Sunday, 30 December 2012
Possess by Gretchen McNeil
Type: Young Adult Paranormal
Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone, by her mother, by the cute sergeant's son Matt and by the strange voices she can suddenly hear in her head. Unfortunately for Bridget those voices are demons and she must enlist the aid of Monsignor Renault to understand this new skill. Yet as he coaches Bridget through exorcisms, one of her oldest friends is killed and Bridget soon realises that the demons have an even more deadly plan and she may be the only one capable of stopping them.
Possess is one of those books that sat on my shelf for ages before I picked it up, and then when I did I couldn't understand why I'd waited so long. The writing kept me glued to the page throughout and it is riddled with suspense and unpredictable twists and turns. The tension builds gradually to the knuckle clenching finale. Gretchen McNeil has a really unique take on demons and she throws you right into the deep end of the action with Possess.
This isn't horror of the conventional jump out of your seat variety, but it is deliciously creepy throughout with some incredibly disturbing scenes. One that still creeps me out even after finishing the entire book is where a demon possesses a shop of porcelain dolls. Thinking about it now still makes me shudder which in my mind makes this the ideal Halloween read.
Bridget is a great lead character. She's still struggling with her father's death a year previously, but is determined to be as strong and self-reliant as possible. Bridget has to rely on oddball Monsignor Renault to help her deal with her emerging demonic banishment gifts which she finds disturbing and when Father Santos arrives she finds herself torn between the two priests and their approaches to exorcism.
Bridget's love interest is Matt, a childhood friend who is desperate to step in and protect her but their romance is hampered by interference from Matt's ex-girlfriend and Bridget's best friend Peter whose crush soon grows to obsessive levels. The romantic storyline is cute and well written, and manages not to detract from the overall creepiness of the book.
There is rumoured to be a sequel in the works, but it hasn't been scheduled by the publisher yet. However one of the best things about Possess is that it reads like a stand alone so you can enjoy it by itself.
All in all, this was a great read and I'd definitely read more by Gretchen McNeil in the future.