Today The Australian Bookshelf is hosting a spot on the Banish Blog Tour with Harlequin Teen in support of this new young adult release by Australian Author, Nicola Marsh. My review for Banish is below, followed by a special quote release and giveaway. To check out other blogs hosting the tour see the tour schedule here.
Review copy provided by publisher
Harlequin Teen, July 2013
Synopsis- Alyssa has one week to destroy her enemy, save her spirit… and save her soul.
After her ex-boyfriend commits suicide and her mum’s alcoholism sparks yet another psychotic episode, seventeen-year-old Alyssa Wood flees her small hometown of Broadwater and heads to New York City to stay with her bohemian aunt — a Wicca High Priestess.
Alyssa revels in the anonymity of a big city and her new life. Her grades climb, she has a new best friend, and a new guy: the sexy geek Ronan — a saxophone player who prefers jazz to pop.
But her newfound peace is soon shattered when she sees a dead body in one of Ronan’s music clips — and she’s the only one who can see it. Worse still, Alyssa recognises the body that has been murdered a week forward!
Alyssa doesn’t believe in the supernatural…despite her family’s Wicca background. So how will she overcome evil when it’s closer than she thinks?
Review- Banish is the first teen supernatural novel to be published with Harlequin Teen by Australian author Nicola Marsh. In the past twelve months I’ve started to move away from young adult paranormal novels because I’ve been consistently disappointed by the generic plots and love triangles. In support of an Australian author, I agreed to read Banish and though I didn’t love the novel, the one thing I can’t fault is the unique plot.
Seventeen year old Alyssa has recently moved to New York City to stay with her aunt who is a Wicca High Priestess. Alyssa is desperate to move on from what happened back in her hometown of Broadwater. Her mother’s an alcoholic who suffers from psychotic episodes and the day after Alyssa dumped her boyfriend he committed suicide. She’s had a pretty hard time and wants to make a new life for herself in NYC. Her life is starting to look up when twenty-one year old musician Ronan makes it clear he has the hots for her and Alyssa is excited by the prospects of dating this sweet guy. So sweet that he writes a song and records it just for her. But things start to go downhill when at the end of his track Alyssa sees a dead woman that no one else can see.
Strange things begin to happen and even though Alyssa wants to get to the bottom of these, her resistance to her ‘inner witch’ creates a barrier to finding out the truth. Alyssa doesn’t know who to trust and begins to suspect everyone she’s close to.
Firstly, I thought the plot was quite interesting and the twist at the end was quite good. However, I was disappointed this novel wasn’t set in Australia. I’m not sure why the author chose to set it in America (perhaps because of the history of witchcraft?) but setting it in our home country would have at least made it stand out a little more against all the other young adult paranormal books available. The other aspect of the story that was a letdown for me was that I struggled to really connect with Alyssa. On an intellectual level I could understand why she was upset about what happened with her ex-boyfriend and that she was scared about all the strange happenings occurring in NYC, but I just didn’t feel it. To me, it felt like Alyssa had just completely dismissed what happened in the past and I honestly felt she should be a bit more affected by it. As the story progressed I was trying to figure out why I didn’t connect with Alyssa on an emotional level. I think the main reason is because Alyssa’s viewpoint is told in the first person so much of her inner thoughts and rationalising comes across on an intellectual level but I didn’t get much sense of emotion from her. Even through the dialogue there’s little mention about how she’s feeling through non-verbal cues, it’s all in her head.
I really wanted to like this book much more, firstly because it’s written by a local author and because I enjoyed the plot. But when I can’t connect with the character or ‘believe in them’ then I can’t completely enjoy a story. Connecting with the lead character is quite subjective so I’d be interested to see what other readers felt about Banish and I’d recommend those reading this do the same before making up your mind about this one.
“It was okay”
SPECIAL QUOTE RELEASE:
GIVEAWAY Now Closed
Harlequin Teen has offered a print copy of Banish by Nicola Marsh to a follower from AU/ NZ only.
To enter, please leave a comment at the end of this post
Giveaway ends 9th August 2013 (Sydney time).