Authors: J.L. Powers & M.A. Powers
Publisher: Akashic Books
Availability: On shelves now
Review copy: Supplied by Publisher
Summary: Adam wants nothing more than to be a “normal” teen, but his reality is quickly leaking normal. Afraid to sleep because of the monster that stalks his dreams, Adam’s breakdown at school in front of his crush Sarah lands him in the hospital.
As he struggles to cope with his day-to-day life, Adam can only vaguely comprehend some sort of future. His mother died when he was only four and his eccentric father—who might be an assassin, a voodoo god, the reincarnation of the Buddha, or something even stranger—is never available when Adam really needs him. Even his paranoid grandfather, who insists that people are “out to kill the entire family,” is no help.
Adam’s life takes an even weirder turn when a fat man with a gold tooth and a medallion confronts his father regarding Adam’s supposed “True Destiny.” Adam is soon headed toward a collision with life, death, and the entities charged with shepherding souls of the newly dead, all competing to control lucrative territories where some nightmares are real and psychopomps of ancient legends walk the streets of North America.
Review: Early in the book, Adam wonders, "Where do you find courage when Fear is calling the shots?" Fear and anxiety was something I could relate to even if I couldn't relate to the psychopomps and demonic monsters. I don't read a lot of paranormal or creepy books so this was a bit out of my comfort zone. The fact that it was still basically about a teen trying to figure out who he is while he tries to conquer his fears kept me reading. It's not a comedy, but there are also many bits of humor so it didn't get bogged down with the death business. And this book definitely deals with death.
A quirky thing about this book is the inclusion of a backstory through brief chapters tucked in between the main action. This history is delivered through conversations and they are amusing. They often sound like a paperback romance and not necessarily a fabulous one. At first I was mildly annoyed by these chapters, but by the end I didn't mind and even laughed a bit once I accepted them for the comic relief they were.
The creepy parts were pretty great even for someone like me. It was intense enough to make me want to read as fast as I could, but never got bad enough to induce nightmares. The monsters are intimidating and impressive, but the whole world is divorced from reality so it was just the right amount of scary for me.
This is part of a series and I hope that some of the secondary characters get a little more development. They were fairly simply described and were mostly identifiable by cultural cues. I was wanting more depth. With subsequent books perhaps that will happen.
Recommendation: If paranormal is your thing, you might want to give this one a try.