Sunday, January 25, 2015

*Early Book Review* Shutter by Courtney Alameda

Published by Feiwel & Friends
Releases: February 3, 2015
Source: Publisher
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Genre* Young Adult, Horror, Paranormal

*Book Blurb*

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.

Lock, stock, and lens, she’s in for one hell of a week.

"I have a duty to do, a duty to others, a duty to you, a duty to the dead, and by God, I shall do it."

16-year old Micheline Helsing is one the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage that stretches back to Abraham Van Helsing. Micheline is a tetrachromat, or a girl who can identify different types of undead by the color of their auras they give off. Micheline has trained her entire life to destroy both corporeal and spiritual monsters. Using her Camera as a weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film.

Along with her crew Oliver Stoker, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera's technology; Jude Drake, who can predict death with a touch; and Australian Ryder McCoy, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever, they are at the forefront of Helsing's fight against the paranormal. I love that Alameda doesn't gloss over Stoker's original story Dracula, but built upon it and expanded upon it and brought a 21st century flavor to the mix.

Shutter starts out with a bang and plenty of suspense when Micheline and crew face off against a very powerful entity leaving them cursed and marked by a soulchain. They only have 7 days to figure out a way to exorcise the entity responsible, or face an eternity completely under the control of someone who wants to see an end to the Helsing empire. Micheline is forced to go on the run in order to save herself and her friends while avoiding her egotistical father, and his reapers.

I really can't complain all that much about the story. I loved Micheline. I love that she's far from perfect and is getting over a devastating loss, and suffering bouts of PTSD. I like that she uses a camera to capture ghosts, and isn't too bad with a knife or gun either. I didn't much care for her emotionally void father Leonard, and really didn't like the way he treated her. I liked that she truly is a leader, and is just as skilled as any of the boys.

Shutter is such a nice change of pace, an original story, and one that definitely holds no punches in creating creepy monsters, and wicked technology that one would find as part of a Ghost Hunter's inventory. Shutter is a full throttle action packed story that really has no limits to what it can do.

The romance angle is pretty slick. Here are two characters, Micheline and Ryder, who have been told that they can't be together by her father because he wants to keep the Helsing legacy within his control. But, thankfully neither allows a little thing like that to get in the way of their right to find a way to be together, or their jobs hunting ghosts. The romance is an addition to the story, instead of the highlight. It doesn't weigh the story down with unnecessary angst or emotions.

I am only sad that apparently this is a standalone novel and not part of a series. If the author reads this review, I truly do hope that she is in the process of writing a sequel, because Micheline deserves more adventures. I will be more than happy to come back to this review and remove this entire paragraph if another book is in the works!

Overall, Shutter is a very interesting, entertaining, and fast paced novel. I didn't care that the ending was a bit on the predictable side, or left room for further exploration. I think the mystery behind the entity was well revealed, as well as heart breaking. I'm happy to join in the group saying that if you like Supernatural (TV), then you will enjoy Shutter.

**I received this book for free from (Feiwel & Friends) in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

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