Haunted by William Hussey
|Haunted by William Hussey|
|Reviewer: Nigethan Sathiyalingam|
|Summary: A mixture of horror and romance that has its flaws, but manages to hit a number of the right notes, with an especially strong ending.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 320||Date: September 2013|
|Publisher: Oxford University Press|
|External links: Author's website|
Emma Rhodes is haunted by the memory of her younger brother Richie, whose death has torn apart her family and left Emma plagued by intense guilt. But when the arrival of a mysterious boy, Nick Redway, heralds the arrival of spirits of the dead to Milton Lake, Emma finds herself being haunted by altogether more dangerous entities. The 'unmade' are spirits of people who died violent, unexpected deaths, now corrupt and desperate to possess living flesh. A necromancer is calling the dead back to the world using the fabled Ghost Machine. The more the machine is used, the weaker the gates between life and death grow, until nothing can stop the unmade being unleashed upon the town. Only Nick seems to know how to fight the ghosts, and Emma must help him to find the necromancer operating the Ghost Machine, before all hell breaks loose.
Haunted has the feel of an old-fashioned horror movie, filled with scenes written with the express purpose of startling and terrifying readers. There is an intensity to the writing that is present from the first page, and doesn't let up at all throughout the novel. The setting of Milton Lake is suitabley spooky; the town feels isolated and it has a grim history that provides ground for a veritable array of flesh-hungry ghosts to descend upon it. While it might appear at first that the unmade may descend into cliché and become forgettable, as Emma learns more about them, they become more intriguing and memorable entities. The characterisation also feels rather one-dimensional initially, with Emma being almost singularly defined by her grief and Nick playing the role of a hunky action hero (I grew quickly tired of the continuous remarks about his physical attributes). Fortunately, as more background and secrets are revealed in the second half of the story, both Nick and Emma, as well as the relationship that develops between them, come to feel a lot more genuine. The main antagonists are notably lacking in depth, but they are suitably sinister, and the story is effectively carried by the likeable central duo.
Suspense is maintained effectively throughout the story, and while the writing feels clumsy and weighed down by unnecessary metaphors at times, the revelations that provide pay-off to the build up of tension are well written and have a strong impact. The plotting is well paced with several twists. I saw some of them coming, but there was still plenty that surprised me towards the end. As the story progresses, the gore and conflict of your orthodox horror story gradually gives way to a more powerful and emotionally resonant conclusion, which goes a long way towards redeeming some of the initial flaws of the story.
There are plenty of supernatural thrills and action to satisfy those looking for a typical horror story, but there is also a strong emotional core, with thought provoking themes that really come to the fore at the satisfying conclusion to the book.
Thank you for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
Lockwood and Co: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud is another recently published horror story with ghosts and gore galore, and it comes highly recommended by TheBookbag. For older readers, Department 19 by Will Hill is the first in a superb action-horror-thriller series that gets better with every book.
You can read more book reviews or buy Haunted by William Hussey at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Haunted by William Hussey at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.