I had SUCH high high hopes for this book. I’d patiently waited all semester until I had time to really sit down and read it. I was literally jumping for joy when I found it at my local library on the first try.
Now, it’s not that it was bad. I devoured it in less than 24 hours (it’s slimmer than I expected) and can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel. But I was expecting so much MORE. MORE horror, MORE fear, MORE complex of a story and way MORE of a believable romance.
I loved all of the back story on ghosts, especially hearing about Cas’ past conquests and his childhood growing up with a ghost-hunting father and a Wiccan mother. I loved hearing about all of the ghosts’ stories, about the humanity behind the hauntings. I devoured these background stories, especially Anna’s, because they gave so much more life (no pun intended) to the actual ghosts Cas came into contact with.
But. Oh, there’s the qualifier. I was really and truly disappointed how religion was so misappropriated in this book. As a religious studies major who just spent this past semester extensively studying voodoo, it was beyond infuriating seeing it stereotyped so negatively in the book. Yes, there are mal-practitioners of Voodoo, but the book completely managed to neglect the fact that Voodoo is a RELIGION, a widely practiced one at that, and a majority of it is used for purposes of healing rituals. Not too mention Wiccan was treated as more “magic” than an actual religion as well, though I don’t have the extensive background in Wiccan to call out whether is was misappropriated or not. Overall, I was disappointed to see that there was no qualifying statement in the book that Voodoo is not a malicious practice in a majority of circumstances and that it is a widely, and positively, practiced faith to many of Afro-Haitian-Carribean descent. So it would have been nice to see the author not take such as Western, Orientalizing view of religious traditions alternative to the typical white, Northern American because it is misappropriating an entire religion and culture.
If you’re still reading, and my rant didn’t scare you away, Cas was an extremely refreshing character to read because a) he’s a male protagonist in YA fiction and b) his serious and no-nonsense attitude don’t make for the annoyingly average teenage heartthrob male character. True, I loved Cas, but I loved him for his complexity, his self-imposed isolation that he’s aware of and doesn’t brood over, his determination, and his realism (his statements and internal monologue may seem cocky and arrogant, be he’s really just honest to the point where it makes most people uncomfortable. He doesn’t play games).
I DO wish the romantic element had been more developed, because reading this it’s like BOOM one day the protagonist goes from morbid interest to complete obsession with the love interest with little believable development. But I can forgive this because honestly the pretense of the entire novel, with all of it’s ghost-hunting, rich backstories, and paranormal activity make this a book I’d have loved to read even without a romance.
I will definitely be picking up the sequel.
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