SOURCE: Giveaway Win
TITLE: Mary Hades
AUTHOR: Sarah Dalton
SERIES: Mary Hades (#1)
GENRE: Young Adult, Horror, Romance, Mystery
RATING: 4/5 Stars
Not many seventeen year old girls have a best friend who’s a ghost, but then Mary Hades isn’t your average teenager.
Scarred physically and mentally from a fire, her parents decide a holiday to an idyllic village in North Yorkshire will help her recover. Nestled in the middle of five moors, Mary expects to have a boring week stuck in a caravan with her parents. Little does she know, evil lurks in the campsite…
Seth Lockwood—a local fairground worker with a dark secret—might be the key to uncovering the murky history that has blighted Nettleby. But Mary is drawn to him in a way that has her questioning her judgement.
Helped by her dead best friend and a quirky gay Goth couple, Mary must stop the unusual deaths occurring in Nettleby. But can she prevent her heart from being broken?
What I Liked:
- I really liked the plot concept for this one, it felt like something I hadn't seen before. Most people know that I don't read many Murder Mystery books because I find that I have to be in the right mood for them. It turns out I was for this one, especially when the detective of the story has a ghostly sidekick helping her out. Dalton's writing was impressive too (though a little basic and juvenile at times). It had some really quotable moments that I enjoyed reading a lot, and certainly had me hooked! Overall I found myself feeling a little creeped out while reading, but mostly having fun!
- The romance in this book was really enjoyable. Seth was brooding, mysterious and attractive with dark secrets just waiting to be discovered. I really adore love interests like that, so I was sold pretty much instantly. In such a shot book, there was a pretty big dose of insta-love but I'm willing to let that go because I really shipped these two!
What I Disliked:
- I had mixed feelings on the characters and it was largely to do with the fact that there wasn't enough book space to develop them more fully. Mary herself was a likeable enough heroine, but she was far too trusting and came across as a little naive. She was certainly happy to share her secrets with basically everyone she met, so I couldn't really understand why she hadn't done the same with her parents who she knew she could actually trust. Lacey, her recently deceased best friend, I found a little irritating. Dalton was trying to highlight that since dying, Lacey was frightened and bitter. Instead it came across as moody and possessive. I wish I had been able to know Lacey before she died and grow attached to her character, perhaps the story could have focused more on the horrible doctor we met briefly at the beginning? Or even some flashbacks?
- I felt like the ending let me down a little. The ghost that Mary and Lacey were trying to find was built up to be so powerful and terrifying that I expected a huge showdown to finish with. Instead, the story sort of fizzled out and felt very anti-climactic. Not only that, but I was not very happy with the way that the romance ended at all and it left me with a pretty sour feeling.
The overall tone of this book was hugely enjoyable and I really loved the premise. The plot was, for the most part, well thought-out. The romance sub-plot (which wouldn't normally interest me a whole bunch) really got to me despite being a bit cliché, and the cast was diverse with a lot of personality which I like to read in YA. There were a few flaws: characters still felt underdeveloped, a disappointing ending, and the back-story could have used a lot more detail (I would in fact like to read a whole book detailing Mary's stay on the Magdalena ward to put things into perspective). I do want to read more of this series however, because I feel like these issues can be fixed in later books and I think the series as a whole has a lot of potential!