Quite independently of each other, Christine and I recently read Glimmer by Phoebe Kitanidis. When we discovered that we’d both read and both liked it we thought we’d review together. This, good people, is that review.
Caitlin: This is the second of three “idyllic town on surface, crazy evil magic below,” books I’ve read recently. Maybe it’s a new trend?
Christine: Hmm… if it is, it’s a good trend. This is the first book like this I’ve read recently. I had no idea what was going on and was utterly enthralled from the beginning to learn what had happened to Marshall and Elyse, who they were and why the town was so strange, yet no one noticed the strangeness. It actually reminded me of Pleasantville, at the beginning, when everyone’s too perfect and there’s no way any of it could be real. Like something from the Twilight Zone.
Caitlin: I admit, at first, everyone seemed normal, except for Marshall and Elyse. Like, I knew everyone was supposed to be perfectly happy because the book blurb said so, but it wasn’t until we actually noticed people forgetting bad things that I saw it in the book. Which I thought was well done because as a tourist in the book, you wouldn’t immediately notice that these people had no bad memories. They weren’t like Stepford Wives, they were just regular people. And as I saw that no one was ever allowed to keep bad memories, I started to worry even more for Marshall and Elyse. Because they couldn’t remember anything.
Christine: Yes. There were some crazy things happening in this book. I feared for Elyse and Marshall, one because they didn’t remember anything, and two because they obviously didn’t fit in with the town or the people. They knew something was going on, but no one chose to admit anything strange was happening.
I think the best part, for me, was Elyse. She was very no-nonsense, right from the beginning, and didn’t like to be told what to do. When she sees herself for the first time in a mirror, her reaction made me laugh. I have a feeling if I woke up with amnesia one day and saw myself for the first time, the idea I’d have of myself would be completely different from my outward appearance. I like to think I’m tougher than I look, when in fact, I look like the poster child for niceness. It’s disappointing sometimes because people don’t respond the way I want them to when I threaten them. They think I’m kidding most of the time. So, I think Elyse and I would have been able to bond over that.
Caitlin: I really liked how all the parts of the mystery came together. I remember thinking, okay we have to deal with memory loss, stepford-wife-syndrome, ghosts, and an academy of magic users? But it all came together in the end and made sense. Especially the ghosts. When we first saw ghosts I remember thinking, “Okay, that’s just one thing too much in this book.” But they totally fit and were there for a reason and it was really well done.
And, very surprising for me, I liked that the book was told from his and hers points of view. We got very little overlap and all the information was needed. It was well done and not annoying at all. And I think it was important to the plot that we see both of their panic at not knowing who they are and both journeys as they discovered who they were and who they wanted to be.
Christine: That is surprising. I figured you wouldn’t like it since it had opposing POVs, but it was important to the story to be told in both their voices. And everything does come together in the end. Can I just say, “Yay for standalones”? I love getting answers and a conclusion in one book. There’s no waiting! We even get to see a little of the aftermath.
This book is like the culmination of some of my favorite TV shows and movies. It’s sci-fi-ish, fantasy, and overall, a total mind trip. I love it when I can’t figure out what’s going on before the ending. I can’t wait to see what Phoebe comes out with next.
Caitlin: Yay for standalones, indeed.
We thought to end the review here as anything else we wanted to talk about would spoil things on an epic level.