Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat, she can see ghosts, and she uses her abilities to hunt ghosts with her friends Oliver, Jude, and Ryder. Micheline is the only heir to the Helsing corporation, a business that goes after the different kinds of ghosts and hunts them down before they can kill anyone. When a ghost hunt goes wrong, Micheline and her friends are infected with a soulchain, a ghostly disease that is slowly killing them from the inside. Now Micheline has to go against her father's wishes in order to save herself and her friends before they all die.
The way this book was written was not what I expected. There was a lot of detail and description and while it did show instead of tell the amount of descriptive words really threw me off of the actual plot that was going on. For instance: "I followed Damian out into the anemic, waning night. Spindly trees lined the wide avenue, shedding the gangrenous leaves of fall." (p 62). Read that sentence. Then read it again. Can someone please explain what that actually means? "anemic, waning night." Is it sick? Most of the book was written as if the author had written it, then edited it while going through a thesaurus and changing words to any synonyms she could find.
Another thing that bothered me about this book was the fact that Micheline's father, Leonard, was abusive. He hit her only once during the story, but it is showed that it was not the first time he had hit her. He also destroyed all of her cameras after a failed ghost hunt, locking her up in the bathroom while doing so. He then proceeded to get drunk and passed out, leaving her locked in the bathroom. While I understand that having an abusive parent can act as a plot point, the way it was written made it seem ok that her father hit her. Micheline managed to sneak out of her house and brushed off the incident as if it was nothing, and at the end of the book, she and her father make up as if nothing happened. While I can understand that having an abusive father is part of her character, I do not understand how the author has the two just make up and be all lovey-dovey at the end. Micheline would not have made it up to her father just like that with no second thoughts, he had abused her! And in the end they just go about like it was nothing.
The fact that Courtney Alameda made up her own mythology for this book was impressive and confusing. Every time there's something new coming in Micheline has to explain it and the amount of names for things and different kinds of hunters got me very confused. It was very impressive that she managed to create basically an entire mythology and incorporate it into a book.
The overall concept of the book was good, it was a good plot idea and there were many sections, especially dialogue-heavy sections, that were good. Some serious editing could really help this book and improve it by a hundred times.
I liked the fact that Alameda did not make a love triangle. With Micheline and Ryder having forbidden love and Jude being the one Micheline was supposed to marry there could have easily been a love triangle, but she did not put that in the book and I am grateful, too many YA novels have love triangles.
However, the other characters could have been more fleshed out. Ryder, Jude, and Oliver are her friends, but we never get an explanation for why they are friends, they don't seem to have much in common other than hunting ghosts. Oliver in particular is a very flat character, his entire character revolves around being the smart one that stays out of fights because he's hurt and everything. Jude is the stereotypical tough guy who can't show his feelings so he sleeps with a bunch of girls instead. And Ryder is the run-of-the-mill forbidden love interest, really strong and manly, the one Micheline really connects with and has feelings for, but she can never have him because she is destined to marry Jude instead. Do you see where I'm going with this? It's a pretty stereotypical friend group, the geek, the brooding one, the jock, and the quirky but lovable girl. It's like the Breakfast Club except the Princess and the Basket Case are melded into one character.
I think this book is like a slightly stale piece of plain bread with some raisins in it. It's not all that new of a concept and some of the tropes are overused, but there are some good aspects to it as well. I would rate it a 2.25.