Life isn’t fair, and neither is the afterlife. When Michael Andrews dies in a tragic accident he leaves behind a loving family, a girlfriend, and his burgeoning career on the basketball court. Doomed to wander the earth, Michael is left wondering what keeps him attached to the earthly domain. Enter Sarah, another lost soul who found herself stranded like Michael in similarly tragic circumstances. When feelings develop between the two, their afterlives begin to spiral into a chaos of forbidden passions and demonic pursuit.
Will Michael and Sarah find their way into the great beyond, become claimed by the forces of the deep dark below, or perhaps entwine themselves in the greatest spiritual taboo… to “join”? Find out in The Ghost Chronicles by Marlo Berliner.
There’s a lot going on in the plot, which would typically drag the read down in the hands of a less capable writer. Berliner manages to make the story flow with very few snags along the way. Michael, our lead, is a tender soul (pun intended) with many facets to his personality that make his interactions with the equally complex Sarah uniquely compelling. Add in the creeping tension of their unearthly situation and their slowly-emerging demonic tormentors and there’s a killer story with a silky-smooth progression to enjoy. As an unexpected bonus, the story is rich in the New Jersey setting, which really immerses you in something that feels viscerally real and experienced.
The cover of the book is interesting and nicely spooky, slightly evocative of old Goosebumps reads and the like, sans the dampening “silly” factor; it has a definite air of maturity even though the oozing font is so distinctly reminiscent of those child-oriented reads. That said, the cover seems misleading considering the focus of the story is much less on a “haunted house” archetype that the cover implies, instead on the relationship between the main characters.
Cover included, the book has a distinct feel of a young-adult read without the pitfalls of the genre that could make it a dull read for an older audience; rather, the book is reasonably mature, even with the supernatural elements and the romance, and is easy to slip into as an adult. For all its bucked trends, however, it does still suffer a few of the common tropes of the genre, which could be an issue for anyone expecting something wildly different from the book’s peers.
For teens and adults alike, The Ghost Chronicles is an unusually thoughtful and mature take on supernatural romance that deserves attention for its efforts to break away from convention, all for the better. The book evolves its setting over time and makes every new chapter something worth waiting for, and its inclusion of a variety of supernatural elements leaves room for elaboration if a well-earned sequel should be decided upon. For curious readers old and new to the genre, The Ghost Chronicles is sure to set your mind ablaze, and puts “life” back into the “afterlife.”
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