Today's Grateful List/31 December 2015

  • Going to get answers no matter what

Sunday, August 02, 2009

A Couple of Reviews

A couple of reviews; both paranormal, one young adult and one not; both good but for different reasons. 

Ghost Huntress: The Guidance, is the second book in Marley Gibson's series featuring Kendall Moorehead, a sixteen year old girl who is experiencing her psychic "awakening" just as she moves to Georgia with her family. Kendall has assembled a ghost huntress team upon realizing her abilities, and along with new hottie boyfriend Jason, the group seeks to find ghosts and help them cross over to the light. This time out, the focus is on the Civil War era home of teen Stephanie Crawford and her mother as an unsettled Union soldier seizes his moment and possesses the body of hateful cheerleader Courtney Langdon. Kendall and her gang decide that despite Courtney's general skankiness, they can't allow a ghost to run free and wild with her, and they take action, rounding up both local psychic mentor Loreen Woods and the Episcopalian priest, Father Mass, to help them rid Courtney of her unwelcome intruder. 

Of course that's not all that goes on in this volume: Among other things, Kendall's mother forces Kendall to undergo pyschological and physical testing to rule out psychosis as a reason for her "awakening", which is actually a very reasonable yet irritating thing for a mother to do when her child suddenly goes around talking to ghosts. Kendall's not so amused; her reaction is entirely normal for any teenager. Naturally Courtney is around to make Kendall's life a pain by trying to get Jason back and generally doing everythig she can to undermine Kendall's sudden popularity. There is also friction between Kendall and Jason, as well as the ever-present spirit guide Emily trying to help Kendall (and sometimes "over" helping). Lots of action, lots of interaction; mostly believable as far as ghost hunting goes. 

The Guidance is a good story that kept me turning the pages, yet I seem to be getting pickier with the series as I read this one. Kendall's ghost hunting techniques are quite spot on (even though she's really more of a medium) but it is sort of surprising how much she's learned how quickly. There's a little of everything thrown in, including references to auras, herbs, exorcisim, Reiki spiritualism,spirit guides, and tarot cards--almost too much, really. I also have a problem with the stereotypes being reinforced here: cheerleader=bad, Goth girl=troubled/running from something, boyfriend=hot and instantly in love. The idea that a medium in a high school setting would be so very popular is also pretty out there; I'd say most high schoolers would react with disdain if not outright derision for such high profile antics as Kendall provides. Also, the references to current pop culture were distracting, and especially so when specific songs were not only mentioned, but lyrics that will be outdated within another month were quoted. I also have to point out that Southerners, and Georgians in particular, don't ask one another if they want a soda to drink. 

Interruption to regularly scheduled review: It is soooo, soooo annoying to name drop brands. I don't care that Kendall crossed her "Timberlanded foot". Get over it. Interruption over. 

However, all that said, I can endorse The Guidance because it is good fun and the storyline, while at times sappy, did keep me turning those pages. I like Kendall's spunk, and I like Jason's skepticism. I like that Kendall isn't living and breathing just being with her boyfriend, and I like that there is a set-up for future novels. I also like that the author has taken pains to make sure that the religious aspect of ghosts and psychic abilities has been established (going so far as to quote scripture!). So with this in mind, I will round up my initial reaction of 3.5 stars to a solid 4 and hope the next one gives me more action and less name-dropping.

Second up is the second in Patricia Briggs's Mercy Thompson series, Blood Bound:

In Blood Bound, the second book in Patricia Briggs's Moon Called Series, Mercy Thompson is back at work as a mechanic in the garage she owns, and hopefully done dealing with werewolf trouble. Thankfully, that does seem to be the case, unless you count the fact that her former love, Dr. Samuel Cornick, has moved into her trailer since he's decided to move away from his father's pack, and her new possible love, Alpha Wolf Adam Hauptmann, is so intense that it's making Mercy nervous. No, this time it's not the werewolves, it's the vampires; specifically it's Mercy's vampire friend Stefan, who needs Mercy to go on a visit to see a new vamp in town, the catch being that Mercy must go incognito as her walker self, a coyote. Mercy agrees (because really it's a payback) and during the visit, encounters evil so violent that she is shaken and physically harmed in the process. From there, things go downhill; Stefan turns up missing, along with three local werewolf pack members who had agreed to help Stefan find the demon vampire currently terrorizing the town. It comes down to Mercy to track the missing wolves and Stefan and take care of the truly evil vampire conjured in order to take over the local vampire seethe. 

Mercy's one tough cookie, and she's no less hardheaded in this installment. Her interactions with the local fae put her in danger, along with her determined attempts to find the demon vampire Littleton in order to rescue her friends from his decidedly demented plans. Mercy's ability to interact with ghosts also plays a role in this action packed novel, and even though she's not physically as strong as the wolves and vampires, she uses cunning and her religious senses to help her defeat evil. Her willingness to sacrifice herself for her friends is one of her best traits. But she's also got a dark side, and the ending of the novel leaves one with the sense that in Mercy's world, there is no gray area. Right or wrong, Mercy makes up her mind and forges ahead. 

This novel has a lot going for it, including an entirely scary scene where a demon bangs repeatedly on the side of her trailer throughout one very long night. Briggs has a way of pulling you directly into the story so that you have to know what happens next. The fact that Mercy's love life is complicated adds tension to the plot but never does she let it get in the way of getting the job done. Mercy's one smart chick and she's loyal but ruthless when necessary. This one's not for the squeamish. I admit it; I'm hooked!


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