Title: DeceptionSeries: Haunting Emma #1Author: Lee NicholsPublisher: BloomsburyPublication Date: 5 sep 2011Synopsis: From AmazonWhen Emma Vaile's parents leave on a mysterious business trip, it gives her the perfect excuse to be a rebellious teen. But then her best friend stops talking to her, the police crash her party and Emma finds herself in the hands of a new guardian, Bennett Stern, and on a plane to his museum-like mansion in New England. After enrolling at Thatcher Academy, Emma settles in by making friends with the popular crowd. She has memories of Thatcher she can't explain and strange visions are haunting her. Emma doesn't trust anyone any more - except maybe Bennett. But he's about to reveal a ghostly secret to her. One that will explain the visions ...and make Emma fear for her life.
Firstly I have to warn you that I am utterly, utterly biased about this book, how could I not be, the kick-ass female lead is called Emma (squee) so obviously I am going to think it is me and love it entirely [ : D ]
Written in first person narrative from Emma's perspective (yes I did put myself in that role) she has a brilliant narrative voice that broadcasts the inner workings of her mind beautifully providing humour and insight. Initially Emma appears small (although she is petite I did not mean physically small) and defenceless.
The imagery is quietly foreboding bring goosebumps up my arms especially at the description of the shadows and funeral urns. The sense that everything is not as it appears emanates from the pages. Questions regarding Emma's childhood and the wherabouts of the rest of her family are built upon within the plot. Tidbits of information are revealed in tantalizing nibbles. The weaving of re-incarnation and the witch trails added depth to the plot.
Heatbreaking events lead to Emma being taken into care, I seriously wanted to slap a few people for this. This is where the Knight in shining armour steps into the story in the form of Bennett *swoon*. For some reason whenever I think of Bennett I keep picturing Mr Darcy in my head - why I have absolutely no idea but I do, I think it may be something to do with the picture on the cover.
From the beginning there are some serious emotions at play between Emma and Bennett. Although I think that Bennett tries to deter these feelings because of certain things *no spoilers but it is so hard* you can't fight destiny. You already know how much I love the idea of soul-mates and destiny; and this is how I picture Emma and Bennett. Unfortunately, the saying 'the course of true love never runs smoothly' also comes to mind when thinking of this pair. It is frustrating for both myself and Emma. The full extent of these obsticles is revealed through the story and I have to say I was reduced to tears.
Emma really is a wonderful character (and I am not just saying that because she has my name) her progression from small, defenceless teen at the beginning to powerful ghostkeeper is amazing to witness. Her maturity shown at the beginning with her responsibility being left alone to cope with the family business; really shines in her ability to take things in her stride. Her acceptance of ghost-keeping and the development of her powers are a reflection of the strength of her natural ability. Above all else Emma is a lovely person and I could not understand how anyone could be horrible to her. Neaos, on the other hand, is utterly terrifying, the incident in Emma's childhood made me shudder.
Although I loved both Emma and Bennett I think my favourite character is The Rake; as his personal story unfolded I just liked him all the more.
There really is a tremendous mix of personalities portrayed with the characters in this book. I think I actually prefer the ghosts to the 'real' people; seriously I want to live in that house with a maid that can do hair/make-up and a french chef that cooks the most amazing meals *bliss*
The storyline is multi-layered yet has a common thread that ties al the levels together. It takes very skilled writing to be able to keep all the levels progressing. I cannot wait to see where this story goes. I really want to see more of Emma kicking wraiths into oblivion.
A great start to what promises to be an addictive series.