Monday, August 25, 2014

Ghost House by Alexandra Adornetto

Ghost House by Alexandra Adornetto
Release Date - August 26, 2014
Publisher Website - Harlequin Teen
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 320 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received in exchange for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
From the New York Times bestselling author of Halo comes the start of a beautiful and powerful new series.

After the loss of her mother, Chloe Kennedy starts seeing the ghosts that haunted her as a young girl again. Spending time at her grandmother's country estate in the south of England is her chance to get away from her grief and the spirits that haunt her. Until she meets a mysterious stranger…

Alexander Reade is 157 years dead, with secrets darker than the lake surrounding Grange Hall and a lifelike presence that draws Chloe more strongly than any ghost before. But the bond between them awakens the vengeful spirit of Alexander's past love, Isobel. And she will stop at nothing to destroy anyone who threatens to take him from her.

To stop Isobel, Chloe must push her developing abilities to their most dangerous limits, even if it means losing Alex forever… and giving the hungry dead a chance to claim her for their own.
Ghost stories have always intrigued me. Particularly ghost stories that mix in a little romance. Throw in anything but typical sounding love triangle and this novel piqued my interest. While the novel's romance didn't work for me, it did end up surprising me with other elements.

The atmosphere and tone of the novel nicely allowed for a haunting setting. The foggy country estate is a setting destined for ghosts, and tragic pasts. It is a predictable, but successful, setting that carries the tone throughout the entire novel. A lot in this novel hinges on it's setting, and it's something that did work in the novel.

The ghost mythology, particularly in relation to Chloe and her abilities, is one that unravels slowly. It's unusual that the main character is already aware of her abilities at the beginning of the book, and it was a refreshing change. Her ability to see ghosts is something that she's had to deal with from a young age and something she's come to accept. While the hows and whys are a mystery to her, she's grown to see it as part of her life. This allowed the story to move forward much more quickly and let it's focus be elsewhere. Answers to the many questions of how her abilities came to be, or even how they work, are touched upon during the novel. The answers given are satisfying, even if it's something that will be explored and expanded on during the entire series. Chloe's curiosity, and eagerness to learn is delightful, even if it's driven from a survivalist stand point. It's this drive that gives me faith that learning more will be a large part of her character journey.

Alexander Reade is your average teen love interest. Good looking, charming, and haunted. The flashbacks into his life provided the most information about his character and were desperately needed. The author did make a point of infusing him with mannerisms, characteristics, and a demeanor fitting his time period. She balances his old fashionedness with Chloe's personality so that they complimented each other.

The romance was your usual insta-love situation. It was rushed, immediate, and intense. The reasons for the attraction between them were never explored. The interaction between the characters was not enough to develop the level of feelings that are claimed. It left me feeling disinterested in the relationship and the characters. Separately the characters work, but the chemistry never came through when they were together. A slower build, and some real connections being built could have helped establish a foundation over the course of a series, but everything seemed to happen much too quickly to feel genuine.

After reading the synopsis I was concerned that the 'love triangle' would be predictable, and the villainess nothing more than a caricature. It was therefore a pleasant surprise to find that Isobel is driven by more than jealousy. Her story is fleshed out more than I anticipated, and she feels like a fully established character. The histories of these ghosts are what provided an extra layer to the story. It was unexpected, but it completed the story. It allowed for these characters, who appeared undeveloped, to have some depth.

A novel that ended up being an okay read for me. There is plenty of intriguing potential in the mythology, but the romance left me feeling disconnected. In the end there are enough tantalizing teases to interest me in the sequel, even if I wasn't captivated the way I had hoped.

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