Series: Haunting Emma #2
Author: Lee Nichols
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publication Date: 5 Sep 2011
Synopsis: From Amazon
Emma Vaile is the most powerful ghostkeeper in centuries. Which is great when she's battling the wraith-master Neos, but terrible when she's flirting with fellow ghostkeeper (and love interest) Bennett. When ghostkeepers fall in love, the weaker one loses all power, and that's something Bennett is not willing to accept. Heartbroken and alone, Emma tries to lose herself in school. A new team of ghostkeepers has arrived - one a snarky teen boy, the other a visiting scholar - and Emma finds solace in training for the battle against Neos. But as the team grows stronger, they are threatened by an unknown force. As chilling and page-turning as Deception, this sequel will grab readers and hold them to the last page. No one is safe from suspicion as Emma closes in on the traitor.
Please remember this is the second book in the series and therefore the review may contain small spoilers for the first book.
You already know I am utterly biased about this series because I really can place myself in the position of the main character, plus her narrative voice is so realistic. Although it is really necessary to read the series in order to understand the intricacies of the plot and interactions, there are nice little recaps placed into the narrative to refresh the memory.
What really stood out for me in this book is how stunning the character development is, even if some of it didn't go the way I would have wanted (lol).
The title is a little trick in itself, as from the start I was questioning the motives and interactions of all the characters. It is easy for me to place myself in Emma's position but my guard was up for her from the start of this book. Not knowing who to trust makes her retreat into herself a bit, plus her relationship with Bennett is a roller-coaster of highs and lows. It is hard to reconcile the 2 halves of Emma's life sometimes, it is easy to forget that she is still a young teenager and not just an all powerful ghost-keeper. The way in which Emma is treated by the Knell is a reflection of this.
Even though the title conveys that there is going to be a betrayal at some point within the plot I have to admit that when the revelation came it really did take me by surprise. I actually shock my head at the book, I just did not want to believe it. Lee Nichols peppers the plot with red herrings and misdirection skilfully. This book certainly is not predictable.
The framework for the plot is set out in the first book Deception the story progresses with dynamic action in Betrayal all the while allowing the characterisations to really shine through.
I have to say I am slightly disappointed in Bennett. Although the obstacles between him and Emma seem insurmountable, I really wish he had chosen a different way to try to overcome them. This maybe a deliberate plot development by Lee Nichols but I really wanted to slap him in this book. Silly boy.
*Semi Spoiler Alert* - I really hope they discover a way to let ghost-keepers be together without one of them losing their powers.
As I said in my review of Deception (here) this series is addictive. I am so glad I only have to wait until December for the third book. This series just rocks my socks off and not just because my name is Emma. It blends contemporary issues with paranormal romance *swoon*. Addictive and utterly brilliant.