Friday, 22 October 2010
Review: Immortal Remains by Rook Hastings
Title: Immortal Remains
Author: Rook Hastings
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
Publication Date: 2nd Sept 2010
Thank you to the lovely Sya of The Mountains of Instead for the loan of her book
Four freak accidents. Four mysterious deaths. Four signs of trouble. Welcome back to Weirdsville…
"You see, the girls that died – it wasn't by accident. They were cursed, every one of them. Cursed to meet a horrible death… And I'm going to be next."
Four girls from posh school Riverbank have been killed in seemingly random but freakish ways and it’s not long before Bethan and co. are lured into investigating the grisly case. Is it really just coincidence or is there something more sinister going on?
Meanwhile Hashim’s playing truant, Kelly’s on the warpath and Jay’s trying to avoid someone even more close to home… Himself.
Scary, paranormal and supernaturally chilling experiences are everyday in a town like Weirdsville…
For me this is the eagerly anticipated sequel to Nearly Departed. The chilling modern tale of a ghost-busting gang of high school students. I had been warned how scary this one was so I think I had mentally prepared myself.
The sequels starts with the apparent suicide of 4 teenage girls, all from the same school. This is very topical for me as you will know if you saw my Saturday Spotlight on Bullying a few weeks age. The beginning immediately sets a dramatic and tense atmosphere, plunging the reader into the story where Nearly Departed ended.
The third person narrator is an unobtrusive presence within the story. Focalization of different characters perspectives within different chapters gives a well rounded frame of reference. The characters balance each others personalities beautifully, Kelly's snarky comments and one liners certainly lighten what could be an oppressive mood. I literally giggled out loud at the description of a Ouija board being a form of twitter for ghosts. Interactions between the characters become strained due to circumstances but it is also these circumstances that bond them together.
The illustration of the crosses at the chapter headings give a sense of foreboding. The description of the freakishly gory deaths occurring within such a small town is really ominous in its illustration. Elements of quantum physics interwoven into the plot take the story to a whole new level. The saying 'sends shivers down your spine' takes on a whole new meaning in the narrative. Little plot teasers are placed throughout although some are a form of subtle misdirection. Very clever plot development culminates into an action pact finale with an electrifying cliffhanger.
Phew - so it roundup: an intense psychological/paranormal suspense which really plays with your mind and lingers in your imagination. I can't wait for the next one.