Genre: YA Paranormal/Mystery
Page Length: 384 Pages
Publication Date: February 3rd, 2015
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Source: ARC via publisher (Thanks Macmillan!)
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.
"We are not defined by our lack of fear but rather by what we choose to do when facing the nightmare."
I have the perfect pitch for this book: Young James Bond meets Ghostbusters! After seeing lots of rave reviews, I was so excited to read this. Although it's not exactly what I was hoping for or expecting, this book was definitely entertaining and creative.
Micheline and her band of ghost-hunting friends get exposed to a ghostly disease that threatens to consume them and make them ghosts. Micheline and her friends have 5 days to exorcise the ghost to save themselves. I love how fast-paced this story is, and Alameda couples it with a frantic, urgent tone.
I really enjoyed the characters. They have great chemistry and hilarious banter. Micheline is the tough, resilient leader of the group, the heir to the Van Helsing legacy and the Corps. Ryder has been Micheline's friend since they were young and they both keep edging beyond mere friendship even as Micheline's father plans to arrange her marriage to keep the Van Helsing bloodline strong. Jude is the honest and hilarious one. Oliver is the brains of the operation. They make a great team together, and I loved their friendship.
Alameda's writing was wonderful, I never would have thought she was a debuting author this year! Her ideas were so intricate and creative. I loved how she created this corporation of sorts that dealt with ghosts and things that won't stay dead. I loved how she described it all along with the gadgetry, the explanations of the departments, the history, etc. My one critique would be that there was a bit of info-dump in the beginning. I appreciated that she tried to explain some of the scientific stuff behind the gadgets and especially the camera, but it went over my head a bit and left me confused.
The romance was so adorable! It's kind of forbidden since Micheline's dad is planning an arranged marriage for her (yikes). It was so sweet, and the tension and chemistry and fireworks were all there. I swooned. Some very creepy and scary things happen in this book, things that nightmares are made of! I loved the action scenes, but I felt like the plot was dragging a bit in parts.
Overall, this was a fast-paced, fun read that I think you'll enjoy!