Tuesday, September 13, 2011

After Obsession by Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel

This is another ARC I got in New Orleans. The good news is it came out today. And I had the whole thing finished in less than 24 hours. It’s a great story that moves super fast.
After Obsession is about Aimee, a girl whose dreams come true (literally), just usually in ways that are hard for her to always understand. She can also heal people just by touching them. And she’s pretty sure there is something evil in her town, making all of the people around her on edge. A new Emergency Room needs to be built in her hospital, and the police are complaining about making so many arrests. The adults and the kids seem to always be fighting. And when her best friend (Courtney)’s father disappears in the same river, her mother died in, the story really picks up.
Courtney’s aunt and cousin, Alan, move to town to live with Courtney and her mom. And Alan and Aimee have an immediate connection even though Aimee already has a boyfriend. Though with the big evil making its way around town, Aimee is finding herself liking her boyfriend less and less. He actually physically pulls her out of his car and bruises her in the process. The whole school can’t believe why her boyfriend would act that way. Also no one really knows why Courtney seems to be going slowly insane. And insanity is a major theme here. Aimee’s mother is known for committing suicide in that river, and Aimee really fights herself on being as normal as she possibly can because she doesn’t want to be like her mother. Unfortunately, her mother was the only other person who had “skills” like Aimee.
Oh, except for Alan, who can connect with his Navajo roots, communicate with his spirit guide, and learn to become a spirit warrior. Needless to say, Alan has no troubles believing in what Aimee can do, and also has no problems letting her know how sane and amazing she is. The book has a lot of romance. And Aimee does not take too long in breaking up with her first boyfriend (who got a little too violent for her). There is the love at first sight kind of thing happening here, but both Aimee and Alan take their time in making certain decisions; they both are relatively smart individuals and this for some reason makes the soul mate romance more tolerable.
And what I really loved about the book was that Aimee, as the characters even talk about at some point, is not the damsel in distress: Courtney is. Aimee and Alan have to rescue Courtney from an ultimate demon possession. I recommend reading this on a dark and stormy night. Really, it can get a little creepy. There are some definite Exorcist moments. Mix that with some interesting Navajo folklore, the romance, Aimee’s mother’s ghost, some great side characters (mostly in Aimee’s family), a side story about a Cheeto that looks like Marilyn Monroe, some classic teen drama, plenty of supernatural elements, and all the themes of insanity, and you get one interesting supernatural, horror movie-type romance.
A lot of the minor characters, like the rest of the kids at school, felt under-played and stereotypical to me. I kind of wish they felt more realistic. And I kind of needed more explanation for the big bad (or in this case the River Man). The book had a good ending, though it does kind of give off an ending that hints at a sequel. More can definitely happen with Alan and his powers. And Aimee still seems to have so much to learn. So maybe the River Man will be better explained later? I just kind of felt like I needed to understand it a little more right now, in this book.
However, all in all, I really did enjoy this one. I needed some spooky, supernatural book to distract me from my life and all my thoughts at the moment, and this book worked in doing that perfectly. I give it an 8/10. And I hope to find more joint work from these two authors in the future.

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