Monday, October 29, 2012

Haunted by K.M. Spires

Title: Haunted
Author: K.M. Spires
Rating: 3 stars

The Plot

Anne believes that ghosts are real and that Bennett Manor is haunted. Her best friend Athena is more skeptical, so the two of them, along with Anne’s fiancé Ray decide to break in and investigate. But as the night wears on, they discover more about the people who last lived in the house and about each other.

The Good

As Anne and her friends explore Bennett Manor, they learn about the last days of Mary and Charles Bennett and their servant Elizabeth. As it starts, they know that Charles and Mary both died under mysterious circumstances and that Elizabeth was executed for their murder. As the story opens, both Anne and I expect a horror story-like experience with bleeding walls and walking corpses. What we actually get is much more interesting, as we find out that Anne’s life parallels Mary Bennett’s in unexpected ways. And we must discover whether Anne can prevent the same tragedy that befell the Bennett’s from repeating.

The Bad

I spent a lot of Haunted wondering when we were going to get to the supernatural stuff. The first half of the story consists of artificial circumstances set up so that Anne could talk to each of her friends on their own. In between this, they find things around the house, like an old diary, which mostly had me wondering why no one had seen them before. Didn’t the people who boarded up the house also go through and remove things? I guess the plot can be grateful that no one bothered to read Mary’s diary, even after someone was put on trial for her murder.

My biggest issue with Haunted, though, was the end, which means that I can’t tell you what it is without giving away spoilers. But I shall couch it in general terms and say that there is a difference between being a good person and being an idiotic doormat. Anne apparently cannot distinguish between these two and consequently comes off as an unsympathetic character that no young girl should see as a role model.

The Romance

As the story opens, Ray and Anne have been going out for two years and are planning to get married before they go off to college in the fall. Neither Athena nor Anne’s family is super-happy about this, but Anne is certain she is making the right choice for the rest of her life. But as the story wears on, Anne learns things about Ray that she didn’t know, things that could make all the difference in their relationship.

Will I read more?

I was extremely frustrated when I got to the end of Haunted. I was actually yelling at my ipad, saying things to Anne like “Why would you ever do that?” I try not to dislike on any kind of value scale, and I wouldn’t describe my reaction as “offended.” But I definitely feel as though the story and I have a fundamental disagreement about what constitutes acceptable behavior. Consequently, I have little desire to read more from the author.

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