Monday, June 15, 2015

Review: Compulsion

Title: Compulsion
Author: Martina Boone
Series: Heirs of Walden Island
Volume: 1
Genre: Paranormal, Gothic Fantasy, Southern Gothic

A Quick Introduction: Barrie Watson is out in the world for the first time. After growing up isolated by her mother's refusal to leave the house, she's heading to a family home she didn't know existed. She didn't realise she had living family, much less that her mother has a twin. Living on the former plantation, Barrie struggles to understand the secrets of her new family, the island, and the supernatural gift that she was born with.

Out of Ten: 6/10

Review at a Glance: Despite stumbling on plot and characters, this Southern Gothic novel creates an intriguing atmosphere.

Review: I've been meaning to read this book since it came out last year, and I finally got around to it. I didn't really have expectations, and found a fairly enjoyable, though not enthralling.

Barrie is in a completely new environment, doing her best to figure a lot of things out. Her mother refused to spend time outside after being horribly scarred by a fire, and Barrie was pretty isolated growing up. She's trying to make connections with people in the place that is to be in her new home. While she isn't someone I particularly connected to, she still felt like a fairly real character. Eight sort of bothered me sometimes (as he also sort of bothered Barrie sometimes), and their relationship felt a little inconsistent because of that it.

This novel has a lot in the way of atmosphere, and not much at all in the way of plot. It isn't that there's no plot, its more that what plot is there isn't that engaging. There is an over-reaching story, but there are really only hints of it in this first book. There wasn't much focus on a plot, and a lot of events felt unconnected, and there are aspects of the world that still have yet to be explained, though this is mostly because Barrie doesn't know them

This book also has a lot of classic Gothic elements (old mansions, dark secrets, betrayals, people being buried alive, all that good stuff). They all contributed to the atmosphere of the book, which was the most vivid part of the novel. The whole story feels almost... burnished. Overall it has a very warm feeling, but at the same time there's a sense of something rotten at the heart, which was something that I really quite liked.

Overall, while this novel had some very noticeable weakness in plot and characters, the atmosphere and Gothic elements were what really kept me reading. This wasn't a book that I found myself with complicated feelings about- I didn't hate it, but, at the same time, I wasn't any more than mildly interested.

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