Horror has a new name: introducing Courtney Alameda.
Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She's aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera's technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.
When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn't exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she's faced before . . . or die trying.
Lock, stock, and lens, she’s in for one hell of a week.Hardcover, 384 pagesPublished February 3rd 2015 by Feiwel & Friends
Five stars: A chilling ghost story that ties into Dracula!
Micheline Helsing is no stranger to monsters. As one of the survivors of the Van Helsing line, it is in her blood to hunt down the ghosts and monsters that stalk humanity. Micheline and her three trusty friends and fellow reapers, arrive at the local hospital where some type of crazed ghostly entity is on the loose. Micheline knows they should wait for the adult back up, but there isn't time, so Micheline dives in on her own, not realizing the deadly repercussions that will follow. Micheline ends up wrangling with a ghost unlike any she has seen before, and her impetuousness ends up getting not only herself but also her team in trouble. Micheline exposes them all to a soul chain. The team has a week to hunt down the ghost and destroy it or die. Can Micheline kill the ghost?
What I Liked:
- Wow! I haven't read a ghostly horror book this good since Anna Dressed in Blood. This book is not only scary but action packed, and it ties into Bram Stoker's Dracula. I loved that this was a blend of horror, Urban Fantasy and paranormal. This was a most impressive debut, and I loved it. I want more!
- I couldn't get enough of all the Dracula references. The main character, Micheline, is a direct descendent of the famed vampire hunter Van Helsing. Oliver Stoker her partner, is a descendent to Bram Stoker. I loved how Ms. Alameda drew upon the legendary tale and ran with it. This was a creative, original and thrilling debut that was most impressive. If you love horror, I would highly recommend this book!
- I liked the interesting ideas in this one regarding destroying the ghosts. Micheline uses a camera and film to capture the ghosts' energy which causes them to dissipate. Mirrors also play an important part as well. I loved the exciting and creative ways that Micheline used to hunt ghosts, definitely original.
- I loved the strong cast of characters. Micheline, the heroine, is a fierce and deadly girl, who is a bit rash, but when it matters most, she has good head on her shoulders. I not only loved her strong determination and fearlessness, but I admired that she wasn't easily baited. She is the kind of kick butt heroine I love. Alongside Micheline are her three reaper partners, Jude, Ryder and Oliver. Oliver is the brains and logic of the group while Ryder is the muscle and Jude is the one with the mysterious powers. I was most interested in Jude and his powers. I loved the dynamic of the group, their camaraderie, and how they had each other's backs no matter what. I thought the relationship between the four characters was fantastic, definitely one of the highlights of the book.
- There is a romance in this one, but it is subtle and it does not impact or deter from the story. It is a romance that is forbidden. One that has been in the works for years as the couple has grown up, trained together, and fought together. It is a romance of meaningful touches and looks, and a couple of stolen kisses. No ridiculous romantic drama, insta love or love triangles in this one. I thought the romance was perfect. Not once did it overpower the story. Sweet, subtle and just right.
- If you like a good ghostly book, this is one you have to read. Shutter is steeped in ghosts, demons and all kinds of scary dead creatures. It is atmospheric and creepy, the kind of book you shouldn't read right before bed or risk nightmares. It packs a good scare without incorporating buckets of blood and gore. I thought it was fantastic. Even though this is labeled as horror, don't shy away, is it good creepy horror.
- The writing is terrific. Ms. Alameda not only is creative and original, but she is talented as well. Her descriptions are excellent whether she is writing a scary ghostly encounter or describing a toe curling kiss. I was most impressed!
- The book after a terrifying climax, draws to a complete resolution. The story could end here, but there are still some story lines introduced that could be explored. I am hoping that more books are in the works, because I want more.... I NEED MORE! At the time of this review, I couldn't find any information on a sequel.
And The Not So Much:
- There is a lot of detail and explanation in the early part of the book as Ms. Alameda introduce the world, the characters and the story. It was a lot to take in, but I was never bored. You do need to be patient in the beginning.
- I was still left at the end with questions regarding how the ghosts and necrotic monsters and such had overtaken the world. There were references to some big paranormal events but they weren't fully explained. I also wanted more details on the necros, there were different types of necros, and I felt like this one aspect of the story that needed more expansion and detail.
- Micheline's father was the one character that wasn't fully developed. The father daughter relationship is strained, so he is shoved out of the story. I was left wanting to know so much more about him and his role in the ghost war. He was the one character that I felt needed more development.
- Is there a sequel in the works?? I need to know now because I want more.
Shutter is a must read debut novel for 2015. I loved this ghostly gem, especially since it is a nod to Dracula. Think of this as Dracula meets Ghostbusters. If you are on the hunt for a terrific ghost book with a fantastic cast of characters and plenty of thrills and chills, this is a must read. I thought this was one of the most impressive and fantastic debuts I have read in a while.
Get this one!
"Bloodlines and last names didn't make a man extraordinary---the extraordinary existed in what we did in life, not in who we were."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.