Series: Rain Cacique #1
Published by St Martin's Griffin on December 3rd, 2013
Genres: fantasy, middle grade
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Rain of the Ghosts is the first in Greg Weisman's series about an adventurous young girl, Rain Cacique, who discovers she has a mystery to solve, a mission to complete and, oh, yes, the ability to see ghosts.Welcome to the Prospero Keys (or as the locals call them: the Ghost Keys), a beautiful chain of tropical islands on the edge of the Bermuda Triangle. Rain Cacique is water-skiing with her two best friends Charlie and Miranda when Rain sees her father waiting for her at the dock. Sebastian Bohique, her maternal grandfather, has passed away. He was the only person who ever made Rain feel special. The only one who believed she could do something important with her life. The only thing she has left to remember him by is the armband he used to wear: two gold snakes intertwined, clasping each other’s tails in their mouths. Only the armband . . . and the gift it brings: Rain can see dead people. Starting with the Dark Man: a ghost determined to reveal the Ghost Keys’ hidden world of mystery and mysticism, intrigue and adventure.
Before I get started, this is going to be a pretty short review. It’s a short book and I just don’t have a lot to say. It’s a simple novel, it’s very much on the surface, and it lacks the depth I was hoping it would have. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad, it just means I expected more. I can easily see someone saying to me, “But it’s a kids book; it’s a middle grade novel. What did you expect?” Well, in my opinion, that’s no excuse. Just because a book is written for kids doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have depth or emotion. I can tell that there was an attempt to do this, but I feel it lacked execution.
Okay, so the plot. It was somewhat fun and exciting, but for a pretty short novel, it took a bit to get going. And it was also extremely misleading. Because see, the narrator of Rain of the Ghosts is a dog. That would be a whole lot cuter than it sounded if it wasn’t confusing. You don’t find this out until later on, and I firmly believe the novel would have made a lot more sense if it was not kept from the reader. Early on, you learn that someone is observing Rain and telling the story, but the author keeps it a mystery which I feel was the wrong decision to make. It’s confusing and it affected my enjoyment of the novel, especially since it doesn’t end up mattering in the least WHO told the story. Third person omniscient POVs are tricky, and I don’t feel this one worked well at all. The transitions were weird and it definitely didn’t feel like the entire book was in this POV and I feel it should have.
Good things? The plot was fun, even if it was pretty simple and predictable. I don’t deduct for predictable plots in MG novels because I don’t feel like that matters. I gave this one 3 stars because of the lackluster writing and lack of depth in characters. I finished it yesterday and I’ve already forgotten most of the characters’ names. A few differing characteristics does not make a character have depth. I think Rain was cute and adorable, but she’s not memorable, and I feel for her over the loss of her grandfather, but I even felt that was lacking in emotion. I think there’s a possibility that this series might get good when you factor in the mystery aspects, but I had an issue with believability as far as that was concerned too. I found the ending to be a bit ridiculous.
This is book one of a series, and if this is any indication, I have no interest in reading the rest of it. The book is cute, it’s fun, but I’ll forget about it tomorrow. But it’s readable and that’s why I’m giving it two stars. It’s just not bringing anything new or special to its genre. I wish I could recommend this one, but unfortunately I can’t.