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Review of HAUNTED by Olivia Clements (15)

It’s only a few weeks now until my new supernatural thriller HAUNTED goes on sale! This is always the most nail-biting time for a writer, waiting to see what the world thinks of his new book! Anyway, I’m pleased to report that the first official review from the people that matter most, my Young Adult readership, is pretty darn good. This is from Olivia, an avid reader and not your typical horror fan…

Haunted-5 front only

Haunted

By William Hussey

Review by Olivia Clements

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I don’t often read Horror books as they tend to scare me witless, so I was dubious about being handed this book. But, never the less, I stiffened my shoulders, turned on a bright light and turned to the first page.

What I found was a cleverly written, action-packed horror that asks the reader to imagine when haunting becomes real. It focuses on the idea of the spirits of the dead being called back to haunt the sleepy town of Milton Lakes in the bodies they once owned. Only one girl notices the dark intention of the townspeople’s dead ancestors, fights to stop it, and to protect the people she loves. Emma Rhodes, suffering after the death of her brother, meets Nick Redway, the mysterious boy who knows about the dead. And together they go on the terrifying task of finding the machine that started the danger, and sending the spirits back to where they belong. 

The main reason why I liked this book was the suspense. I was fascinated by the idea of the Ghost Machine, a machine built to bring back the spirits of the dead, and how it would be used. Hussey has put in enough suspense to ensure the reader gets thought it. The mystery of The Circle, and why they are bringing back the dead, keeps the reader going, biting their nails until the very end of the book. 

Another factor to the book was how much I liked the characters. Emma Rhodes and Nick Redway. They are wholesome and believable, which adds effect and makes the reader feel for them. Emma has lost her brother and blames herself. The way she is written gives her a sadder, lonelier side that makes the reader love and feel sorry for her. She is that likable, daring girl we all want to be and the writer has made her so real that she almost demands our loyalty and support.

But Nick himself is another great character. He adds to the suspense of the story with his hidden past that continues to elude us. His life is clouded with mystery which goes hand in hand with the horror of his task, to send the dead back to where they came from. His struggle to keep Emma safe and fight to save the town gives him a sad, but determined feeling that enforces the reader’s attention and backing. 

A book is only ever as good as it’s characters. If that is true then this one is brilliant. The main characters are likeable and real. Each one has their flaws and separate personalities. Their feelings come across in such a convincing way that the reader has to feel them as well. Even the villains of the story demand sympathy. You can never be fully angry with them because you can see their reasons and empathise with them.

The book also appealed to me because it was believable. Each character was written so fluently that it was easy to feel what they felt. Emma could have been your average girl in school and the fact that she saves the town gives a hopeful air to the book, encouraging others to be brave like her. Even the more magical sides to the book were handled well and effectively. There were no ‘crucial coincidences’ that can seem fake, it felt plausible and made for better reading through that.

The book ends with a sudden twist, ending in an almost gut wrenching way. It contrasts to many other books by having such a non-stereotypical ending, that stays with the reader for a long time.

I cannot do any more to recommend this book than by saying it was an emotional thrill ride for the reader and presented a firm, likeable array of characters, leaving the reader with a content, confident feeling long after the last page was turned.

Wow! Thank you, Olivia, you’ve made my day!

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