This is another book I picked because the cover caught my eye. In thumbnail the bad leaf photoshop isn’t so obvious. The synopsis was pretty bare, but I thought the photographing of the unseen was something I hadn’t seen much.
Strangely, the photography completely stops after she takes her first couple of weird photos and shows them around town. It starts the spiral of complications that basically tear apart her life. Pretty much everyone she meets who knows what’s going on is twisted, psychotic, broken or just plain nasty. There’s enough stories going around that it’s pretty hard to know what’s the real story.
Beth has a panic disorder ( she thinks ), and there’s some interesting discussion about how it affects her life, but she’s mostly unable to deal with it. Strangely, medication appears to not even be a consideration for her, and she deals with it ( successfully or not ) with meditation and rubber band techniques, which I would expect to be recommended. However the disorder is magically fixed once she knows about the emanations because they were her subconscious reaction to what she could sense. It made her a less interesting character for me when the major factor affecting her pre-paranormal life was removed. It’s not like she doesn’t have a lot to panic about after she finds out after all. Not that she turns super strong and stable – she breaks into tears and is generally aware of her own helplessness – but she barely thinks about the attacks or worries that they could come back.
None of the secondary characters in this book really grabbed my attention, I think partly because it’s hard to know what they’re really like. A lot of the characters are inconsistent – they’re described as acting one way, but Beth’s personal experience is different. I think this is intentional, as it really highlights the fact that no one really knows what’s going on, what anyone’s intentions are and who is on who’s side.
There are also breaks where Beth describes things from the viewpoint of another character, a large spirit? beast named Ghosteater. It’s a bit odd because even when she meets in him the book she doesn’t really communicate much. I’m assuming as the series continues she’ll communicate more.
The book is very oddly paced and plotted. In the early parts there is some of the regular build up but the most climatic scene – where she uses her powers to see through the worlds at a fire – is really the half way point. After that, it’s a flight/kidnapping to her new master, various days of training with various degrees of success, her getting sent to an alternate dimension and rescued, and then her first trainer – still not sure if he’s a good guy or a bad guy – escaping, with a final showdown where her overlord? proves that he can turn her own and control her with sex. And Ghosteater leaves for some other realm.
It feels like cliffhanger elements with all the questions added – power struggles and escapees where did so and so end up – but without a build up / release before it feels more like the story just trailed off unfinished.
There’s potential here, but this is just not as polished as I’d like to see.
Re-read – not going to be a favorite re-read for me.
Buy more from this author – I may try the next book in the series, but if the plotting/pacing doesn’t improve that’ll likely be it.
Final Verdict – Okay book
Recommended – If you enjoy ambiguity and a variety of forces working with/against each other, you may enjoy this. Nothing comes to mind as similar book at the moment
Would like to see more of – Really want the plotting and pacing to be improved. There’s just too many open threads left and the ending just tapered out.
Author Website: http://the-active-voice.com/beccas-books/