Book: Shutter by Courtney Alameda
Release Date: February 3rd 2015
Reading Format and Edition: Hardcover by Feiwel and Friends
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She’s aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera’s technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.
When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn’t exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she’s faced before . . . or die trying.
Lock, stock, and lens, she’s in for one hell of a week.
Shutter was one of those books that I knew I wanted to read for Halloween this year as soon as I heard about it. Though I personally wasn’t scared throughout reading it, it certainly has a lot of scary and creepy elements to make this a great Halloween read. It is a bit gory in places.
Micheline is one of the last descendants of the Van Hellsing line. While still in school she trains to kill the corporeal and spiritual monsters. For that she is teamed up with Oliver who is a descendant of Stoker, Jude who can predict someone’s death, and Ryder who is a top soldier. A bit on the stubborn side, Micheline goes against the rules on a ghost hunt that goes awry and leaves the four of them cursed by something they hadn’t seen before. A curse that will kill them.
The plot propels forward fast. There is a lot of action throughout the book, and the story is interesting. It wasn’t super predictable though I knew easily who the one pulling the strings was going to be. I did feel there was a bit of info dumping going on at some places when some of the history and theoretical bits about the paranormal were being explained. I had to reread those portions a few times to get a good handle on what I needed to know. It was a shame because it pulled me out of the story a few times, especially at the start.
What I liked the most was the world. How zombies, vampires and the like were incorporated. There is still a lot that can be discovered in this world than the book touched upon. Clearly there is also a lot even the characters don’t know about it. The way the camera was used in fighting against the paranormal was something that took some getting used to, but I think it is rather clever.
Micheline, the main character, is a bit of a firecracker. After a certain event in her past she feels she has to prove herself to her father. Sometimes that leaves her with a disregard for the rules that are there to protect them during a hunt. I came to like her, but it took me a while. I like to follow the rules, haha. The other guys in the team were great though. The four of them have a close knit friendship going. The familiarity and their bonds were clearly felt throughout the book.
Though this is a horror book for me this is a book that easily tug at my emotional strings more than I find it scary. Micheline’s relationship with her father and how the ending falls into place with her past are a little heart wrenching.