Published: Dec. 11, 2011 Dam Good Publishing
Back jacket blurb: A young blogger has the ultimate on-line encounter; a spirit partner who introduces him to a world he must master to save his own. A ghost in the machine? Adam is a 19 year old blogger who lives in his mother’s basement and who is dealing with a critically ill friend. A simple reply to a blog fan e-mail begins a relationship with Pretoria, a beautiful and mysterious young woman. Pretoria guides him into ‘the Realm’, a spirit world where he discovers he is a powerful force for the protection and survival of human kind. As Pretoria reintroduces Adam to the Realm and his place in it, he realizes that she is not only trying to reclaim him for the sake of humanity, but also for the spirit world and herself. Facing a powerful evil, Adam re-engages with the Realm in order to save his friend and the human world while re-discovering why he had tried to escape it in the first place. As a battle within the Realm reaches its climax, Adam must finally choose between his human and his spirit form, or lose both.
First line: “So we have sunshine again today. I hate sunshine.” The first two lines actually, taken from the blog entry with which the story opens. Although this entry and blog topic seems a little random at first, the author does a good job of tying this first weather-based blog post into the story. And anyone who hates sunshine immediately gets my attention.
What I Liked:
Half way through the first chapter, I knew I wouldn’t put the book down because the protagonist and 1st person narrator, Adam, is just so likeable. We learn a lot about him in the span of a few pages, his awkward growing up years, his friendship with Tony – his best friend, and how Adam came to be a blogger in the first place. Blogging as a full time occupation is something still relatively new, so this immediately gave the book and character a fresh, up-to-date feeling. Blogging and its possible supernatural interference is also not a theme frequently if ever explored in a novel so again, the idea and premise of this story was rather unique.
The interaction with the ‘ghost in the machine’ was quirky and Adam reacted accordingly. The biggest plus point for this novel is definitely Adam – likeable, genuine, not a Gary Stu in any way while still being an all round nice guy who doesn’t always say or do the right thing and who readers can relate to.
Pretoria (slightly biased here since Pretoria is the name of one of the capital cities in my home country). I know I should have liked her. The gorgeous heroine of the story but I didn’t. She’s annoyingly prissy, self-righteous and rather manipulative. And I liked that. I really enjoyed the fact that I could dislike the heroine and still connect with the story and plot, and still root for Adam.
The stakes. The stakes are pretty high in this novel for Adam and Pretoria, particularly for Adam on both a personal and bigger-picture scale. The author also manages to weave together these two plot points pretty well at the end.
What I Didn’t Like:
Pacing. The story tends to drag, especially through the middle as Adam learns about the Realm and his place in it. I tended to skip through some of the exposition, wanting to get back into the action, which when it eventually came was pretty good stuff. The author has a tendency to over explain the system, how things work and why. I’m not sure all the back story was necessary for the story and that we could have learned bits here and there to help us understand what was going on without pages of explanation prior to the event. Maybe just a personal preference issue, I like action, not exposition. The author also had a tendency to describe and get into details of things I found superfluous to the story at hand. But that’s my only beef really.
3.5/5 ink splats. Good premise. Some great characters. A little slow and drawn out, otherwise WiSpY would’ve earned 4 stars. As far as paranormal stories go, WiSpY is a thoroughly enjoyable read.