Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Gruesome visions but epically disappointing

Someone call  VisionCrest the pinnacle of religious enlightenment.

Others call it a powerful cult.

For seventeen years,  Harlow Wintergreen had called it her life.

As the adopted daughter of VisionCrest's patriarch, Harlow is expected to be perfect at all times.  The other Ministry teens must see her as a paragon of integrity.  The world must see her as a future leader.

Despite the constant scrutiny, Harlow has managed to keep a dark and dangerous secret, even from her best friend and boy she loved.  She hears a voice in her head that seems to have a mind of its own, plaguing her with violent and bloody visions..  It commands her to kill,  And the urge to obey is getting harder and harder to control ...

I really don’t know what I expected when I started this book but what I got was not it.  Initially this reader found the book tedious beyond belief but the all of a sudden after the trip to the punk club in Japan the action really started and I had to keep reading.  I was up until about 5am when I had to finally call it a night, or rather a morning.  I then started it again at the next available opportunity.

For a teen, young adult book this does to shy away from graphic violence (that is horrifically bloody and real), psychological tension or epic creepiness.  However, the characters portrayed in the story left a lot to be desired.  They were very one dimensional and the pain protagonist Harlow had very few redeeming qualities and this reader did not connect with her.

Harlow’s supposed best friend was awful; all false brightness and ‘swizzlesticks’.  When Harlow needed to confide in someone (and she had been warned not to) she chose to reveal her secret to Dora (having sworn her to secrecy).  Dora then blabbed that same secret to her romantic interest.  For sure Dora is not the sort of friend that Harlow thought she was (Mr Wang’s warning rings loud and clear.)

One of the characters I did really like was Mrs Wang, she had such an edge to her so you never really knew whether she was on your side or not.

I do not normally read books that are based in a religious cult but then I suppose originally Christianity was considered to be a cult, why else was Christ executed.  The world building of VisionCrest, for me, left a lot to be desired.  What were their teachings, who did they worship and what was their deeper message?

Don’t get me wrong I love a good horror book as much as the next person but this was not so much a horror book as a gorefest.  Yes the heroine (for want of a better term) has visions and they are horrific they are not really real.

For a spelling bee champion there are a load of spelling and grammar mistakes that should not have made it this far!  And then there was the predicable and rather naff ending.  And then there was the ending which was totally naff!  The ending of this book was predictable, such a let-down after that adrenaline fuelled ride.  It is also not in keeping with the remainder of the story.  So will this reader read the sequel – no she won’t.  If one dimensional, poorly described people, worlds and religions are your thing then you may well enjoy this book. 

Full Disclosure: I received a free copy from Netgalley for an honest review.

I rated this as 1 star on Netgalley and It was ok' on Goodreads (2 stars) and Amazon (3 stars).

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