Title: The Haunting Lessons
Author: Robert Chazz Chute & Holly Pop
Genre/Age: Sci Fi & Fantasy, Teens & YA
Publication date: December 1, 2015
How did I get the book: Review ebook copy from Ex Parte Press via NetGalley
Tamara has a good life – she graduated with good grades and has a good boyfriend. Then her boyfriend dies horribly and her life is turned upside down. She starts seeing ghosts – starting with his. This leads to her being hospitalized in a mental institution with a very bad doctor. After dealing with the situation using her new skill, she heads to New York to start over. Only to find out that ghosts are only the tip of the iceberg, the real problem is the coming demon horde.
I didn’t particularly like this book but I also didn’t hate it. Interestingly, I liked the later half of the book better but still felt that it was in need of some work. The first half just seemed to drag. Harsh but true. I felt there was a lot of unnecessary lecturing about “rules” and additional buildup that really didn’t add anything to the story like the whole section on her being in a mental hospital with a rapist doctor, what was the point? However, once Tamara moved to New York, things picked up and it wasn’t bad. Yes, I finished the book but mainly because I signed on to review it.
Interestingly, for all that I said that the first half seemed to move slowly (when reading it), time-wise in the story, it happened unrealistically quick. I mean, who gets a settlement from a mental hospital, or any hospital, that quickly. In fact, the book and the plot seemed to jump a bit around quite a bit. She’s a normal teen girl with a perfect life, her boyfriend dies horribly, she starts seeing ghosts, she’s committed to a mental hospital where she’s almost raped, she get a settlement, she heads to NY and starts working at a funeral home, then she joins a secret group to fight the coming demon Armageddon. And even though they’ve been training and preparing for years, they are horribly ill-prepared for the actual battle(s).
Oh, and she’s betrayed and lied to by pretty much everyone important to her, except her boyfriend but then, he’s dead or rather he’s her “dead farm boy boyfriend”. Seriously, if she was from a farming community in Iowa, she’d never describe him that way, especially not repeatedly. Why didn’t she just call him by name?
In some ways, it seemed like two stories that were fused together – the girl who sees ghosts and the girl who’s supposed to fight the demon Armageddon. And don’t get me started with introducing characters who are likable only to kill them off or how badly prepared the Choir Invisible (the secret group) was for the demons. The co-relation being seeing ghosts and being a part of the Choir Invisible was never explained or fleshed out.
And perhaps because I don’t read much YA but it really didn’t seem like a YA book other than the fact that Tamara had just graduated high school. I did however, like her, even if I wished she shut up a bit about the “rules”. She was strong, witty and had some great dialogue. She just never felt young.
I did like the ending though. Nice twist.
Should you read it?
I can’t recommend it but there are good reviews for the book so perhaps you might. I just didn’t enjoy it. And yes, I like fantasy and urban paranormal books, just not this one. I found it paradoxically slow but with a plot jumped around a bit too much to be convincing. And don’t get me started on all the silly, unnecessary “rules”. Despite all that, Tamara was a likable character with good dialogue, despite the “dead farm boy boyfriend” references. So maybe the next one will be better.