted the fact that her parents died when she was two. She'd ask questions, and when people would not give her an answer, she'd look the other way. I don't know about you, but that seems strange to me. If I were her, I'd be digging on the Internet until my fingers bled, trying to find the source of their deaths and learn about them. I'd be curious as to why my parents were so quiet in their mourning and barely wanted to allow me, their child, to know of them since they died before I could remember their faces. She just turns her back on something that once meant so much to her like it was nothing. It confused me. 

The writing in this novel is choppy. Be warned that if you pick up this novel, you are not reading something that will blow you away. The scenes seemed disjointed. There was no rhyme or reason to some of the things happening, and there were too many side path's that we were led down that were not important to the plot at all. Visions were hard to set apart from reality at some points, too.

The characterization in this novel wasn't the best either. I liked Trinity at times and I didn't at other times. She was so worried about what others thought and constantly had drama in her own head. Since we're reading in her voice, you can imagine that there was a lot of unnecessary drama. Normally, I'd go into deep thought about all the main characters, but I just can't with this novel. Most of the characters were bi-polar. They'd flip like a switch. Sometimes, James attributed this to alcohol. Still, I wouldn't bend over and tackle a girl if I was a star football player just because I was slightly buzzed and ticked off at my girlfriend who happens to be best friends with the girl who I just tackled to the ground. Ugh, don't get me started on this, guys.

I had big problems with Amber, too. She was psychotic, literally. I know it's hard to lose your best friend, but you should mourn her loss instead of spend all of your time spreading false rumors about a girl whose trying to save your best friend. Not to mention the fact that you went out of your way to plant some evidence. I just want to sit here and cough under my breath while declaring her to be a nutcase.

The biggest problem with characterization would be the man who abducted Jessica. You know he's creepy, you know he's got to have some sort of power if he's escaping the cops views and only getting the attention of Trinity, but that's about it. All too quickly does the final showdown ensue. You barely know what he looks like, let alone his name, his background, why he is the way he is and what caused him to abduct Jessica. You know next to nothing about him. He's such a huge part of this novel because he's the one who caused such horrible things to happen, yet his characterization is practically non-existent.

On a positive note, I loved Trinity's Aunt and can't wait to read more about her. If only the two of them teamed up or something. They'd be the dream team, balancing each other out perfectly. 

Now, to the romance. I love romance, but I felt like this romance was there for the sake of trying to grab the attention of romance readers, like myself. It was not well thought-out and Trinity spent so much of the story with Chase, doing nothing relating to the mystery. Did I mention he's hot? Well, Trinity did practically every single page. That amazing body, the hidden tattoo's, those blue eyes and dimples, ahhh... so hot! Her thoughts regarding him were so repetitive. Another thing that bugged me is that the romance was just there. It's obvious that Trinity likes Chase for his looks. Chase broke up with the hottest girl in school and has been trying to get with Trinity ever since. There's no back-story to the two of them besides that they're lab partners. It just happens. They take you on no journey! And James' attempts to make Chase seem like a deep character worked sometimes, but just backfired most of the time. They took away too much from the overall murder mystery. Trinity spent half the book running from him or telling him to leave and half of it wishing he'd come back. No matter what she thought, he'd do the opposite. It was frustrating.

And, to add to the whole attempt at bringing romance readers into the story, a love-triangle begins to form. But it happens completely out of nowhere and seems totally unnecessary to the plot. Not to mention that it doesn't start until the reader is about 85%-90% through the book. A little too late, don't you think? I will say this, though. I loved Dylan. His character has more depth to him and he's more intriguing. I want to know what happens between him and Trinity. And that says a lot since we know about Chase since page one and Dylan isn't even there for a solid fourth of the book. And to make me like Dylan even more, he doesn't say "baby" on practically every page of the novel. He's so much less annoying.

So, here's the big question: Will I be reading the sequel? The answer to that question is yes, even though I am in no rush to do so. Why, you may ask, do I plan on reading a sequel to a book that I politely criticized so greatly in this post? It held me captive somehow. Despite all my qualms, I could not put it down because Jessica's story pulls you in the second she disappears. All of the useless side-stories are somewhat bearable, but you keep reading to find out what happens to Jessica. Is she alive or dead? Does Trinity find her in time? Does Trinity find her at all? And most importantly, who is the abductor? But, I am also choosing to read the next book for Dylan. He was introduced so late in this novel and I so greatly want to see what happens with him since I prefer him over Trinity's boyfriend, Chase. I want to see the love triangle ensue and I want to cross my fingers and pray that he comes out victorious.

I am giving this book 2 stars. It has a lot of character development problems and plot holes that need to be fixed. If they are, the novel would have been so much better. Its plot had such promise, but the fact that it can still capture your attention, even with all its flaws, proves to be a vital aspect to any story, which is why I will continue this series whenever I'm in the mood to do so. The sequel, linked below, has a much better response than the prequel. Logic says this is because James figured out her flaws and began to fix them up and improve her skill as a writer when releasing her second novel. We'll see how this works out.

This is a good book to read if you're bored and want something unique. It seems to have a little bit of everything somehow. It has mystery, murder, romance, and paranormal all thrown together to create the novel that is Shattered Dreams.

Not a fan of this cover, at all. I didn't let that stop me from gaining this book in a contest, though. See, I chose this book out of my own free will from a list of about 5 other books, 3 of which were adult, so I just grabbed the two young adult ones. This cover is not at all eye-catching. It looks like something for a middle-grade novel. I understand the importance of the dragonfly after reading the book, the whole connection to her deceased mother is powerful, but the cover just doesn't do anything for me. It could be so much better...

2 stars



  1. Replies
    1. They're the worst! They really kill you.

  2. I was really wanting to read this book, but it seems so many people have been disappointed in it, so I think I am going to put it off for a bit. Sorry you didn't enjoy it very much, but great honest review!

  3. I hate that you didn't like this one. I actually loved it. I don't know what it was about it, but I enjoyed myself while reading it. I am curious to see how the story continues in Broken Illusions. Thanks for your review!