This is a young adult paranormal novel and a good read. The hero, Calloway, is strong and likable but is still the epitome of teenhood – confused. Having worked with teenagers most of my adult life, the author did a really great job of making him real without being really annoying. He manages to be nice but is still intriguing enough that teenagers won’t just blow him off.
The first sentence drops you straight into the action with an intriguing hook: “The eerie shadows cast by the trees frightened Calloway the most.” I immediately wanted to know more. The next scene is a huge change of pace as the hero is joining his family for dinner – no hint of the paranormal and the dangers that might be following him home. This introduces other supporting characters who are along for the ride.
It’s a good plot with lots of action, the characters are interesting although you occasionally want to smack some of them, and the ‘messages’ – that what you are is more important than what you have, that all people have some good in them and that even good people make mistakes – are subtle enough that the target audience won’t just roll their eyes.
Probably the weakest part of this book for me is the ending. It’s not exactly a cliffhanger but there isn’t a strong sense of conclusion either. And if you’re looking for a happily ever after, there isn’t one. I think I would prefer reading it after book 2 is out and I can move right on. I’ll drop this into my ‘re-read’ file and bring it out when book 2 comes around. I’m looking forward to it.
On a purely personal level, I did have trouble with name of the bad guys. Every time I saw ‘Hara-Kir’ I wanted to read it as hari kari… which made it a little harder to take them seriously as demonic villains.