Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Source: ARC from Publisher
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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 has left me in a turmoil because I am not exactly sure how I feel. It’s safe to say I enjoyed reading it but at the same time, I did not like the characters.
Our main character, Micheline is really self-absorbed at times. She seems to make everything about her, including the lives of her fellow team mates and I am not sure how I feel about that. Considering the fact that they work as a team, the fact that she keeps secrets from them, secrets that could possibly endanger their lives, just doesn’t sit right with me. She is a 17 year old with a superiority complex and she just reallllly bothered me at times with her self-pitying.
The rest of the characters are not much better and at one point Micheline calls one of her friends emo just because she thinks that some of his characteristics are ‘emo’. It’s so offensive and throughout the story, Oliver seems to be separated from the group because he is the brains and not the brawns and I don’t like this distinction. No matter what role they play, as a part of their team, all members contribute to the well-being and should NOT be put down because of that.
I don’t know what was happening with Jude either, he was kind of a sexist jerk and said things like “you punch like a girl” and I was just like whaat? What does he mean, Micheline punches like a girl? Is he putting her down because of the fact she is a girl? Even though she is a lot more successful at exorcising ghosts than he is? I think the author may have been trying to make him seem like a bad boy who was a puppy at heart but let me tell you that that did NOT work. He just came off as a jerk most of the times.
Ryder, the love interest, is pretty much the only character that didn't really bother me. He was, for the most part, respectful of Micheline and it was only his 'golden boy perfectness' that bothered me at times.
As a team, they aren't much better and at one point Micheline mentions that the boys have this ‘macho’ thing going on where they won’t really talk about their injuries in front of one another. SERIOUSLY? You are a team. You work as a team. The fact that you get hurt is completely normal and this should not be something to hide from your team. I really just don’t understand the dynamics within their team. They are called a team but they don’t seem to work as one and that was a huge issue with me.
I want to give them credit though and I like that when Micheline’s dad slapped her and she refused to acknowledge it, her friends told her to stop because it was abuse. He slaps her and breaks all of her cameras and she cannot just keep making excuses for him! Her friends realized that and that made me feel a lot better about them.
Her dad has some serious issues and I don’t think there is enough words to talk about what kind of a jerk he was to his grieving young daughter. He is not fit to be a father and should have his parent card revoked. I do not kid.
The romance within the novel was kind of awkward and given the nature of their situation, I just wished it would go away.
Now, I am done ranting about the things I didn’t enjoy and I can finally move on to the good stuff. The horror aspects of this novel were so incredibly well done and they were the reason why I could continue reading even though I wasn’t getting along with the characters.
The author really knows how to create a creepy atmosphere. Plus the way she incorporated the Van Helsing/Dracula stuff within the story made it so enjoyable. More than that, she also has an original take on the whole idea of ghost hunting where the main character hunts the ghosts with her camera.
At first, I admit I was a little thrown off (for some reason I had missed that part in the blurb), but it’s clear the author has done her research and isn’t just randomly throwing something like that in for the purposes of originality.
The plot is also well paced and the mystery aspect is well done. I was scared for these characters’ life (hey just because I wasn’t their biggest fan doesn’t mean I want them dead). She had me on the edge of my chair, flipping through the pages, trying to figure out why all of this was happening.
The twist towards the end was one that I only guessed at and so it managed to take me off guard. I had no idea that was the direction the author would head down and that just made me so much more interested.
Going back to the character’s for a moment though, seeing them in all these scary situations really helped me understand them better which was why, in the end, I was able to still enjoy the story in spite of the drawbacks.
I genuinely hope there will be a sequel because I want to see where the author can go with this and I am curious to see how things will change and develop in future books.
This may not be a perfect book but it is fantastic brain candy and if you’re curious, I wouldn’t hesitate to tell you to give it a shot.