Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Book Review: Deception by Lee Nichols

When Emma Vaile’s parents go missing while away on a mysterious business trip, she’s left all alone in her creepy old house. But her brother’s very cute best friend, Bennett Stern—Emma’s knight in J. Crew armor—arrives unexpectedly to whisk her away to New England. There, Emma settles into his family’s museum-like mansion and enrolls at an old-fashioned private school. She quickly finds friends in the popular legacy crowd at Thatcher and spends her free time crushing on Bennett. But the eerie visions she’s been hiding from everyone have gotten worse. Emma has memories of Thatcher that she can’t explain—it’s as if she’s returning home to a place she’s never been. Finally, Emma confides in Bennett and learns she is a ghostkeeper, a person who can communicate with ghosts. Bennett brought Emma to Thatcher to protect her, but now he needs her help tracking an other-worldly murderer.

A rich New England setting filled with mystery, tradition, and prep-school intrigue make Deception the perfect choice for fans of series like Kate Brian’s Private, as well as all those paranormal fans. The shocking ending will leave readers desperate for book two. (From Goodreads)

When I first heard about Deception, it was described as Private meets Beautiful Creatures. As I enjoyed both of those books, I couldn't wait to pick up a copy. After reading Deception, however, I'd say that it's unfair to compare it to anything else. Nichols has managed to write a paranormal novel that contains mystery, suspense, romance, and is utterly unique.

One of the things that makes Deception such an uncommon story is the way that Nichols dealt with the paranormal. The idea of ghostkeepers, people who have an ability that allows them to interact with ghosts, was, for lack of a better word, really cool. I particularly liked that different ghostkeepers had different abilities. Some were able to summon ghosts, others to dispel them, and some even had the power to compel ghost to do things for them. I also loved that there was Latin incorporated into the story. I took Latin in high school, and college, so I geeked out a bit when I was able to read it.

As for Emma, I felt a little bit of pity for her. Her family has disappeared, her best friend isn't talking to her, and her new friend has just stabbed her in the back. She's also worryied about her sanity for half of the book. I really liked the way that Nichols portrayed this in the book. I thought this was a fairly accurate description of what might happen if a person were really able to see ghosts. They would probably try to deny it, and try to justify their experiences. Despite all of the negative things happening to her, Emma was still a fun character. She was smart, sassy, and funny (especially when speaking in Latin).

There was only one problem that I had with the story, and that was the character Jared. At the beginning of the story, Jared is Emma's crush. In fact, she goes so far as to call him her fixation. Once Bennett appears, though, Jared is practically forgotten. After reading the book, I realized that there are really only one or two other scenes where Jared is briefly mentioned. I didn't really think he was a necessary character, and wouldn't have missed him had he been taken out of the book completely. If he had been removed, I think that I would have been able to truly appreciate the feelings that Emma had developed for Bennett two years prior to the start of the story.

Deception is a great start to the Haunting Emma series. It's suspenseful, spring-tingling, and I couldn't put it down. I can't wait for more from Nichols!

By Lee Nichols
Published by Bloomsbury USA
310 Pages
Rating: B+

Thanks to Kate at Bloomsbury for giving me the chance to read this one!

Check back tomorrow for an interview with the author, and a giveaway


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Anonymous said...

Great review! It souns really spooky I'll have to pick this one up!

Dahlia (TheBookShopaholic) said...

I'm was trying to decide whether to buy this or not, then your review caught my eye. I'm still thinking about it, but I might have to give this a go. Thanks for the review!

Lale said...

There's Latin?! I have to get this and have my own geek moment. One of the reasons I loved reading X-Men fanfic was that I could understand all of Gambit's french. ;)
I think I'll probably agree on the Jared front, it's a pet peeve of mine and something I thought about most of the first half of 'Fallen'. Thanks for the great review!

Tales of Whimsy said...

FAB review. I couldn't put it down either!

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