Author: Courtney Alameda
Series: Shutter #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Easy reading, Paranormal fantasy
Publisher: Square Fish
5th sentence, 74th page: I eyed my bedroom door hinges.
LOCK, STOCK, AND LENS, SHE’S IN FOR ONE HELL OF A WEEK.
As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, Micheline Helsing 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 who developed the camera’s technology; Jude, who sees death before it occurs; 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 sickness spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn’t exorcise their entities in seven days, she and her friends are dead. Can she track down and destory a nightmare more powerful than anything she’s ever faced before the week is up?
I really liked this story. I loved the incorporation of Van Helsing and Bram Stoker into a modern day horror tale. The fast pace and Micheline’s terrifying past all help to create a slightly terrifying world and a hunt where the stakes are as high as they can possibly be. Actually, this really inspired me to buy and read Dracula, since it features so heavily within the storyline and construction of Micheline’s world.
Although this story is heavily based on the premise of Dracula, I loved the originality and uniqueness of the tale. I’ve read a lot of paranormal and vampire stories, but the creatures in this are far more terrifying. Actually I had to stop myself from reading this before I went to bed… mostly because it gave me some amazingly vivid (and weird) dreams. I love when the descriptions and writing are so realistic that it seeps into my psyche. And, luckily this one did so.
There is always a bit of romantic entanglement in a good story. It helps to heighten the risks and stakes of the battle. Sometimes it’s a little too predictable and boring. Which, honestly, I was half expecting this story to have that kind of love story. It is about two teenagers, one who is effectively royalty, after all. But that certainly wasn’t the case. Although it might come as no surprise to see who ends up with who, but the angst and the journey is far more enjoyable than I thought it would be. And it’s a big part of what has made me hope that there might be another journey on the horizon for these four amazing characters.
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