Thursday, January 26, 2012
Beyond the Grave by Mara Purnhagen
This is the last book in this series, which consists of three actual books and two novellas that take place between the books' events. I didn't read the second novella, since I found the first one weak.
I have read the other two books, though. I really liked the first one, Past Midnight, and was disappointed with the second, One Hundred Candles. Beyond the Grave has been out for a while, but I didn't buy a copy until recently because I had lost interest in the series.
The problems that I saw in the second book are still present in this one, unfortunately. Charlotte is still passive and doesn't make connections between events/people that are glaringly obvious to the reader. There's not as much of the goofy new age crystal beliefs, but there's a character who's not-a-guardian-angel-but-really-he-sort-of-is, although I think he's actually called a protector. The plot is all about Charlotte being pursued by a demonic entity (not-a-demon-but-really-he-sort-of-is).
I got really tired of Charlotte waffling back and forth about her boyfriend Noah. Noah lies to her, has stopped attending school and bathing, and admits to chronic insomnia and severe bouts of sleepwalking. He has a non-healing bruise on his neck from where the demon from the last book touched him. Yet Charlotte only worries about him intermittently, and when they're together, she convinces herself that everything's okay. This is one girl who is all ready for her first dysfunctional adult relationship.
Part of the plot concerns Charlotte's mother, who is in a coma after the events of the previous book. Charlotte's grief and uncertainty about her mother, and her relationship with her father, is more compelling than anything else in the book, eclipsing the rest of the plot and frankly making all the woo-woo ghosty stuff seem frivolous. There's also a subplot of two characters getting married, which got way too much page-time.
I like Purnhagen's writing, though. I'll be interested to see what she does next. I hope it doesn't include crystals.