Jan 26, 2015

ARC Review--Shutter by Courtney Alameda

Horror has a new name: introducing Courtney Alameda.

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. 

I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, I was in no way compensated for this review. 

I expected great things from Courtney Alameda's Shutter! Something that would terrify and delight me..unfortunately I didn't get that. While in part, there were some pretty scary, intense moments, it was the rest of the story that kept me from being a happy reader.

I think what started me off on the wrong foot was getting the explanations done in a way that totally confused me. Science was and is my worst subject. Once we start talking "intelligent" like and trying to explain things, I totally get confused! Granted I can kinda grasp some meaning, but not enough to make it easy going or likable. In fact, I was staggering in these first couple of pages trying  figure out what the heck Micheline was trying to tell me. The "science" talk was geared towards approaching the paranormal in ways that involved cameras and then getting into the science of how the camera effected the ghosts and all the electromagnetic type talk...it was befuddling to say the least.

Micheline and her friends are ghost hunters of a sort. Being a descendant of the Van Helsing line makes Micheline one of the best. Though she pales in comparison to her father. There are daddy issues there. Of course Micheline has her own tragic backstory to that even. So basically, issues all around. When trying to prove herself with her friends that they could take down a nasty spirit, they find out how wrong they are. They are soon infected by ghostlight--another thing that kind of confused me and basically have a week to find themselves a cure-all or basically killing the ghost that infected them and killing it.

Micheline's friends, Oliver, Jude and Ryder; these guys were pretty cool! Oliver's the smart one, Jude is the smartass and Ryder naturally is the crush. Though romance is forbidden with him because Micheline is the last of her line and in order to keep her line strong she has to marry and "breed" with an apt hunter--so her father puts it. And there are a few romantic moments with Ryder because naturally, dad's word isn't always law.

Despite the whole science of the book, it wasn't too bad of a read. Though the pacing was sometimes hit or miss. There's a time limit obviously, but the book happens in four days, and each chapter is a time. Which kind of makes things more dire, but then Micheline's day wouldn't really start until that evening, so it kind of wonks with my literal brain in wondering where we are in the scheme of things in getting cured before time is up! I mean we start the day at Friday night and then during the course of the action it moves on to Saturday! For someone like me with OCD tendencies it kind of irked me a bit! LOL

There was an interesting twist to the puzzle in this one that once revealed was pretty shocking. But it's also prior to this point that I was getting bored with the story and started skimming pages, I did slow down at this reveal. I can't understand why I wasn't enjoying this story so much. It was good, just not the exciting, terrifying kind of read I was expecting. I can't say I would continue this series--if it turns into one, though it also works well as a standalone--but I might be willing to try another novel by this author if the story fits.

Shutter was an interesting read with promise, but the pacing and overly scientific way of things was my downfall in the end.

Overall Rating 2.5/5 stars--fyi, that means "an okay read" but not quite "a good read"

Shutter releases February 3, 2015


  1. I had high hopes for this one too. I mean look at the cover. i am with you on the science aspect. When there is too much science and it is explained in a way that you need to be Leonard or Sheldon to understand, I am a Penny... so yea it loses me.

  2. The cover is bananas! Great review, sorry you didn't tota love it.

  3. Aw, sorry you didn't like it! That cover creeps me out and I was too scared to request it. Haha!

  4. Ahh this is one of the books that I'm pretty excited about. I'm so sad it didn't work out for you. The premise does sound really good and I can relate, science is my worst subject as well. Great and honest review!

    -Kimi at Geeky Chiquitas

  5. Ah to bad this one didn't deliver. I am now glad I got turned down for this one when I tried to snatch it for review. :)

  6. Sorry it was disappointing for you! This was probably one of my better YA reads in recent weeks, but then again I didn't mind the pacing. Great review!

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

  7. The cover creeps me out so much that it has actually turned me off from reading the book! Disappointed you didn't like it though!
    Naomi @The Perks Of Being A Bookworm

  8. Well, this is disappointing. :( I was really, REALLY hoping for a scary, terrifying horror book! Sciencey stuff kind of confuses me too. I'm a humanities major... I'm still planning to read this one. Hopefully we disagree on this one because I want to love it!!

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds


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