By Courtney Alameda
Release Date: February 3rd, 2015
Genre: Young Adult
Micheline is a direct descendent of Abraham Van Helsing himself and is one of the most promising students at the Helsing Corp school. Her father, Leonard Helsing, is the current commander and chief of the corporation and Micheline has been training since she was small enough to walk to slay monsters, both corporeal and spiritual. Corporeal monsters, such as zombies and vampires, fall to a well-placed bullet. Spirits, on the other hand, aren’t quite as easy to slay. Luckily for Micheline, she’s a tetrachromat, meaning that she can see the spiritual energy of the undead in the prismatic spectrum. Thanks to the scientists that work for her father, she has a special camera, with quartz lens, that has been made to specially capture ghost energy in film. With her camera in one hand and her gun in the other, she’d a force to be reckoned with.
One night, Micheline and her three friends Ryder, Jude, and Oliver, go into a hospital on an unauthorized mission to exorcise a ghost. What they didn’t anticipate is it being so strong, and that they would end up getting soulchained as a result, meaning that if they didn’t find and exorcise the ghost within a week’s time, they would die. Despite orders from the higher ups for her not to leave the island where Helsing Corp is located, Micheline and her friends take off on a quest to hunt down the ghost and exorcise it before it causes any more casualties – and before time runs out.
All I can say about this book is – wow. I knew from the moment I laid eyes on the cover that it would be one that was automatically added to my TBR list. And, luckily for me, I have friends in high places and was able to get a copy early, before Christmas. And I can truly say that you all have no idea what you’re missing out on, especially if you are a fan of dark, creepy, young adult novels.
While the premise of the novel, being able to catch ghosts on film, isn’t entirely new, Alameda goes one step further, backing up her novel with “scientific reasons” why Micheline’s camera can capture the energy of the ghosts. And, while I’ve seen books and movies with people able to catch a glimpse of a ghost on film, this is the first one I’ve encountered that used film as a media for destroying the entity. I found the quartz field and electrical field of the camera, all the sciency stuff I’m not good at understanding because I majored is social science, a nice touch and added to the authenticity of the story.
The characters were, for the most part, likeable and fun. I especially enjoyed Alameda’s emphasis on making Micheline a character that can think and act for herself. She’s an active character and doesn’t sit around waiting for fate to find her or for other people to help or save her from whatever danger is threatening her. More often, she’s the one risking her neck for everyone else. Ryder, the love interest, is a beauty of an Aussie and is adorable and reliable. I even liked the punk playboy that was Jude and the nerdy bookish type that was Oliver.
Oh, and the side characters with the last name Scully, Mulder, and Skinner? I see what you did there. And I definitely approve. ;)
This book had a decidedly creepy factor that I just adored. It’s grim, violent, and gruesome and I loved every bit of the descriptions involving the necrotic zombies and people being torn apart. Alameda wasn’t afraid to spare her readers the gory details and I definitely respect her for that – we’re young adults, after all, and can survive a few good, creepy scenes.
The one issue I did have, however, revolved around who the ghost really was. I can’t say too much without spoiling readers before the book even comes out, but it left a bad taste in my mouth. I sort of understand where Alameda was going with it, but I still think that it would have been more appropriate for her to have given the ghost another identity. The ending had a few loose ends, leading me to believe there will be additions to the series, which I dearly hope there will be.
For those of you who love a good creepy ghost story and/or are fans of Anna Dressed in Blood, this book is for you!