Monday, February 2, 2015

Review: Hunters and Creators by Jacinta Maree

Title: Hunters & Creators (My Demonic Ghost #3)
Age Group: Young Adult
Release Date: 17th November 2014
Publishers: Staccato

Rating: 5 stars

Available from: Amazon AU Amazon

Source: Own purchase

It’s been five years since the phenomenon that shook the world’s belief in the supernatural. It has become a worldwide obsession as crowds flock together in hopes of catching a glimpse of the spirits. That is most… except Rachael Hastings. 

Rachael, now at University, lives with a giant blank page in her memory from when she was fifteen years old. Plagued by nightmares of a green-eyed monster, Rachael tries to stay as far away from the paranormal as humanly possible. Despite her efforts, he stalks her through the shadows and appears in her dreams for reasons she can’t understand. 

Along with friends from school, Rachael returns to Whitehaven. During her stay she is caught up in the ongoing war between heaven and hell she had unknowingly escaped from years ago. 

Forced into the care of Gargoyle the Hunter, Rachael attempts to piece together her shattered memory. As emotions grow between them, a familiar green-eyed demon returns to her side, claiming that Rachael is his one true love. With the world falling apart around them, can Rachael remember who she loves and which side is right before it’s too late?

Hunters & Creators is the third and final book in Jacinta Maree's My Demonic Ghost series. Set five years after Banished Spirits, we are again introduced to Rachael, now a young woman studying at university. She has no recollection of what transpired five years ago, but she is plagued by nigthmares of a green eyed demon. Unfortunately she is once again drawn the world of banished spirits, reapers and hunters & creators. I loved being immersed in the brilliant world Maree has created. It is rich and full of life; her characters are so well rounded they leap off the pages. It is one of those books that feel like home. 

Rachael tries to stay away from everything paranormal, but the more she tries to stay out of it, the more she is pulled into their struggle. Rachael is far from a damsel in distress, and even though she is thrown into some incredible and intense situations she always manages to keep her head. I loved learning more about the Hunters and how they interact with the banished spirits and reapers. They're not as unaffected and aloof as they portray themselves to be. Rachael and the Hunter Gargoyle are thrown together and she tries to gather the pieces of memory. Rachael begins to realise she wants to help Gargoyle, and the more time she spends with him she can feel something grow between them. 

With the reappearance of Lock (Evan), things really start to get complicated for Rachael. She has to figure out who he is and what happened between them so long ago. Gargoyle and Lock aren't exactly best of friends and they each have their own agenda with Rachael. She is caught up between two sides and doesn't know who to trust. Lock has to be one of my most favourite characters ever, and to read about him again made my heart sing. As Rachael pieces her memory back together she begins to find out more and more about Lock's tragic story and how it intertwines with her own. As the conclusion draws near, everything starts to spin out of control and they're all thrown together in a battle for their survival. 

Maree has created a compelling, thrilling and captivating story. I was on the edge of my seat for most of the book and was so upset when it finished. It was such a fantasic ending to the series and I was so happy that Rachael and Evan got their happy ever after. If you're looking for a young adult series that is different from anything you've read, then give Jacinta Maree's My Demonic Ghost series a try.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Review: Dance of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Title: Dance of the Red Death (Masque of the Red Death #2)
Author: Bethany Griffin
Age Group: Young Adult
Release Date: 4th April 2013
Publishers: Indigo

Rating: 3.5 stars

Available from: The Book Depository Amazon AU

Source: Own purchase

In Dance of the Red Death, Araby’s world is in shambles—betrayal, death, disease, and evil forces surround her. She has no one to trust. But she finds herself and discovers that she will fight for the people she loves, and for her city.

Her revenge will take place at the menacing masked ball, though it could destroy her and everyone she loves…or it could turn her into a hero.

With a nod to Edgar Allan Poe, Bethany Griffin concludes her tragic and mysterious Red Death series with a heroine that young adult readers will never forget.

Dance of the Red Death is the conclusion to Bethany Griffins Masque of the Red Death duology. I really loved the first book, but reading book 2, I felt the atmosphere of this book was lacking and it was missing the spark that had made me love Masque. The first half of the book seemed to drag by, with not a lot happening. There is a new plague that is sweeping through the city called The Red Death. It kills quickly and has left much of the city and water supply contaminated. Everything points to Araby's father being the one to create it and Araby can't comprehend the father she loves could be the murderer everyone is branding him. The pace doesn't really pick up until the last 50 or so pages and is where it gets interesting. 

Araby has carried around a very haunted and depressed persona through book one and mostly through book 2. For the most part she is quite useless, but in the latter half of the book she does become more engaging and feels more alive. It takes her a while, but she does realise that she doesn't need anyone to save her and actually goes about doing things that need to be done. It was a nice change to see her taking action and thinking for herself; even though it wasn't always the smartest option.

I'm not a huge fan of love triangles, and really didn't enjoy the was the Elliot, Araby, Will triangle played out. I understand why, but Araby and Elliot together annoyed me. It felt like she was using him to wash away Will's betrayal, and even though Elliot had genuine feelings for her, they were taken over by the fact that he could use her to help his cause. He was more interested in her as the scientists daughter. It was almost like a tug-of-war between them. 

Elliot is the leader of the rebellion. He is trying to overthrow his uncle Prince Prospero, the tyrant who rules them. Elliot is a very charismatic character, but there is a dark side to him thanks to growing up under his Uncle's tutelage. He was the most driven out of all the characters, full of passion and ambition. He is incredibly smart and knows exaclty what he needs to do to save the city from his uncle. Even though I didn't like him and Araby together, I loved him as a character. He has the will to get things done.

For the most part, Will is just along for the ride and is trying to atone for his betrayal of Araby. He does what needs to be done and is willing to sacrifice himself if it will help. He's kind of pushed to the back during most of the book and I really missed his character. In book one he was cheeky and flirtatious, but he becomes quite withdrawn in book two. Most of what he does seems to be behind the scenes. 

Dance of the Red Death is full of drama, adventure, romance and death. Bethany Griffin has created a beautiful and haunting world. It's hard not to become immersed in the death and destruction she has created. If you're looking for a flawed heroine, Araby's story is definitely for you. I think it was a fitting end to their story.