I enjoyed this book a lot, especially given that it’s not my usual
genre. Ghosts and vampires, hauntings and coffins don’t normally
interest me, but I took a chance on this one anyway. While simply
written in a lot of places, especially the non-romance, it conveyed the
sense of a conflicted but determined teenager. I liked the beginning of
the book more, with basically one ghost dog and some other summonings in
backstory form, compared with the more action-oriented end, which had a
lot of horror-style tricks that had me less interested. The mystery,
however, was well documented and well-solved by the two teens. They do
their own research, and follow their own leads, which kept the story
going. The fact that this girl was native and her powers grew from those
roots, was engaging, showing the power of the ancient world. It was
enlightening to see a story from the native point of view, describing
their history as one of survival against the white men. Although I
enjoyed the mystery part of the book, and Ellie’s character, my favorite
parts were the stories of six-great grandmother, whose heroics were more
of a fantasy nature.
As a murder mystery, this story worked well. It also worked well as a
girl who finds a bit of meaning to her life. She’s a native American of
an almost lost tribe, and that flows through the story naturally. It
also lends itself to the ancient world where spirits interacted with the
native people through natural elements like weather. In this case, the
women in her family can speak to and raise the ghosts of the dead.
In this world, it’s dangerous to raise humans, who always come back
as vengeance, no matter how nice they were in their life. So she raised
her dog when he died, and now the spectral canine follows her around,
sometimes invisible. It’s cute, and probably better than the mammoth her
grand mother raised.
When her cousin comes to her in a dream,
telling her he was murdered by Abe Allerton of Willowbee, Texas, a
nearby town, Ellie tells her parents, and they believe her, knowing her
abilities. While her mother has gone to help her aunt’s wife and their
son, Ellie and her father drive there a short time later to investigate.
Ellie’s friend is Jay, who is part fey, which means he can
travel the fairy rings to transport immediately to several places that
have rings. He does a lot of off-screen investigating for her, and most
of it shows how Allerton is a genius healer and a wonderful doctor,
philanthropist and a wonderful guy. Ellie and Jay dig deeper, get
psychics involved (including a phony TV psychic, which was funny). They discover the spot
where Trevor’s body was found is not where he died, and find the actual
location of the car accident. Ellie and her mother Vivian get chased
away from a visit to Allerton’s mansion by vampires.
puts clues together from the places she visited, including the library.
I figured it out just a few paragraphs before Ellie gets confirmation
–that Allerton is transferring pain and injuries from his paying
customers to outsiders, so those he treats are fully cured. The
strangers get strange injuries without knowing how.
future brother-in-law gets captured while investigating, they go to the
mansion to rescue him, knowing that Trevor’s ghost will be there looking
for revenge. While the climax was well written, it interested me less,
being a fight against vampires and ghosts. I liked the way Ellie used
her dog’s piercing howl to distract Trevor’s ghost and get away from
Allerton himself. When she called the dogs of her six-great grandmother,
it wasn’t a complete surprise, except that I was expecting her to make a
trip back to the underworld instead. This she does a little later, and
leaves Allerton behind there.
There is unfortunately no
follow-up to the town –Allerton said the town would die without him. Did
he mean it literally or just that people wouldn’t be healed? Ellie
considers herself asexual, so there was no romance with Jay, but it
looks like he might want one. Will she find her orientation with his
help? I found the return of her dog, after getting lost in the
underworld, to be underwhelming and a little cheesy. The author could
have made the dog’s sacrifice mean more if the dog had stayed there, and
Ellie had to live with the loss. But dogs do often find their way home,
so it’s not completely unrealistic. It just made me feel like the author
was going for a feel-good ending without earning it.
was captivating when describing six-great grandmother. I loved her
stories, and that might be because of the more fantasy nature to them,
rather than battling vampires and ghosts. Ellie’s rescue of Trevor back
when they were younger by raising dead mosquitos to swarm their
supernatural attacker was another great memory. But when dealing with
family and friends, the writing didn’t feel quite so interesting. Maybe
more real, but less fantasy. Just not my style, I guess.
Fortunately, the book kept me interested throughout, for the most part.
It was a fun read, even if it’s not my favorite genre.