I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.A Magic Dark and Bright by Jenny Adams Perinovic
Series: The Asylum Saga #1
Published by Bookish Group Press on April 28, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance, YA
She meant to help a ghost...not unleash a curse.
Amelia Dupree hasn’t seen the Woman in White since the night her brother died.
The ghost seems to have disappeared from the woods surrounding Asylum, Pennsylvania—that is, until Charlie Blue moves into the creepy old MacAllister House next door. Amelia can’t help liking him, even though she spent her childhood thinking his grandmother was a witch. And she definitely can’t ignore the connection between his arrival and the Woman in White’s return.
Then Amelia learns that the Woman in White is a prisoner, trapped between the worlds of the living and the dead. Devastated by the idea that her brother could be suffering a similar fate, Amelia decides to do whatever it takes to help the Woman in White find peace--and Charlie agrees to help her.
But when Amelia’s classmates start to drown in the Susquehanna River, one right after another, rumors swirl as people begin to connect the timing of Charlie’s arrival with the unexplained deaths. As Charlie and Amelia uncover the dark history of Asylum, they realize they may have unleashed an unspeakable evil. One they have to stop before everything they love is destroyed.
This book was an interesting one. I didn’t really have any sort of expectations going in as this is Perinovic’s first novel…so that didn’t affect my rating at all, but it’s still hard for me to exactly place my rating for this on a scale.
I feel as if it’s supposed to be a horror/romance/paranormal/mystery novel all combined. To me, there were too many genres that all ended up competing with each other and left me…underwhelmed. For instance there just seemed to be these random “horror” moments interspersed throughout the novel that weren’t really scary because it quickly moved on to something completely different. Like quite literally there was a creepy Exorcist this-girl-just-got-possessed moment and on the same page, they were flirtatiously making jokes and laughing. That is not how any normal 17-year-old would react. And it lost all “scariness” because of it. It could have been super creepy…but it just wasn’t. That’s just an example but I think this novel would have been a lot better if it had been written focused on the solely on the horror and the scariness. And, of course, it’s YA so romance is a good thing but this seemed forced and choppy in many aspects.
Besides the competing genres, the characters just didn’t do it for me. I read some reviews where people raved about the great character development but I just didn’t see it. All the male characters had the same personality – charming and sweet but also nervous and kind of shy (around cute girls, you know) – and the evil characters were super cliché. And with one of the characters there was supposed to be a big surprise twist…but you could see the twist clearly almost the moment you meet the character. If you can’t tell, I’m trying not to give away who these characters are because I don’t want to ruin it for you if you decide to read it. I just really felt almost nothing for any of the characters. And the characters are usually my absolute favorite part so that really disappointed me.
And, oh, the plot holes! There were so many things that I didn’t understand when I got to the last page. And, yes, there is going to be a sequel and maybe I’d understand better after that…but I should not have as many questions as I do coming out of a book. They’re just plot-holey questions that I don’t understand, things that don’t quite seem right to me and that it seems like Perinovic attempted to explain them but really just kind of skated over them. My notes towards the end of the book are just filled with questions, questions, and more questions. And not in a good, oh-that’s-really-intriguing-let-me-ask-you-more kind of way.
The Cliff-hanger Ending. Let me tell you my opinion on this. I hate abrupt cliffhanger endings. Maybe I should write a post solely about this because I have a lot of feelings. I just feel like they’re used as a manipulative tool to get readers to come back for the second book. And maybe that’s the way things are going in this Netflix, binge-watching era…but I just think authors can do better. Obviously authors know what’s going to happen after this cliff-hanger moment, but they leave it there so we have to know what happens next. But if you can write well-enough, you shouldn’t need this crazy moment. Exciting things can happen at the end of a book. Things can happen that make you want to know what happens next…but the book should not end in the middle of a scene. Is what I’m saying making sense? (Okay, it’s decided…I’m going to write a post about this.) Literally in this book, the climax was in the last ten pages and then it ended and the reader is left with no closure and many unanswered questions.
But despite all these things (that I just ranted about), I enjoyed reading this book and I never thought about giving up. And these things are really all just my opinion and many people who have already reviewed it on Goodreads don’t agree with me…so give it a try. It may just be your cup of tea. And honestly I probably will still read the sequel and hope that Perinovic’s second novel will stand taller than the first.