Nov 28, 2013

Book Review: Rain of the Ghosts by Greg Weisman

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: December 3rd, 2013
Pages: 240
Genre: Middle Grade-Fantasy
Source: I received an e-ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss.



Description from GoodreadsFirst in a series about of an adventurous young girl, Rain Cacique, who discovers she has a mystery to solve, a mission to complete and, oh, yes, the ability to see ghosts.

Welcome to the Prospero Keys (or as the locals call them: the Ghost Keys), a beautiful chain of tropical islands on the edge of the Bermuda Triangle. Rain Cacique is water-skiing with her two best friends Charlie and Miranda when Rain sees her father waiting for her at the dock. Sebastian Bohique, her maternal grandfather, has passed away. He was the only person who ever made Rain feel special. The only one who believed she could do something important with her life. The only thing she has left to remember him by is the armband he used to wear: two gold snakes intertwined, clasping each other’s tails in their mouths. Only the armband . . . and the gift it brings: Rain can see dead people. Starting with the Dark Man: a ghost determined to reveal the Ghost Keys’ hidden world of mystery and mysticism, intrigue and adventure.


Before I get started, this is going to be a pretty short review. It's a short book and I just don't have a lot to say. It's a simple novel, it's very much on the surface, and it lacks the depth I was hoping it would have. That doesn't necessarily mean it's bad, it just means I expected more. I can easily see someone saying to me, "But it's a kids book; it's a middle grade novel. What did you expect?" Well, in my opinion, that's no excuse. Just because a book is written for kids doesn't mean it shouldn't have depth or emotion. I can tell that there was an attempt to do this, but I feel it lacked execution.

Okay, so the plot. It was somewhat fun and exciting, but for a pretty short novel, it took a bit to get going. And it was also extremely misleading. Because see, the narrator of Rain of the Ghosts is a dog. That would be a whole lot cuter than it sounded if it wasn't confusing. You don't find this out until later on, and I firmly believe the novel would have made a lot more sense if it was not kept from the reader. Early on, you learn that someone is observing Rain and telling the story, but the author keeps it a mystery which I feel was the wrong decision to make. It's confusing and it affected my enjoyment of the novel, especially since it doesn't end up mattering in the least WHO told the story. Third person omniscient POVs are tricky, and I don't feel this one worked well at all. The transitions were weird and it definitely didn't feel like the entire book was in this POV and I feel it should have. 

Good things? The plot was fun, even if it was pretty simple and predictable. I don't deduct for predictable plots in MG novels because I don't feel like that matters. I gave this one 3 stars because of the lackluster writing and lack of depth in characters. I finished it yesterday and I've already forgotten most of the characters' names. A few differing characteristics does not make a character have depth. I think Rain was cute and adorable, but she's not memorable, and I feel for her over the loss of her grandfather, but I even felt that was lacking in emotion. I think there's a possibility that this series might get good when you factor in the mystery aspects, but I had an issue with believability as far as that was concerned too. I found the ending to be a bit ridiculous. 

This is book one of a series, and if this is any indication, I have no interest in reading the rest of it. The book is cute, it's fun, but I'll forget about it tomorrow. But it's readable and that's why I'm giving it two stars. It's just not bringing anything new or special to its genre. I wish I could recommend this one, but unfortunately I can't.


2/5 Dragons

8 comments:

  1. I agree with you, sometimes, kids books should be even more layered than books for adults! Because there should be one meaning for the children, and another layer of meaning for the adults reading it! So the plot shouldn't be too complicated on the surface, but there should be a plot that the adults could find interesting anyway.

    Great review, Kara!

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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    1. This is an interesting perspective and I've never thought of it this way. I am not sure I agree as I do think books should be written for their original audience, but if you look at books like Septimus Heap and Fablehaven, there is definitely enough there to appeal to an adult audience. They aren't so simple.

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  2. Oof, first reaction "How did I not know about this one" second reaction "really glad I didn't request it then!" I completely agree that MG still should have depth. People assume that kids can't handle emotion and deeper plots than adults, but maybe that's why they think they don't like reading!

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    1. Yeah, the cover is gorgeous and it sounds like a really awesome idea. I think that some people might enjoy it but it just wasn't enough for me as a reader. I don't like books that tell me a story without really delving into the depths of what it's all about.

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  3. I am so sad that this was a so-so book. Weisman developed a wonderful series for Disney called Gargoyles and the cartoon was very layered and outstanding!

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    1. Awww man. You know, I haven't completely written him off because I think this was a really exciting idea that could have been. It was just underdeveloped to me.

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  4. I'm glad I passed on this one. I debated requesting, but am just too overwhelmed by my schedule and the books I already have. I've heard that this book is incredibly slow for the first half or so which is way too long for such a slim book. I'm glad you found this readable, but it's too bad it was so forgettable. Great review!

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    1. It was short and at least there was that. But I hear you. I am incredibly overwhelmed right now and refraining from requesting anything until I get caught up some more. Interesting that you heard it was slow as I don't feel that way really. I feel like it glossed over EVERYTHING.

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