Thursday, November 8, 2018

Review: Shutter by Courtney Alameda

Author: Courtney Alameda
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Date of publication: February 2015

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.

Shutter is a recent random audiobook pick. Honestly, I didn't know a lot about the book before listening to it.  I think that contributed to me having to listen to the first chapter a couple of times before I understood what was going on. The reader is thrown into the action right away.  I'm still not completely sure how the world works, so I'll let you read the synopsis to get the idea.  I did end up liking the story.  I really liked Micheline.  She was a strong, kick-ass heroine.  She never let her mistakes or regret weigh her down.    She was willing to put herself out there to solve who was behind the infection of her and her team instead of relying on the team to save her.

My really only issue with the book was the world building.  I'm not sure I really get how the world works.  There really need to be a more thorough exposition scene. There are references to characters in Bram Stoker's Dracula (some of them are descendants of the Van Helsing and Harker families).  That was interesting.  But I'm still not sure how the ghost, possession and zombie thing works or the reason behind it.   I also never got a sense for how the rest of the "regular" people dealt with it.  We only really see the reapers and tetrachromats and their interaction with the supernatural. About halfway through the book, I found myself not caring as much and just let myself go along for the ride.  The creatures were pretty horrifying, especially the scorpion thing.   

I'm not sure if this is intended to be a stand alone or if the author will eventually continue the series.  I'd like to see Micheline in more adventures in the future.  I did listen to the audiobook.  While I liked the narrator, I would have liked it more if she had been able to do an Australian accent for Ryder.  Having him say Australian phrases in an American accent was just strange.   I do recommend this YA horror.  It's a bit gory and does have a scene of parental abuse, so maybe keep it to the over 14 crowd.

1 comment:

Ethan said...

I love a good, spooky read, but this one seems a bit too confusing. It is hard to just dive right into the action without any context for the world it is taking place in.