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A Darkly Sinister Read: Glimmer by Phoebe Kitanidis

Tuesday, April 3, 2012
by Phoebe Kitanidis

4 stars: Recommended
Format: Hardback
Publication: April 17, 2012
Pages: 352
Author: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Buy it: Amazon (Hardcopy) | KindleB&N | Book Depository

What if you forgot your identity and had to rely on other people to tell you who you were?

And what if to discover your true self, you first had to unravel a mystery so big and terrifying you were not sure you’d survive solving it?

When Marshall and Elyse wake up in each other’s arms with zero memory of how they got there or who they are, it’s the start of a long journey through their separate pasts and shared future.

Terrified by their amnesia, the two make a pact to work together to find the answers that could jog their missing memories. As they piece together clues, they discover they’re in the idyllic mountain resort town of Summer Falls, where everyone seems mysteriously happy, but as Marshall and Elyse quickly learn, darkness lurks beneath the town’s perfect facade. Not only is the town haunted by sinister ghosts, but none of its living inhabitants retain bad memories of anything—not the death of Marshall’s mom, not the hidden shame in Elyse’s family, not even the day-to-day anguish of high school.

Lonely in this world of happy zombies, Marsh and Elyse fall into an intense relationship...but the secrets they uncover could be the death of this growing love—and the death of everyone, and everything, they love in Summer Falls

Happy zombies is an accurate description of the townspeople. Nobody remembers unpleasant incidents, and the townspeople have memory gaps as a result. Elyse wakes up next to a stranger with no memories of who she is; Marshall has no memories either. The style of writing takes the reader straight into the minds of the two characters (the story alternates between Elyse and Marshall's perspectives). I was right there with the character as they explored the town and tried to figure out their identities and why the townspeople are so bizarre.

Elyse is an honest, good-natured person who wants to be stronger to protect herself and those she cares about. Marshall is the hero-type who tries to do everything by himself and wants to save the world. Initially, the two personalities will clash, as Marshall takes charge of the situation and Elyse protests, wanting the two to work as equal members of a team. Their relationship takes interesting turns with the two of them learning more about themselves before their memory loss and who they want to be in the present.

The setting is well crafted. Summer Falls is a dreamy place. The unnatural warmth of the town and its promise of a trouble-free vacation makes it a tourist attraction. However, shadows and black magic lurk underneath its happy ambiance, and Elyse's ability to see the ghosts haunting the town adds a touch of horror to the mystery behind the town. Each time I put down Glimmer, I found myself looking around me to see if a ghost wasn't reaching for me. I was that drawn into the novel.

Glimmer is an original, horrific paranormal work that explores characters placed in a stagnant town with both the living and dead bound together under a malevolent power. The plot takes time to develop as Elyse and Marshall are as clueless as the reader in the beginning, but once they figure out the situation, the story takes off. If you are looking for a refreshing paranormal read with sinister elements woven into it, this is the book for you.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher. No payment was received in return for a review. The receipt of the book had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review.
3 comments on "A Darkly Sinister Read: Glimmer by Phoebe Kitanidis"
  1. This one sounds great - I love the twist she's given to the small town and that the heroine's so likeable:)

    Very unique, thanks for the review!

  2. Great review! Elyse sounds like a fantastic heroine, and from what you've written, it sounds like there are some unique (if slightly horrific) elements in the book that sets it apart. I'll be keeping an eye on this once it gets released. Thanks!

  3. Glimmer by Phoebe Kitanidis was a strange book, and I mean that in a good way. I love magical realism, but hardly ever read it because I don't think a lot of people know how to write it, and it's also an emerging genre. Think Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma, a fantastically written magical realism.


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