paranormal

Book Review: Thy Killer’s Keeper

You’d be forgiven for believing this is an ordinary detective novel. I thought it was throughout most of the book, honestly. But there are some vital and very unique aspects that are definitely science-fiction, even bordering on paranormal.

Detective John Salton is sent to work on a homicide case near Eureka. The case has no clear links to previous cases, but John is certain that it is the work of the same killer of almost a dozen other cases over the past nine years. The only link is the killer’s strange, morbid sense of curiosity – expressed through acts of violence toward the victim after they’re already dead.

At the same time, John is visiting his autistic son at the new care centre in Eureka. He admits to his partner, Ruby, that he believes the death of his wife – perpetrated by his own son – was also somehow caused by this same serial killer. But how is that possible?

This was truly exciting and intriguing throughout, and I was always waiting to see what happened next. Links to the fertility clinic were soon suggested, which added even more intrigue and excitement. It was superbly clever and incredibly unique. I’ve certainly not come across anything like this before.

At the end especially, the sci-fi elements became almost overpowering. It stopped feeling like so much of a deterctive/crime novel and more of a paranormal thriller or something. I personally thought it was a bit too paranormal, too far-fetched almost. But again, it was well thought out and clever. Though some parts were not particularly well explained in my opinion and kind of went over my head, honestly.

There were a fair few typos and spelling mistakes, such as names being spelled differently, which gave the novel a bit of an amateurish feel. I received an ARC though (thanks to Hidden Gems), and so the final publication may not include so many mistakes.

I thoroughly enjoyed the detective side of this novel, but the sci-fi aspects became a bit too overwhelming. 3.5 stars.

 

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Book Review: Ghost Boy

Another young adult novel, following an 11-year-old boy. His name is Ben, and he sees ghosts. Well, spirits, and only a few. Mainly, he sees Abby, a girl of his own age. His mother views his ability as a ‘gift’, but his father thinks he’s crazy. He gets angry when Ben talks about Abby as if she’s real, and tries several methods to rid Ben of his spirits.

Ben goes through a lot in this novel, from his cousin losing his foot, his father sending him to a shrink, being caught graffiti-ing, and being beaten up for standing up to a bully. And more! These things are mostly nothing to do with Abby or Ben’s ability to see the dead, but there are some connections. In one case, Ben actually exorcises a ‘dybbuk‘ from a stranger on a beach.

It is clear that Ben is desperate for his father’s approval. He attempts daring and foolish stunts designed to impress him, and he ends up lying about taking anti-psychotic medication just to please him. His mother often stands up for Ben, but this causes h er to fight with his father. Ben’s sister is rarely mentioned, and does not seem to make any comments on Ben’s ability – if she even knows about it.

A lot of this book felt like it was completely disconnected to the main plot; it felt a bit like a generic YA fiction novel at times. The plot revolving around Abby seemed to disappear for a while, before being re-introduced.

The plot with Abby was actually very interesting. I had my hunches from relatively early on, but it wasn’t overly obvious or predictable. I did find it a bit strange how Ben believed he had a romantic interest in her at one point, and the ‘solution’ she suggests is also a bit strange… But it was unique and innovative, that’s for sure. I’m intrigued to know where Abby got her name from, as it is later revealed that her mother referred to her as Eliza.

Ben’s exorcising ability was not explained or developed upon at all, and there was no other mention of/reference to dybbuks or similar demons. This was a bit of a shame, as that was an interesting aspect.

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Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

As Ben was quite a young protagonist, I do believe I am a bit too old to actually really appreciate this. The writing definitely seemed more suited to a slightly younger audience, but wasn’t overly immature. I’d definitely recommend this for slightly younger readers. I noticed a few mistakes, but only generic typos. 3.5 stars.

Book Review: Raven’s Peak

I recently signed up to OnlineBookClub and requested this book as my first to review on the site. It’s a paranormal thriller, focusing on a “hunter” who tracks down demons. It begins with an epilogue following another character, who we later learn more about. The protagonist is a young man called Haatim, completely ordinary and unaware of the paranormal activity in the world. Strange circumstances send him and Abigail – the hunter – off to Raven’s Peak together.

The beginning was rather interesting; Haatim was hired by a complete stranger to track down a suspected stalker. It soon became clear that this was no ordinary stalker, and the situation was definitely unique. However, the following plot felt a little slow to me, taking a while to really develop. It’s possible that the intended peak was earlier than I felt, but I personally felt like the main story only really started when the pair arrived at Raven’s Peak. This did not happen until much nearer the end. This meant that the “main” sotry only lasted for a few short chapters. There was a section between Haatim’s stalker mission and the arrival in Raven’s Peak that felt painfully slow and, quite honestly, boring.

The characters were okay, but I didn’t connect with them emotionally. Haatim was given an emotional backstory – as was Abigail, in fact – but I just did not feel anything for them. Their speech felt a bit disjointed and artificial, and they just didn’t feel particularly real to me. It would’ve been nice to develop the characters’ relationships more, both with each other and their own families.

Many books in the paranormal/supernatural genre feel very similar, and this book is sadly included. There was nothing about it that particularly stood out to me. Some of the ideas in the book are very interesting, though. I am intrigued as to how Haatim’s father is connected to the Ninth Circle, and I also want to know what happens in Abigail’s quest for saving Arthur. But this book didn’t fill me with anticipation or excitement to read on. In fact, it barely mentioned the Ninth Circle, and without that being the series title, I’d never have picked up on it.

I also noticed a few typos and grammatical errors, which would be the result of insufficient editing. While a few errors are often found in books, this felt quite amateurish and unfinished.

Overall, the book wasn’t particularly special or exciting, and didn’t feel as fluid as it should. It wasn’t bad, but it was not outstanding. 2.5 stars.

Graphic Novel Review: American Vampire Volume #1

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American Vampire Volume #1 by Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque and Stephen King – Paperback, 192 pages – Published November 1st 2011 by Titan Publishing Company (first published October 5th 2010)

I’ve decided to check out more graphic novels at the local library, and have started going through alphabetically. Which is how I found this series, by Stephen King, Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque.

It’s an adult graphic novel, complete with tons of action and obscenities. It’s set back in the 19th and 20th Centuries, in – you guessed it – America. It’s about a new breed of vampires; the American Vampire, stronger and less vulnerable than the original European vampire.

Of course, the two groups are rivals. Best friends fight each other, and one person welcomes death instead of becoming a monster. It’s all very interesting and exciting. The art is great, too – it really portrays the action and danger and monstrosity of the vampires.

But I, personally, got a bit lost and confused with the timeline – there are dates and everything, but I often forget them. And all the different characters got a bit confusing for me, too, but that might be because I didn’t have the time to sit down and really focus on the novel.

I’m still planning on reading the next few volumes of this series. It’s really interesting, and I like this new breed of vampires. As for the young girl born at the end….. I wonder where that will go! 3 stars.

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Book Review: City of Heavenly Fire

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City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments #6) – Paperback, 638 pages – Published February 1st 2015 by Walker

Wow. I cannot believe the series is over.

I started this series thinking it was just another paranormal YA series, which it was in some ways, but I ended up falling in love with it as the series progressed. Now I’m gonna have to go and buy the gorgeous box set and read them a dozen times over.

If you’re not familiar with these books, you can check out my reviews of the first five books (starting with number one). I may actually be re-reviewing these in a while though, as I’ve come to appreciate them a whole lot more now.

So, where to start… The plot? Complicated but great. Action, tons of heartache, and a sprinkle of love. The ending is super sweet, too. Maybe a bit too neat and happy, but I’m a cynic. Honestly, it was nice to see them all find happiness at last.

The characters. Oh, the characters! I love them all. The use of the relationships in the plot is fantastic (and super sad), and the character development is pretty strong, too. The relationship between Clary and Jace becomes more *ahem* intimate, while Magnus and Alec finally get to talk about what happened between them. As for Isabelle and Simon… you’ll have to read it yourself to see what happens to them.

I find that Clare’s writing in these novels has a really distinct, iconic feel. From the first page, I was immersed in the Shadowhunting world, despite it having been a while since I read the previous novel. And although the book is long – over 600 pages – it didn’t feel tedious or boring. It took me a while to read it due to school work, but I did find myself having to force myself to put the book down and go to sleep.

Like I said, I have grown fonder of this series with each passing book. I’m going to start the series over again soon to see if I still feel the same way as before, but for now I’m going to give this finale a 4.5-star rating. Not quite in my favourites, but after a re-read it may be!

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Book Review: City of Lost Souls

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City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments #5) – Paperback, 544 pages – Published September 6th 2012 by Walker Books

I can’t believe I’ve nearly finished this series!

First of all, I would like to complain about the cover. If I hadn’t heard so many great things about this series then I probably would have avoided it, simply because it looks like a typical teen paranormal romance atrocity. The story is actually way more action-based with a sort of hint of romance, but I just don’t think the cover portrays that very accurately.

Moving on to the actual book, it follows on from the last novel where Sebastian is sort of reintroduced. He is a massive character in this, after disappearing – along with Jace. It turns out there’s some sort of bond between them thanks to Lilith, and the only things that can separate them are the weapons of either angels or demons. Which, unsurprisingly, results in some rather reckless acts on the part of Jace’s friends and family, including the summoning of an angel and a demon. Nice.

Alec and Magnus have some pretty serious difficulties in this book, which actually really upset me because they’re currently my favourite couple. There’s also romantic plots following Maia and Jordan and even Izzy and Simon, but nothing major.

In the end, the Institute receives a disturbing gift, Clary stabs Jace, and Magnus kicks Alec out of his apartment. Maureen is seen again, claiming to have killed the woman Alec was out to murder, and Luke’s sister is taken and turned dark by Sebastian. I think that’s everything?

As for the writing, I love it! The books are all quite long, but they don’t feel it when you read them. I don’t understand how the feel so timeless and exciting all the way through!

Of course, this is a YA paranormal novel with typical romance lines and so on, but it is as unique as a book in this category can be. It has a nice mix of surprise, suspense and plain old action, and the diversity of the characters is fantastic. I’m really looking forward to the next novel in the series, yet I don’t want it to be over!

Simply because it is a somewhat generic book (there are just so many angel/demon YA novels these days) I can’t put my rating any higher than 4 stars. But the writing is fab and the plot always interesting, so there really isn’t any true fault.

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Book Review: City of Fallen Angels

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City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments #4) – eBook, 377 pages – Published April 5th 2011 by Walker Books

This series is so exciting! I’m absolutely loving it.

This installment of The Mortal Instruments series follows Simon a lot more, including his difficulties caused by his being a Daylighter vampire. We also get an insight to his love-life which is getting rather complicated…

Clary and Jace are together at last, but his nightmares are keeping them apart. Clary takes him to see the Silent Brothers to find out the cause of these bad dreams, but it turns out to be far worse than they anticipated.

Lilith – a greater demon – features heavily in this book, as well as the head vampire, Camille. Alec and Magnus have their dating difficulties, and Luke and Jocelyn are trying to prepair for their wedding while the Clave is dealing with a demon-worshipping cult and multiple dead Shadowhunters. So yeah, a lot is going on.

I like how we are able to find out more about Simon’s way of life in this book, and the whole issue with Alec being mortal while his boyfriend is immortal is a great, very intriguing addition to the plot. Seriously, I hope they work it out, though. They’re such a great couple.

As for Maia’s ex-boyfriend, who we’ve heard nasty tales about in previous books…

This may be one of my favourite books in the series so far, full of action and emotion and tons of excitement. The descriptions are wonderful, and there always seems to be the perfect amount of dialogue. I’m really falling in love with Cassandra Clare’s writing.

I don’t think I can say this is my favourite series quite yet, mainly because it is yet another typical YA paranormal novel. But this book in particular definitely deserves a strong 4 stars.

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Book Review: City of Glass

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City of Glass by Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments #3) – Paperback, 508 pages – Published 2013 by Walker Books

This is the third of six books in The Mortal Instruments series.

At 500 pages, I was slightly worried about this. The other two books were rather long too, and I had no problem with those, but I still feared that I would tire of this partway through. That was luckily not the case – far from, in fact.

We’re still following Clary and her Shadowhunter friends, trying to take down Valentine before he puts his plan into action while simultaneously trying to revive Clary’s mother from her coma. There’s a situation between both Clary and Simon and Clary and Jace – the latter being really rather awkward – and also a little thing going on between Alec and Magnus.

In this book, Clary finds herself in Alicante, the capital city of Idris, without any given permission. She also finds Simon there, locked up in the Gard. I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say that the whole sibling situation with Valentine’s children is finally cleared up, in such an incredibly believable-yet-unbelievable way. Also, we’re reunited with Hodge and a few members of the Seelie Court. Oh, and Luke’s pack of werewolves, Raphael and the vampires, and we even meet a couple of angels. Nice.

This book contains a lot of past information, details about Valentine and what he did to his children. It brings a lot of clarity, and really makes you think, I understand now. Valentine is getting ever closer to executing his plan fully, and the Shadowhunters have to learn to work with the Downworlders rather than against them. Spies hidden among the Clave are brought to justice, and one very unexpected character is introduced, before being killed off again. I do have my doubts about his death though…

As for Valentine… Well, if you don’t already know, you may as well go and read the book.

Usually I find that I prefer the first books in a series, but so far this is actually my favourite. It isn’t quite an all-time favourite of mine, but I’d be more than happy to reread it. There’s a lot of the typical YA paranormal stuff going on in here, making it not all that unique. That being said, it is really well written and very exciting and action-packed. I am wondering what the next few books are actually going to be about, now that the whole situation with Valentine and the Mortal Instruments has been cleared up…

So yeah, this is a really good book that I would definitely recommend to lovers of YA novels, dystopian and paranormal books. I found myself struggling to put it down, wanting to just read on and on to the end despite the length. I think 4.5 stars is a decent rating for this.

(P.S. I totally didn’t constantly think of Supernatural throughout this, especially not at the references to the Mark of Cain.)

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