Monday, November 7, 2011

Lee Nichols' Surrender Book Review

Surrender is the last book in the Haunting Emma trilogy by Lee Nichols. 17 year old Emma Vaile has become one of the most powerful ghost-keepers in existence. So powerful, in fact, that Neos, the ancient, repulsive old ghost that has haunted Emma since she was a child, is more than a little determined to possess Emma and use her powers to release his horde of ghosts, wraiths, and ghasts and to become whole once again.

Emma, as a ghost-keeper, has all the powers necessary to communicate, read, summon, dispel and compel ghosts, wraiths, and ghasts back to whence they came. She is pretty much the only hope left for defeating Neos who has become a stain on everyone Emma knows especially after the devastation that happened in Betrayal and the shear loss of ghost-keepers lives including those in charge of the Knell.

Neos really wants Emma so badly, that he even gets the former Aunt Rachel, who was a ghost-keeper and was supposedly killed during the events of Betrayal, to do his bidding for him in an attempt to possess her body and become whole again. Of course, Neos has that effect on all the women he comes across including Emma’s own mother.

Meanwhile, Bennett Stern is addicted to Asarum and refuses to stop taking it, even at the risk of losing Emma forever. His parents, themselves Ghost-keepers, arrive home from a trip to Europe and end up kicking him out of the house as an ultimatum to get off Asarum. Bennett doesn’t go far. He is reassigned as a bodyguard to Simon who is now in charge of the Knell.

The usual suspects that being Lukas, Natalie, Cody, Henry and Sara all play their parts in this installment. Celeste and Anatole the Sterns ghost resident cook and housekeepers also are quite entertaining and would not be the same story without them. I don’t mind Henry, but I really got annoyed by the constant references to Emma’s feet. I mean, once or twice if funny. More than that becomes a nuisance and loses its effectiveness.

This book has a lot more surprises, including the fact that Emma’s parents and brother Max finally appear after dropping off the face of the earth at the beginning of book number one leaving Emma in Bennett’s hands and ending up at Thatcher Academy.

As a reader of this series, you have to have some compassion for Bennett, and why he felt it was necessary to take Asarum so that he can protect and help Emma and ensure that she has the strength necessary to defeat Neos.

But, at the same time, you also have to put yourself in Emma’s shoes knowing that Bennett is physically destroying his body, and pushing her away from him, and there’s nothing she can do about it since he won’t tell her the real reason behind his addiction. She does grow up lot more than previous installments, but there is a point where she has to believe that too she has too much responsibilities in not only stopping Neos, but in keeping Bennett from losing his life.

In this series, Ghost-keepers can fall in love, but, one of them will always lose their powers. It happened to Bennett’s parents, as well as Emma’s. The only question is who will be the one to relinquish their powers in order to turn Neos into dust Emma or Bennett?

I absolutely adore Cody and was happy to see how much he plays a part in this storyline.

I recommend that anyone who may be interested in this series, start reading the series from the beginning and in order. The trilogy features Deception, Betrayal, and of course, Surrender.

ARC received 10/19/2011 via NetGalley. Expected publication: December 6th 2011

Title: Surrender
Author: Lee Nichols
Release Date: December 6, 2011
 Genres: YA Paranormal