**spoiler alert** I hesitate to only give this book 3 stars, because the writing is excellent and the book's early plotting is superb. But I don't fee**spoiler alert** I hesitate to only give this book 3 stars, because the writing is excellent and the book's early plotting is superb. But I don't feel that it really deserves 4 stars, not with the way the pre-climax meandered and the way the ending just sort of fell apart.
[VERY SPOILERY, READ THE REST AT YOUR OWN RISK!]
As a reader, in the beginning, you seem to be just as in the dark as Ann, the main character is, with her new husband Michael and Michael's relationship with his older friend and "father-figure" Ian Rickhardt. Everything seems to be "normal", but kind of strange anyway. After what seemed like only one date, Ann marries Michael, whom she doesn't seem compatible with. Ian is a bully towards Ann, even intruding on her Caribbean honeymoon with Michael to bring them a DVD of their wedding, which he paid for.
If all of that wasn't strange enough, there's "The Insect", Ann's childhood poltergeist, which grew up with her while she worked with different "doctors" to keep it imprisoned inside a "tower" within her mind. The Insect was trapped in the tower when Ann left for her honeymoon, but during her honeymoon, it somehow gets out. And when it's out, it wreaks havoc upon her world. When she was a child, it caused a storm on the lake where her family lived and wrecked their boat. As a teen, it caused a squall on Christmas when Ann and her family were on their way to her grandmother's house and ended up killing her parents and severally injuring her brother Phillip. And then there's Ann's honeymoon . . . the plane ride back.
That's when everything truly gets strange, but I was still into the plot, still curious about what was going on, still yearning to see through Ann's eyes those flashbacks to her childhood. But after Ann goes back to Toronto and ends up back at Ian's winery (where her wedding took place), I was in a hurry to finish the book because I was so annoyed with the way it was turning out. Gradually, Ann discovers that Ian, and even Michael—a man she admits she hardly knew—as well as a group of men—who call themselves "The 'Geisters", "have sex" or "rape" poltergeists (which is never explained how or why, it just "is") because that's what these men "tamed" the poltergeists to be for (again, never fully explained). The poltergeists are all attached to female "hosts", so to speak, so the men imprison the women in a sub-section of Ian's winery and spend their days in their sexual fantasy rooms with these women's ghosts, men who enjoy being terrified.
The only part I liked about the ending was Ann—who seemed to be strong and never truly afraid throughout—deciding that she's not going to be a pawn or a "vessel" to these men and thus, "merging" with her poltergeist and basically killing all the creepy, disgusting men, which was probably better than they deserved.
The novel was very creative and unique, but it was also vague in several places. For too much of it, it seemed there was a huge suspension of disbelief required, almost as if the whole concept of the novel relied on the principals of "Dungeons and Dragons" (which of course is a huge theme in the story), that it's all just an elaborate fantasy being created within someone else's head, and if you're playing, then you just have to go with it, no matter what, even if parts make no sense.
Overall, I'm left with mixed feelings. I didn't hate it but I don't have too much to gush over positively either. ...more
I decided to give up on this one after 152 pages. I was so disappointed that the plot and characters turned out to be so utterly boring; the blurb onI decided to give up on this one after 152 pages. I was so disappointed that the plot and characters turned out to be so utterly boring; the blurb on the back makes the book sound fascinating and intriguing. The pacing was too slow and the "action" was hardly there. The characters were sort of unlikeable, from the main ones to the secondary ones. Overall very disappointing. ...more