Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My review of "POSSESS" by Gretchen McNeil

I'm not a professional book reviewer, but I have experience in reviewing video games, so I hope that knowledge comes into use and serves to be valuable.

Having said that, this review is about the debut novel POSSESS by Gretchen McNeil. Now, for those of you who don't know anything about this novel, you could go look it up or you can read the following blurb, which comes from the publisher:
Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her over-protective mom, by Matt Quinn, the cute son of a local police sergeant, and by the eerie voices she can suddenly and inexplicably hear. Unfortunately for Bridget, the voices are demons—and Bridget possesses the rare ability to banish them back to whatever hell they came from. Literally.

Terrified to tell her friends or family about this new power, Bridget confides in San Francisco’s senior exorcist, Monsignor Renault. The monsignor enlists her help in increasingly dangerous cases of demonic possession, but just as she is starting to come to terms with her freakish new role, Bridget receives a startling message from one of the demons. And when one of her oldest friends is killed, Bridget realizes she’s in deeper than she ever thought possible. Now she must unlock the secret to the demons’ plan before someone else close to her winds up dead—or worse, the human vessel for a demon king.
That's the set up. "Bridge" is a teen who really just wants to be normal and left to her own devices--nothing new there--but therein ends normalcy. See, she can hear demons and has the power to send them back to Hell, which is a good thing. She's under the tutelage of a pair of Catholic priests for her burgeoning exorcism alter-ego, after-hours lifestyle. I can't really tell you more or I give so much away.

The story has some great imagery, some creepy, some mundane. Gretchen tells us all about the all-pervasive fog as if it was almost a living thing.

There are some characters I wanted to slap the crap out of. This too, is good.

....aaaand it sets itself up for a sequel, should she choose to lean in that direction. Peachy keen, jelly bean. Sequels are good too.

Is there bad? Well, I have to say...yes. And the bad is that I figured out who the "bad guy" was before it was told to me. Why? I don't know, just all of a sudden I was like "Hey, that dude is not cool." I ended up being right. But, if this is all that's "bad," and it is, then there's not much to worry about is there? (I admit, one character I thought was a "write off annoyance" does prove to be important...so didn't see that coming.)

How do I rate it? Well I will be using the same method I use when I rate a movie: on a scale from 1 to 10. And as tradition will have it, 1 is sucktastic, and 10 is "OMG, you totally killed it out the the park and I never need to read another book ever again!" Ok, so that's overly dramatic, but you get the idea.

Here's the scale:

1 -- YOU SUCK! DIE!! No, seriously, go off someplace quiet and end yourself.
2 -- Did you even try? At least you didn't get a "1", so you get to live!
3 -- Wow, you really put in a terrible effort; but thanks for the attempt.
4 -- If you'd only had tried a little harder, I would have been entertained. I'm sorry you just barely missed the cut.
5 -- I was entertained. This would be a solid "C" grade in school, or a 3 out of 5 stars from anyone else.
6 -- This is good stuff, Go read this. You'll be happy you did. Easily 3 and a half stars.
7 -- This is inspirational, awe inspiring, new genre-defining stuff! Whoa, dude, like whoa... 4 stars.
8 -- Important literature goes here. Cream of the crop. Top end. This is 4 and a half star awesome.
9 -- Practically perfect in every way. Love is too mild a term for this! 5 stars. Damn! Just plain, DAMN!
10 -- Nobody gets a 10, that's impossible. You can try, but you will never be this level of flawless. Ever. It's impossible for humans to obtain.

I give Possess a  "6" -- This is the kind of thing I hope my first novel can do. Gretchen McNeil, you did good, girl; and I'm happy I read the book. You set a high mark,  this is a solid book, and I think you'll like it. No wonder she got a deal for another tale! :)

This is a solid "Buy!"

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