by Martina Boone
Read: April 22 - 23, 2014
Published: October 28, 2014 by Simon Pulse
Source: Edelweiss (Thank you, S&S!)
Category: YA, southern gothic, magic
Find: Goodreads | Amazon
When loss is all you know, how do you find true love?
Beautiful Creatures meets The Body Finder in this spellbinding new trilogy.
All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lived with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead--a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.
Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.
Isn't that cover and description gorgeous?! Let's take a moment to stare at it. Unfortunately, the more I think about this book, the more I realize how much the content inside of the pretty package didn't meet my expectations. It just wasn't creepy or gothic enough, and Barrie and Eight's romance wasn't as thrilling as I hoped.
I did love the setting of this story. The decaying decadence of a Southern Plantation. The ancient trees, oppressive summer heat, Spanish moss, brick facade, old money and long held feuds. It made me want to go visit a plantation for myself. But while I enjoyed reading this, it didn’t blow me away.
First, the thought of waiting for any three book series to release has become quite daunting, and this one didn't give me enough to make that wait worth it. Mostly because I wasn’t sure exactly where it was going, or what it’s focus was going to be. And that, I think is my major complaint with this story. Despite some PNR set-up tropes – isolated girl moves to a new place, she’s klutzy and doesn’t realize how beautiful she is, a pretty much destined romance – what I think this book needed was a little more focus. (Minus the romance, which was very focused and quickly developing between Eight and Barrie).
I wasn’t sure what this story was going to be. It wasn’t as creepy as I wanted it to be or really overly suspenseful. There were a variety of villains in the past and present. Barrie solves some mysteries from the past and learns a bit more about her family. There’s a magical element, but I was hoping that would be explored a bit further than it was. This just wasn’t as…compelling as I’d hoped (sorry! But that’s the right word). It didn't grab me, or excite me enough. I also thought the romance developed very quickly. I don’t mind instant attraction, and I liked Barrie and Eight’s banter and any scene they had together. Plus Eight’s ability to read Barrie only added more tension. But as a whole just wasn't as good as I hoped, and that makes me sad.
But seriously, look at that cover. If I could live inside that world, I would.
Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Low/Medium