Book Review: Shutter

Posted January 29, 2015 by Kara in book review, Kara / 1 Comment

Book Review: ShutterShutter by Courtney Alameda
Published by Feiwel and Friends on February 3rd, 2015
Genres: horror, young adult
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She's aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera's technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.

When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn't exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she's faced before . . . or die trying.

Lock, stock, and lens, she’s in for one hell of a week.

Gosh, I didn’t know what to expect from Shutter. And my 2015 reading year is off to such a great start because this book was so much fun!

Okay, but wait. Before I get started, I have to trigger warning for child abuse. Because there was one instance of it in the book that I was not able to entirely get over. I didn’t feel that it was trivialized exactly, but I did feel like daddy got off too easily for what he did. That said and out of the way, I want to move on to the rest of the book.

The plot of this book was great and it was just one intense ghost fest for almost the entire thing! Micheline is a tetrachromat, which means she photographs ghost energy to capture them on camera film. Pretty much exactly like the game, Fatal Frame, if you have ever played that. Speaking of which, I kind of feel like this game was one part FF and one part Ghostbusters, in that there is a team of four hunters and they back each other up fighting different types of ghosts and being a team. There is even a brainy one, like Spengler, and a cocky one with the ladies like Venkman.

The lore is fun, if a little confusing. Some of the explanations were just so scientific and beyond the realm of my brain. I am not so great at science. And even if it’s not technically REAL science, it still felt like it. Like for instance, how the mirrors work. I got the whole part about how the anti-mirrors functioned, but I didn’t understand how thy used the mirrors to strengthen her shots to capture the antagonist. I still managed to enjoy it though despite my issues.

So there is this super powerful ghost that is killing people at a hospital and it has murdered four exorcists, some patients and hospital staff when Micheline Helsing (yes, that Helsing) shows up with her team to try and take down the ghost. But she does something really stupid and they get infected with a soul chain which means they have seven days or less to race through the city of San Francisco and take down the ghost. On top of all of this, Micheline has a douchebag father and her mother and brothers were killed by these zombielike creatures. So ghosts aren’t the only type of monster infecting the city, and the world.

I’m not sure if this is a standalone, and I have tweeted the author to find out. (I will update if I get an answer.) One of the loose ends was not tied up so I am wondering. And there is no information on Goodreads or her website–I checked. UPDATE: I talked to the author and she said that the book was left open ended for series potential. I am not sure if there will BE a second book, but I sure hope there is.

Anyway, this book was a suspenseful blast. Maybe not my favorite book of all time, but it sure was exciting and written well. It got a little bogged down with the scientific stuff at times, but just when it was getting to be too much, the action would start up again. Definitely recommended.



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