Sadie woke with a gift after a near-death experience in her teens, one that she avoided using at all costs, until she had no choice. Sadie can see the dead, but she had been taught to never go near them, to ignore them, and soon she stopped seeing them. That is, until a family friend, years later, finds Sadie and asks for her help to save her daughter, who is being haunted by … something. With her co-workers help, Sadie decides to start using her gift for good.
Why this book?: It looked and sounded good and was on the Scribd catalog. Plus I was a little upset about how my last read ended, so I wanted another good, horror/thriller ghost mystery.
The premise of the main character being able to see the dead isn’t … well, it isn’t that original. I’m sure I’ve read more then a few novels with that premise, which is specifically why I chose to read this book. I was in the mood to read some ghost stories, so having a character be able to see the ghosts more or less confirmed that this story was definitely going to be about ghosts. And while I went into this story not really expecting much besides, literally, what I was looking for (classic haunted house story), I came out at the end of this with a new series to devour and a new author to read.
I started this series more or less with just the intention to scratch that one itch I’d been having for a classic ghost story, and then leave it at that. The premise sounded interesting, and that was that. However, upon diving in to this series, I found that there was a lot more to enjoy then I had previously predicted. Probably the best part of this series is the relationship between the two main characters, Sadie and her co-worker August. I was expecting a romance to pop up with these two before the first book was finished, but Ibsen kept their relationship platonic, which was super shocking to me, but also really nice to read. The author built up their relationship from before the book started by giving them small banter and a little competition, showing how they knew each other but weren’t already close. And then, throughout the book, we got to see the two of them grow closer, not as romantic interests but just as friends. It was so refreshing to read, and I have to admit that August quickly grew to be my favorite character. It’s so hard to find books that don’t try to force a romance between the two protagonists, especially if they’re of different genders. By the end of the book, I wouldn’t have been upset if Ibsen had thrown the two of them together, simply because they had finished building up their relationship logically and thoughtfully.
Now, besides the characters, I did overall enjoy the plot of this book. We got to know more about Sadie’s past and how she had gotten her gift of being able to see the dead, but were still left in the dark about a lot of it, which lended to the book being apart of the series. I really loved how the author worked to draw Sadie back into this past, and how she reacted to it. The flow of how the plot proceeded through the story made sense for how Sadie had been previously characterized, with her going back and forth on if she wanted to take the leap back into this world or not. I’ve seen a few other reviews calling Sadie a blank slate/wet blanket, which I mostly disagree with. I thought Sadie’s characterization made sense for her past and how it was working throughout the story. She just wasn’t the stereotypical dive-in-head-first type of female protagonist some people are used to. Additionally, Sadie’s character and the direction of the plot worked really well with the inclusion of August, her co-worker. The two characters blended together really well, which really helped pushing the plot along. To me, everything that happened in the book made sense for how Ibsen had previously characterized the characters and their pasts.
There was a lot about the plot that seemed left open, which, ultimately, seemed like it was on purpose for the purpose of continuing the series. This book was fairly short, and considering how the other books played out, I have no doubt that the entire series could have been blended together better. With how the series is cut into books, it really messed with the flow of the plot, leaving it in stuttering pieces that didn’t entirely make sense by themselves. Alone, however, the first book was a solid beginning for the series, even if it relied a lot on pieces being explained later.
Final Rating: ★★★★☆
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–I wasn’t expecting much when I started this book. It really surprised me with how enjoyable it was, and I wanted to dive into the next one nearly immediately. The twist at the end was super shocking but hinted at and led up to, and even though it was super sad, it definitely pushed me to immediately start reading the next one. I loved the characters of this book, and while the plot relied a little too much on explaining things in the next books, I still thought it was overall a well-developed novel.
Would I Recommend?
If you’re looking for a classic ghost story with a protagonist that can seen the dead … with a TWIST, then sure! I really enjoyed this more than I was expecting, and there were so many interesting aspects, especially throughout the rest of the series. I would definitely recommend double-checking the trigger warnings though, since this book does have quite a few.
Trigger Warnings including but not limited to: heavily featured suicide plot point, self-harm, death, murder, referenced child abuse, and description of gore.
Published: August 20th, 2019
Page Count: 238
Synopsis: via Goodreads
Sadie has a gift. And she’ll do anything to keep from using it.
At sixteen, Sadie Young had a brush with death, and as a result she became more sensitive to the supernatural. Rather than embrace this gift, she spent years running from it, and from the darkness that once preyed upon her.
Now twenty-five and working as a librarian, Sadie is called upon by a desperate family friend to look into a strange series of events. A teenaged girl has entered a reputedly haunted house in town and has gone mad. Committed, the girl attempts suicide and claims to be terrorized at all hours by a horrific specter known as “Mother Maggot”.
Despite having subdued her gift for the past nine years, Sadie wishes to assist the girl and reticently agrees to visit the site of the haunting. But upon entering the house on Beacon Hill, she discovers that Mother Maggot isn’t merely a figment of a disturbed teen’s imagination…