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Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Review: Manifest

Author: Artist Arthur
Release date: 27th July 2010 US
Genre: Paranormal Mystery / Urban Fantasy
Target audience: 12+

Summary from the author's website:
When fifteen-year-old Krystal Bentley moves to Lincoln, Connecticut, her mom’s hometown, she assumes her biggest drama will be adjusting to the burbs after living in New York City.

But Lincoln is nothing like Krystal imagined. The weirdness begins when Ricky Watson starts confiding in her. He’s cute, funny, a good listener—and everything she’d ever want—except that he was killed nearly a year ago. Krystal’s ghost-whispering talents soon lead other “freaks” to her door—Sasha, a rich girl who can literally disappear, and Jake, who moves objects with his mind. All three share a distinctive birthmark in the shape of an M and, fittingly, call themselves the Mystyx. They set out to learn what really happened to Ricky, only to realize that they aren’t the only ones with mysterious powers. But if Krystal succeeds in finding out the truth about Ricky’s death, will she lose him for good?

Manifest is the first in what will be a four book paranormal series. It tells the story of Krystal Bentley who has recently moved with her mum to Lincoln, Connecticut. Krystal is not happy about the move. She is angry with her mother for divorcing her father and ripping her away from the life she loved. She doesn't understand the reasons behind her mother's decision. Krystal is enrolled at Settlemans High and does her best to avoid making any friends or even speaking to another human being. She is hellbent on wallowing in her own misery. She also happens to be hiding a secret. She hears voices. She can communicate with the dead which is just another thing on her list to feel down right self-pitying about. Particularly when Ricky Watson, gorgeous, arrogant and ever so slightly dead, demands that she help him find a way to pass over to the afterlife.

Krystal is a reluctant heroine. She doesn't want her abiltity. She doesn't want to share her problems with anybody. But then, two other students at Settlemans decide that she will do just that. Sasha - a girl from the rich group of students - and Jake - from the Tracker and significantly poorer social group - are determined to get Krystal to open up to them. They spotted her very distinctive birth mark and early on in the novel reveal that they also share the mark. Grudingly, Krystal lets them into her life.

The plot for this novel doesn't feel particularly original. Teens with supernatural powers are hardly anything new on the scene and yet this is exactly the type of story I love. No surprises that I spent most of my childhood wishing that I would wake up and have a special power. Having said that, I have to say that I felt this book lacked any finesse. I often felt frustrated by the author's obsession with describing every single item of clothing a character was wearing. There was, for me, too much "tell" and not nearly enough "show". It all felt very simplistic.

I did like the fact that Krystal was a flawed character. She has a real and palpable temper which I found highly believable and refreshing. Teens do argue with their parents; they feel resentful and hard done by and so this added an extra layer to the book.

Manifest is an easy read which I did enjoy. It is the sort of book that I would save for when I can't really focus on a heavier novel. It is very accesible and well-paced. Read this if you are in the mood for a paranormal mystery which will make you believe in super powers.

Thank you to Kimani Press for the review copy.


Book Monster said...

Ahh I hate when there a lot of description, it really drags the book down. Awesome, honest review.

Dazzling Mage said...

Hmm, it's too bad about the "tell" and "show" problem. Still, awesome review, and it does seem like it has a nice story.

Thanks for the awesome, honest review. =)

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

I had the same feelings when I started it recently. I need to try again. Thanks for the review :)

Lauren said...

Excellent review - I've been considering buying this one, and your balanced opinion will definitely help with that decision. Thanks Becky!

Dwayne said...

I agree with you! Manifest is an easy read but could be better. Wonderful review, Becky!

I Want To Read That said...

I still have this to read from Netgalley - will be interested to see what I make of it. Thanks for the review:)

Becky said...

Hi everyone, I am back from my holiday. Thanks for all your comments while I've been away.

Book Monster, the thing with description is that it needs a fine balance. It was the emphasis on articles of clothing that bothered me.

Dazzling Mage, thanks. Hope the review was helpful.

Juju, well I think keep going. It is an easy read.

Lauren, I'm glad that my thoughts are helpful. :-)

Dwayne, thanks! Great to hear I'm not alone in my thinking.

Sammee, I will be interested to see what you make of it too :-)

Caroline said...

I can see that there are some positive and negative aspects. I would be quite put off by the overdescriptions myself but I do like the story in general. I will probably wait to read reviews of the sequels to make up my mind :)

Becky said...

Caroline, that sounds like a very rational plan :-)