REVIEW: The Dead and Buried by Kim Harrington
Jade loves the house she’s just moved into with her family. She doesn’t even mind being the new girl at the high school: It’s a fresh start, and there’s that one guy with the dreamy blue eyes… . But then things begin happening. Strange, otherworldly things. Jade’s little brother claims to see a glimmering girl in his room. Jade’s jewelry gets moved around, as if by an invisible hand. Kids at school whisper behind her back like they know something she doesn’t.
Soon, Jade must face an impossible fact: that her perfect house is haunted. Haunted by a ghost who’s seeking not just vengeance, but the truth. The ghost of a girl who ruled Jade’s school — until her untimely death last year. It’s up to Jade to put the pieces together before her own life is at stake. As Jade investigates the mystery, she discovers that her new friends in town have more than a few deep, dark secrets. But is one of them a murderer?
I really enjoyed Kim Harrington’s Clarity series, so when I saw that she was publishing a ghost book, I immediately put it on my to-read list. This is another paranormal sub-genre I don’t often delve into, but I do take an interest in ghost stories. I knew that this wasn’t going to be a super serious story about murder and vengeance, and I knew to expect a likeable protagonist and some fairly fun writing. The Dead and Buried pretty much lived up to those expectations.
Overall, it was a pretty straightforward story! It’s cool that, unlike most ghost stories, it didn’t take place in an old house with a ghost that’s been hanging around for years waiting for someone to inconvenience; instead, the ghost is a girl who was murdered not long before Jade and her family moved into the house. You never expect the nice, new house to be haunted!
On the flipside, The Dead and Buried relies on a lot of ghost cliches, like things moving, cold spots, etc., and only ups the ante with possession, which is always an interesting element. While Jade herself is a character that is easy to relate to, everyone around her seems to fit a stereotypical role, especially her high school classmates. You have the popular nice guy jock, the dead girl’s bff who was secretly always jealous, the dead girl’s ex who was a loner, etc. You get the idea. I did like that the ghost was a mean girl extraordinaire. Kayla Sloane was not a nice person, and I’m glad the story didn’t try to redeem her 100%.
The way the mystery behind Kayla’s murder was built up was unique. I really liked how bits and pieces of the past were revealed via entries in Kayla’s journal. Her numbering system was intriguing, even though it quickly became obvious who the numbers corresponded to. It was still an effective way of casting doubt on everyone that had known Kayla.
The Dead and Buried didn’t exactly revolutionize the ghost sub-genre, and it was predictable in its plot execution, but it was an enjoyable read nonetheless. If you’re interested in reading about a vengeful teen ghost and want an easy afternoon read, then check this one out.
RATING: 3 out of 5 stars.
Eleanor and Park hangin’ out.
I wanted to push myself to do something with a more thought out background. And since one my favorite things about E&P are all the details this seemed like a perfect opportunity.
REVIEW: City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster
An exotic treat set in an entirely original, fantastical world brimming with deadly mystery, forbidden romance, and heart-stopping adventure.
Nisha was abandoned at the gates of the City of a Thousand Dolls when she was just a child. Now sixteen, she lives on the grounds of the isolated estate, where orphan girls apprentice as musicians, healers, courtesans, and, if the rumors are true, assassins. Nisha makes her way as Matron’s assistant, her closest companions the mysterious cats that trail her shadow. Only when she begins a forbidden flirtation with the city’s handsome young courier does she let herself imagine a life outside the walls. Until one by one, girls around her start to die.
Before she becomes the next victim, Nisha decides to uncover the secrets that surround the girls’ deaths. But by getting involved, Nisha jeopardizes not only her own future in the City of a Thousand Dolls—but her own life.
This is one of the books I read and wish I could have written. Maybe not the story in particular, but the setting, the world, I’ve had many ideas similar to the world building in this novel so immediately I fell in love with it based on the synopsis alone. I stuck it in my Kindle and forgot about it. Tends to happen to me a lot. Then recently, in the midst of a rant where I was complaining about a reading slump to my roommate, I remembered this book and immediately started to read it. Let it be noted that I stopped talking midsentence in order to start reading this book, but thankfully my roommate is used to such bizarre behavior from me.
Nisha was an interesting character; I believe the author’s principle flaw with her was not developing her background more. There was only one scene where she “gathered information” for the Matron, in the rest of the book she was running around jumping to conclusions and sleeping. Actually, now that I think back on it, Nisha slept a lot… Anyways that’s neither here nor there. It would have been nice to see her interact a little more with other characters, to see her “in action” gathering information, that sort of thing. One of the matrons for the school is creeping her out for the first few chapters of the book and when she finally gets an explanation, she accepts it without question. The only reason for that would be that before the matron started creeping her out, they actually got along, but it is not really explained.
I like the way she deals with romance in this book. Although she is in love and the boy is not necessarily bad, he is a product of the society he was raised in and when she realizes that she accepts it. Nisha is not a stubborn, inflexible protagonist. She’s open-minded. Unfortunately, like I mentioned before, this means she jumps to conclusions a lot. It’s rather heartbreaking to see where her impulse decisions take her at times.
Another pro of this book is its finale. It’s open-ended, meaning that if you want, you can stop reading just there, it’s not a conclusion set in stone but is satisfactory enough that you feel good about not reading more. Or if you want, you can continue reading the series, no problem. This is a very good thing because I believe that a book series should not have to rely on cheap tricks and cliffhangers to get the reader to continue the series. The story and the characters should be good enough to make the reader want to. (Of course, in some cases, leaving the book with a cliffhanger is a good decision, but this is not the case for every single book). This story and its characters make me want to read more. I want to find out what happens to Nisha and her cats after the mess of this book is over. I want to see what happens with everybody she met and what she discovers about herself. In this book she is still growing up and figuring herself out, I want to see what she figures out.
Needless to say, this book is definitely 4 armchairs and I will most certainly continue the series.
RATING: 4 out of 5 stars.
The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare