I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Shutter by Courtney Alameda
Published by Feiwel & Friends on February 3, 2015
Source: the publisher
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Horror has a new name: introducing Courtney Alameda.
Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She's aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera's technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.
When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn't exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she's faced before . . . or die trying.
Lock, stock, and lens, she’s in for one hell of a week.
Shutter is pretty much everything I could want in a book and then some. From the second I learned the premise, I knew I had to have it and I couldn’t wait to read it! It has demons, demon hunters, Van Helsing descendants, Dracula mythology and some amazing characters! I really loved the world that Courtney Alameda created, as a whole.
Micheline was a tough-as-nails, pro-active heroine. One of my favorite quotes from her is, “He couldn’t do this to me, couldn’t lock me away and expect someone else to save my life.” Honestly, this line completely describes Micheline’s personality. She was head-strong, refusing to sit on the sidelines while others fought her battles. She didn’t want to wait for someone else to save her. But her stubborn personality also meant she was wreckless at times, often getting herself into worse predicaments than if she had just been patient and waited for – or asked for – help. Still, I liked her leadership and how protective she was of her “boys.”
I really loved Ryder. He was such a great character. He was very loyal to Micheline’s father and wanted to follow all the rules, yet he broke the biggest, most important rule of them all. He was a strong fighter and he and Micheline worked well together. I completely shipped them!!! There was one moment where I was so terrified for him, my heart was ponding a mile a minute. I literally had to stop reading and scream “NO!! THAT DID NOT JUST HAPPEN!!!!!”
Oliver was one of my favorite secondary characters. I loved his backstory – well, what we learned of it – and his role in the group. I really would have loved to get to know him better. Like with Ryder, there were several moments where I feared for Oliver and his safety. I really loved Jude, as well. He seemed to have the most tragic back-story of the three boys and I just wanted to reach into the book and give him a hug. He tried so hard to be tough, but I could tell that underneath all of that, he was just a nice guy who wanted to do his job right and protect his friends. I definitely think Micheline’s protectiveness rubbed off on me; I was constantly panicking over the boys, praying they were okay and alive and panicking when they were hurt, injured – or worse.. And Gemma… Sigh.. :(
Kennedy was an awesome character! For some reason, he kind of reminded me of Finnick from Hunger Games. He was a good little soldier who just wanted to do what was right. And even though I 100% shipped Micheline and Ryder, there was a small part of me that could completely see Micheline and Kennedy together. Another character worth mentioning is Bianca. She was one tough cookie and I wish we could have learned more about her.
Obviously, I couldn’t stand Micheline’s father, though I think he had his reasons… Maybe.. I hope.. And obviously I could’t stand Luca. I knew, right off the bat, that Micheline shouldn’t trust him.. I was completely shocked by his identity reveal, though. I mean, I guessed something close to what it really was, but I never imagined it being what it was. It was a bit cliche but also completely perfect
The camera aspect of the book was really intriguing and unique, though some of the technical stuff went right over my head. It definitely added to the story and I don’t think the book could have worked without it, but I just had trouble understanding some of it. The idea of the soulchain curse was so interesting, though! It kind of reminded me of the old AOL days when you’d send chain mail to all your friends, “Send this to 15 people within the hour or you’ll be cursed with bad luck for the next 20 years.” I don’t know if anyone else felt that way … Or if I’m dating myself here and half of you don’t even know what AOL is…. But it’s all I could think about as I read!
The ending was crazy intense. The Obscura was creepy and reminded me of the Netherworld in Rachel Vincent’s Soul Screamers books. I guessed who the entity was fairly early on, but my theories on the entity’s motives were only half right. Still, even with guessing the big twist early on, I still loved the ending and how crazy, intense and epic it was.
I only had a few minor issues with Shutter. The pace slowed down a lot in Night Three. I had to really push myself to read this section. However, Night Four really picks up in speed and intensity. As I mentioned earlier, some of the technological mumbo jumbo with the cameras went over my head, though the camera aspect was awesome and I loved how it made the book unique. Finally, I’m a horror buff and I had heard Shutter was seriously creepy. I’m a tough nut to crack when it comes to horror. Not much makes me jump, so I wasn’t as creeped out by Shutter as I’d hoped to be. There were definitely some disgusting scenes that made me shudder and the cover for sure creeps me out. So, I would have liked to see.. more, but again, I LOVE horror and not much creeps me out. I’ve spoken to others who couldn’t even read Shutter at night because it creeped them out so much!
Overall, not only did Shutter meet my expectations, it exceeded them. I loved the characters, the world, the explanations/mythology and pretty much everything about this book. I had a few slight issues, but they didn’t effect my feelings on the book or my rating at all. I’m crossing my fingers this is a series because I’m desperate to explore this world more. I want to learn more about the various species of necros and I want to learn more about the characters. I want to see more of the back-story and discover more about Luca and what his presence means for Helsing Corps. Really, I just want to read another Courtney Alameda book. I definitely think she’s an author to watch out for. I can’t wait to see what she does next!