09 November 2015

Autumn Thorns // A Book With A Good Mystery, If Only The Characters Had Developed Personalities Sooner

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Autumn Thorns – Yasmine Galenorn

Release Date: 27th October 2015

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Mystery

My Rating:

Enter Whisper Hollow at your own risk, for in this town spirits walk among the living, and the lake never gives up her dead.


Whisper Hollow is no ordinary place. In this haunted town, people don't stay buried.


Kerris Fellwater isn't your usual human. She's a spirit shaman who drives the dead back to their graves.


Fifteen years ago, Kerris ran away from her hometown. But now she's back, and there are deadly magical forces at work, wreaking havoc.


Whisper Hollow holds painful memories for Kerris, but a lot has changed. There's a mysterious new guy in town, Bryan, who Kerris feels powerfully drawn to. Together they unearth a horrifying family secret, and unravelling the mystery means working with - rather than against - the dead. Can they defeat Whisper Hollow's enemy, before it destroys them?

 

I received a free copy of this for review from Headline Eternal.

 


I was intrigued by the book summary on this one. I had heard nothing about the book but a town where there are supernatural creatures and someone forced to go back to fulfil some kind of destiny? That sounded exactly like the kind of book I wanted to buy.

 

The Mystery Is The Hook Which Keeps You Reading

 

I think the main reason I got through the entirety of this book (yes, I did contemplate putting it down) is the fact that I needed to know about the mystery in this book. I won’t reveal the ‘horrifying family secret’ but Galenorn successfully teases you with just enough detail to interest you without giving everything away in the book.

 

Is the big reveal all that surprising? In some ways it isn’t, clues are dropped throughout the book both about Kerris’s parents and her grandparents (I'm not spoiling anything by telling you there are mysteries related to both of these couples) and so you are not stumped by the revelations, but it is the way in which they are done in this book which are intriguing. I wanted to know what happened to both parents and grandparents, but also the whys. It’s the motivation behind everything which happened that really kept me reading I think. It’s probably the reason I will pick up the next book in the series as well. It’s not often you get a decent mystery in a book which includes romance, so that was nice.

It’s Just Too Bad I Didn’t Connect With The Characters

 

Sadly, the characters weren’t as interesting as the mystery, they instead fell a bit flat. They all felt a bit too two dimensional and I often left questioning why I should care about the characters. I think it was partially the fact this is a first book in a series, they are always a bit hit or miss, which led to this distance I felt with the characters. By the end of the book I had found myself caring, the characters felt less flat and had grown into people who may potentially possess personalities which I had previously missed, I just wish I’d cared about them more at the beginning.

 

One fault of Galenorn’s is that she does a lot of telling about the various characters without writing anything which backs up what she’s said. Take Kerris’s best friend, for example, Peggin is said to be a flirtatious larger than life character with curves and a charming personality which entices any man in… but I didn’t get to see that in the book. I am fully convinced she is that kind of character, there were hints that she is a retro bombshell with her fashion choices and the fact she was watching an old Hollywood film with Cary Grant in, I can believe she is intended to be that retro pinup girl which you just don’t see too often, but I wasn’t shown it in the book. That is true of all the characters, I was told facts about them but didn’t see a lot to support it in the book.

 

And poor Kerris, she goes on about her fantastic photographic memory when it comes to reading, yet as she wondered around town she seemed to forgotten half the people who lived there. I get people can have a better memory for certain things (such as reading) but this woman seemed to have forgotten half her life with no explanation as to why. I understood some of her memories being fuzzy from her formative years, who can claim to remember their entire life at 5 years old? But I didn’t understand why she forgot things from when she was older, it made no sense.

 

Maybe I’m being too critical, I did occasionally find myself caring about these characters, but it did feel a bit ‘too little, too late’ as it didn’t happen until the last portion of the book when the action began. As I said, it wasn't enough to drive me away, I know the first book in any series gets waylaid in having to set everything up for the rest of the series, but it’s not often you find the set up leading the characters to fall flat.

But I Did Like The Character Interaction

 

I know, I’ve said I felt the characters fell flat, but when I did start caring about them I did find myself enjoying their interaction. Kerris and Peggin were great frineds, I actually liked their friendship. They managed a long distance friendship and I totally believed their reunion as friends. Peggin was left as a bit of a secondary character who didn’t get enough time to be fleshed out into a person, but it was nice to see a good female friendship.

 

We get a whole lot of insta-love (mating anyone?) but it fits to the genre and there is set up for the instant romance that made me forgive it. I admit the romance is not the best I’ve read, though, poor Bryan never truly gets to develop beyond romance interest, sadly, but I hold out hope for him.

 

Basically, there is potential in all the relationships in this book, I will reserve further judgement for the future.

Let’s Summarise

I know, I’ve been so negative in my review and I really didn’t want to, but there were things which bugged me in this first book. I hated the fact that the characterisation wasn’t stronger and there wasn’t enough demonstration of the characters personalities, instead I was left to be told about it. I also wasn’t a massive fan of the romance, but that didn’t stop me from liking other aspects of the book. I maintain that the mystery was solid and really drove the story along and there are plenty of questions left to be answered to help keep readers wanting to continuing on (like me). And as much as I hate on the characters personalities (or lack thereof) I did like the friendships in the book and that helped to bring out some personality in these characters. I am optimistic that a second book will help overcome some of my reservations as I feel like with all the introduction and explanation in this book meant it didn’t have enough chance to flow properly, a second book where there is less to explain may mean a fun and easier read for all.

 

I know it sounds like I hated everything about this book, but I honestly didn’t. Once I was halfway through I no longer wanted to put the book down, the mystery and story of this town had interested me enough that I couldn’t possibly stop reading. That is the sign of a good read, I just wish that feeling has happened sooner and I am fully convinced my grumbles about this book are what stopped it from happening. Here’s hoping book 2, Shadow Silence, has better luck.

 

Have you read any books where you feel like the story didn’t chance to get on it’s feet as it was bogged down with explanations and world building? And do you think it’s possible to dislike things about a book but still enjoy it at the same time?

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