*I received a free ecopy of this book via YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.*
There were some things I liked about this book, but mostly I found it frustrating.
Number one, I don’t feel like I got a complete story. Even though it was not made apparent at the time when I read this that it was the first in a series, I like series and would’ve been fine with that. I’m well aware that series leave threads hanging. But this ended in a really awkward spot with nothing actually resolved. There was kind of a climax, but not one that answered or truly resolved anything. *SPOILER ALERT* Just in case anyone is thinking, “The thing with Matt had a resolution,” yeah, it did, but Matt told Michael himself that more demons would be after him, so the problem of being hunted by demons is still unresolved, regardless of what particular demon is doing the hunting. *END SPOILER* But I also can be ok with that in certain circumstances, except…
Number two, this story took too long to get started. The blurb talks all about Michael falling in love with Sarah and being hunted by demons… except he doesn’t meet her until 40% in, and he doesn’t find out about the demons until even later. Before that (no spoilers), all that happens is that Michael becomes a ghost, hangs around his grieving loved ones, meets another ghost named Tom, and learns a few ghost-y tricks. As it was, I wasn’t bored, but I was just kind of waiting for something to happen. So everything before the 40% mark could’ve been condensed, and the story could’ve continued to a more natural ending without making the book any longer than it is now.
Three, I had a couple issues with the writing. There were a whole bunch of POVs in the beginning, none of which contributed anything (except Michael’s), but thankfully that stopped quickly and it was just Michael’s POV for the rest of the book. There were also way too many emphasized words. Sometimes it seemed like there was one, maybe even two, in every sentence. Not the worst offense, but one that really grated on me by the end.
The last issue I had is one I’m torn about. Michael’s character was well-written and seemed realistic for an 18-year-old boy, and I think his behaviors were purposefully written the way they were because of how other characters reacted, but he still frustrated me. He was stubborn, reckless, and narrow-minded, he didn’t listen or follow the ghost rules, and he felt entitled, like he should get to know everything. I don’t mean to say he had no good qualities though—he also cared a lot about his family, was respectful toward his girlfriends, was driven and curious to learn, and did learn a thing or two about himself. I just mean to say I liked that he was realistic and flawed, but his particular flaws were hard for me to deal with.
Despite all that though, something about this book had me hooked and made me not want to stop reading, especially in the second half. I enjoyed seeing this author’s take on ghosts, the explanation for how they exist, their abilities, etc. And the story, once it got going, was pretty good. It also had me wondering how often ghosts might just be around without me even realizing it, and it’s always fun when books make me wonder those kinds of things.
So overall, my biggest issues were with too many scenes that didn’t seem necessary and an abrupt ending, but the story itself showed promise. If you can forget the blurb and go into this thinking of it as more of the tale of a teenager’s death and how he copes with and becomes accustomed to his afterlife as a ghost, and if you don’t mind an abrupt ending, you may enjoy this more.
Anyone interested in a slow-paced read about a teenage character coping with his death and afterlife as a ghost.
Can Michael get to heaven before the devil gets him first, and if it means leaving Sarah is he sure he still wants to go?
Michael Andrews had everything – a loving family, a great girlfriend and a promising basketball career. That was before the accident that took his life. Now, he’s a ghost, wandering among the living, struggling to understand why he’s stuck. All he wants is to move on.
That is until he meets Sarah, an attractive young girl who died just as tragically as he did. The only trouble is falling in love and binding oneself to another soul is forbidden, for it may keep one or both of the souls bound to earth for longer than they should be.
To make matters worse, there’s also a danger in going too far with Sarah, because the “joining” of two souls in the afterlife is also strictly forbidden and they don’t know what will happen if they do go that far. Each time they touch they can feel the boundaries of their energies slipping perilously into one another.
Things get even more complicated as Michael learns he’s being pursued. Demons are after him because he’s a marked soul, a soul the devil wants very badly for some unknown reason.
So, maybe falling in love in the afterlife isn’t such a good idea.
THE GHOST CHRONICLES by Marlo Berliner is a YA paranormal with romantic elements and adult crossover appeal, perfect for fans of If I Stay and the movie, Ghost. The book was inspired by the legend of a haunting at the Angel of the Sea bed and breakfast in Cape May, NJ.