Series: Mary Hades #1
Author: Sarah Dalton
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Published: May 4th, 2014
This ebook was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Synopsis: Not many seventeen year old girls have a best friend who’s a ghost, but then Mary Hades isn’t your average teenager.
Scarred physically and mentally from a fire, her parents decide a holiday to an idyllic village in North Yorkshire will help her recover. Nestled in the middle of five moors, Mary expects to have a boring week stuck in a caravan with her parents. Little does she know, evil lurks in the campsite…
Seth Lockwood—a local fairground worker with a dark secret—might be the key to uncovering the murky history that has blighted Nettleby. But Mary is drawn to him in a way that has her questioning her judgement.
Helped by her dead best friend and a quirky gay Goth couple, Mary must stop the unusual deaths occurring in Nettleby. But can she prevent her heart from being broken?
The first in a series of dark YA novels, Mary Hades follows on from the bestselling Kindle Single 'My Daylight Monsters'. A spine-tingling tale with romance, readers will be shocked and entertained in equal measure.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
"Where does the story end? That's what it's all about. It's what we all want to know."
Mary Hades is a ghost story following the events of a family vacation taken by the title character. Mary recently was released from a mental ward, where her best friend, Lacey, died tragically and has since been following Mary around as a ghost. Death seems to follow Mary, and her ability to see the dead turns her simple vacation into a fight for survival against a murderous ghost named "Little Amy."
My main opinion on this piece? Meh. It wasn't awful, but it certainly wasn't great. I was expecting a thrilling ghost murder mystery, but instead got a book caught up in a weak romance and a lack of character development.
You know how it says "the first in a series" in the synopsis? LIES. This book is based rather heavily on a prequel novella. The characters refer to the events of the novella often, and a large portion of the character development comes from the aftereffects of what happened. Technically, one could read Mary Hades without also reading the novella, titled My Daylight Monsters, but it just leaves the reader vaguely confused. It was like diving into the second book in a series blindly. If you plan to read this book, don't make my mistake and make sure you at least skim the novella.
I was never scared in this book, or even chilled or kept in suspense. All of the characters were far too casual about the deaths and ghosts for me to feel any fear about them. It confused me, how just pages after a murder the characters would be completely over it, moving on to whatever dull occurrence had seized their attention. Why should I care if the characters clearly aren't worried or affected by what's going on?
The parents also ticked me off a few times. They too were far too casual. They seemed to have no worries about their daughter's well-being, seeing how she had only gotten out of a mental hospital 2 months prior. Almost immediately after arriving to the campgrounds, a young boy commits suicide right by them. Somehow it never occurs to them that this could in any way faze their mentally unstable daughter. They let her walk alone in a town they're vacationing in far past midnight without a single concern. When she starts flirting with a boy she just met who is 4 years older than her, her mom does nothing but encourage her and ask if she used a condom. Mary nearly dies on several occasions, yet her parents are oblivious to it each and every time. I don't need them to watch Mary's every move, I just need them to show a bit of concern afterwards. The author could of aged Mary a few years, left out the parents, and changed nothing about the plot. Their characters were irresponsible and disinterested when it came to their daughter, a fact that I could not overlook.
The romance was a bit flimsy with a fair dose of insta-love, and I doubt Seth will make any kind of reappearance in any of the sequels. Related to that, it made me mad how Mary, the day after one of Seth's friends BRUTALLY DIED, looked around for Seth in hopes he would want to date her. Give the man time to grieve!
I can see why someone, especially a person who liked the novella, would enjoy this novel. Unfortunately, the bad elements outweighed the positive ones in this book, leaving the novel fairly underwhelming for me. It seems to have several good reviews across the internet, however, so it may be worth a read if you can get the novella first.
Want another opinion? Here are some other reviews for Mary Hades (may contain spoilers):
The Worn Bookmark