Sunday, 8 September 2013

Book Review: Reveal by Brina Courtney

Shay could be the key to ending a war that humans don't know exist. Of a race of beings that aren't real, or are they?

Shay Tafford's childhood has been fatherless, filled instead with memories of speaking to the dead. She is forced to hide her unique ability from those living around her. That's why it's been comforting to have Jeremy, a child ghost, as her confidante. But recently he's been absent, perhaps lost as her father is. When Shay meets Hugh, the guy she's had a crush on for weeks, and finds he can speak to ghosts too she's just starting to find a normalcy in her life.
But as Hugh reveals the truth to Shay, about who she really is and about what it is she can do, he erases all chances she had at a normal existence. Turns out talking to ghosts is just scratching the surface of her genetically engineered gifts. Shay learns she may be part of an age old prophecy that could save the entire race of cryptids. But can she?

Get this book FREE here:

 My Review:
*I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

Shay has the ability to talk to ghosts and is surprised when she finds someone else with the same ability. When she discovers that her other gifts are the result of her missing father's genetic experiments and that she and Hugh are Soulmates expected to fulfil a Prophecy and defeat the Darkness, a normal life vanishes forever.

This book didn't work for me on quite a few levels which is why I have rated it as two stars, though 2.5 is probably more accurate.

I thought, on the positive side, that the cat shifter and ghost talker plot was a bit different and showed that the author had some imagination and interesting ideas. The early parts where she was communicating with Wendy to help her to find her father and with her friend Jeremy were good and I enjoyed the scenes where the ghosts took centre stage. The back story with the research her father was doing and drawing the wrong sort of attention to himself was also quite interesting. Had the book continued on with the ghost side of things, I think I would have given it three stars and called it a decent read. It didn't get too descriptive and although it was a bit slow in places, it was doing enough to keep me reading at that point.

The science fiction elements were stretching bounds of reality a bit with the whole drink cat blood and become a cat shifter, though I can forgive that when it is a paranormal story. Then there was the idea of a man removing his supernatural genes and injecting them into his daughter. I think a few science experts will have issues with a few of these things! Like I said, in a paranormal or sci-fi story I can accept pretty much anything for plot so this wasn't really an issue for me. 

I did feel however, that the author didn't develop the plot and the characters. I didn't connect with any of the characters and didn't really care about any of them. When Shay arrives in Texas she is greeted by a girl who calls her a half breed and Hugh explains that lots of people won't like her. The next time we see the girl she is Shay's new BFF. Shay goes to Texas for answers about her dad yet we hardly see her father's best friend and get very little new information. We get more about her new pet and her sulks over Hugh being a stupid prat. We hear how scary and dangerous The Darkness is but the big face-off in the Orphanage was very disappointing. The bad guys are cardboard cut-outs and not scary at all, while the fight scene is poor, abrupt and over too quickly. If the bad guy isn't scary or lacks charisma, then he just isn't interesting and we don't exactly get a sense of terror when he appears. The story also jumps too much. By this I mean we get an incident, then we just jump to the next bit of story with no gradual build up of tension or plot and character development. There is too much of the author telling us what is happening and not showing through dialogue and description. I felt as if someone was telling me what happened to these people instead of being pulled into the book and experiencing the events along with the characters.

Then there was Hugh and that was where it all went downhill big time. He was as exciting a romantic hero as a plank of wood. He had no personality or charisma. There was no chemistry between the characters at that first meeting and then Hugh totally vanishes for a while except for a few texts that we don't see. When he does come back, he just appears as Mr Soulmate with all the answers and decides to take her away on that road trip. That part of the book was pretty dumb IMHO. He decides to take her away for a few days to Texas to get answers on her family history and abilities-without telling her or giving her the chance to pack or even tell her mother! What kind of idiot is this guy? I'm not even going to comment on the gross hotel he picks for them to stay in or what he packs in a bag for her. There is no heat or chemistry or sizzle between them and the whole romance just doesn't feel real or believable.

The book has potential but for me it would need  a serious re-write to work. It's not a 'bad' book and it is not a 'bad' author but it is just seriously lacking a lot of development and purpose. Ideas and characters need to be developed and fleshed out. The romance needs a massive overhaul. There needs to be more show and less tell. And there needs to be a clear decision as to which genre this book is trying to be. At the moment it's trying to be paranormal romance, paranormal, urban fantasy, fantasy, science fiction and dark fantasy, yet not quite managing to be any of them. It is a hard book to define and that will make it difficult to match it to the right reader.
star rating photo: Two Star Rating 2stars.png

1 comment:

  1. If I can't connect with the characters then I most likely wont like the book. I got this one free a while back but haven't gotten to it yet.