I received this book for free from Disney Book Group in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.MARY: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan
Series: Bloody Mary #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on September 2nd 2014
Genres: Horror, YA
Source: Disney Book Group
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There is a right way and a wrong way to summon her.
Jess had done the research. Success requires precision: a dark room, a mirror, a candle, salt, and four teenage girls. Each of them--Jess, Shauna, Kitty, and Anna--must link hands, follow the rules . . . and never let go.
A thrilling fear spins around the room the first time Jess calls her name: "Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. BLOODY MARY." A ripple of terror follows when a shadowy silhouette emerges through the fog, a specter trapped behind the mirror.
Once is not enough, though--at least not for Jess. Mary is called again. And again. But when their summoning circle is broken, Bloody Mary slips through the glass with a taste for revenge on her lips. As the girls struggle to escape Mary's wrath, loyalties are questioned, friendships are torn apart, and lives are forever altered.
A haunting trail of clues leads Shauna on a desperate search to uncover the legacy of Mary Worth. What she finds will change everything, but will it be enough to stop Mary--and Jess--before it's too late?
For some stupid reason I read this only at nighttime and it freaked me the eff out! I have always been terrified of Bloody Mary ever since a bad experience in middle school (just stupid kids thinking we saw more than we did, but back then it was intense!) and just the idea of being haunted by her like this… nope!!!
This book delivers fantastically when it comes to horror content and hair-raising scenes, however it does have a shaky start where I found the reactions to her first appearance underwhelming. My own fear of ghosts could not fathom being so calm when faced by a ghost in a mirror… Fortunately it got more believable after that, so don’t judge it too quickly if you feel like I did. Once Mary appears a second time is where the real sh*t starts. First person narrative makes it easy to put yourself in Shauna’s shoes. It makes you look around and imagine all the shiny surfaces Mary could use to terrorize your life, bringing about a perfect reading atmosphere. Especially if read at night across from a mirror (have a vanity in your bedroom, or maybe a closet door mirror? Muahaha). The pacing is also well balanced between the vivid horror scenes and the progression of the storyline. Then when you add in an ominous vibe throughout brought on by the constant threat of a visit from this terrifying, vengeful ghost, we’ve got ourselves an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride!
Although I had a blast with the horror side of this novel – Mary is described with such detail and unrelenting monstrosity that I would be freaked out by own imagination – the plot itself could have given us a bit more to bite into. No matter how much I enjoyed the ghostly scenes, I was even more engaged by the storyline surrounding Mary’s life. The novel begins with a letter written by Mary herself, this kicks off the book with just the right tone, but also hints at her psyche that’s just starting to crack. After all, there is a reason she is the way she is in this cruel afterlife. As the story progresses, we learn more bits and pieces of her past, and we do eventually get a pretty wide look into what has happened to her, leading up to her death, but I wish we’d gotten further into the mystery of her ghost. This may just be my impatience talking as I know there’s going to be a book 2, but I feel like I was not given enough.
With that being said, the writing is solid, the storyline is compelling, and the horror scenes are disturbingly vivid. And really, if you read this for the horror story that it is, you should be pleasantly surprised!
4 Hot Espressos