Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Book Review- Halfway Dead

Halfway Dead  by Terry Maggert


Carlie McEwan loves many things.
She loves being a witch. She loves her town of Halfway, NY—a tourist destination nestled on the shores of an Adirondack lake. Carlie loves her enormous familiar, Gus, who is twenty-five pounds of judgmental Maine Coon cat, and she positively worships her Grandmother, a witch of incredible power and wisdom. Carlie spends her days cooking at the finest—and only—real diner in town, and her life is a balance between magic and the mundane, just as she likes it.
When a blonde stranger sits at the diner counter and calls her by name, that balance is gone. Major Pickford asks Carlie to lead him into the deepest shadows of the forest to find a mythical circle of chestnut trees, thought lost forever to mankind. There are ghosts in the forest, and one of them cries out to Carlie across the years. Come find me.
Danger, like the shadowed pools of the forest, can run deep. The danger is real, but Carlie’s magic is born of a pure spirit. With the help of Gus, and Gran, and a rugged cop who really does want to save the world, she’ll fight to bring a ghost home, and deliver justice to a murderer who hides in the cool, mysterious green of a forest gone mad with magic.

My thoughts
I liked Carlie.  Sure, she was a typical early twenties gal, but she was relatable.  I liked her strong sense of self-worth.  She wasn’t whiny, or broody, or constantly wondering what to do with her life.  She was self-assured and strong and stable.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had it figured out at such a young age?  So, she worked at a diner, and probably would the rest of her life.  She took that job and rocked it.  If she were going to make waffles, she would make the best damn waffles, ever.  You go, girl!  She doesn’t let the little mundane things of life get her down, because as a witch, she knows there is so much more out there.  Now, let’s all remember one thing here.  This is a FICTIONAL novel.  I read the negative reviews before I read the book.  They all focused on how a “real witch” would do this or that, or know this and this.  She is a fictional character, and thus, can do (or not do) whatever she wants. 

I really liked Jim Dietrich.  His character was well developed, we learned his backstory throughout the novel, his motivations for doing what he was doing.  We learned character traits.  He was the hero, the good guy, the perfect protagonist until he sacrificed himself to save Carlie.  I guess you can’t have a hero unless he does something heroic.  What a shame, I would have loved to have seen Jim and Carlie develop a relationship and go out into the world kicking butt with magic and bullets.  Instead, we got the vampire.

Yes, the vampire.  How stereotypically clichéd.  Oh, sorry, the 1000-year-old half-Vampire half-Viking human who is friends with Tinkerbell in fighting armor.  I rolled my eyes so hard that I gave myself a headache.  Enter the insta-love.  Carlie even says that she doesn’t go for lust, she prefers long-simmering build-up.  However, what she says and what happens are two different things.  Chalk it up to being in perilous situations together, I suppose. 

The storyline was new, for me.  The intrigue of why everyone was after these trees had me wondering if it wasn’t really about something else entirely.  I was right, but it was unrelated to the trees.  I felt the bit about the trees was ultimately left unresolved.  We were a little slow going, at first, but I let that go.  This is a series, after all.  He had to set the groundwork for not one, but a series of novels.  At this point, there are three in the series.  I am not sure if there will be more.  Once the real action started happening, it happened very quickly.  I feel like everything happened in the last third of the book.  Bam, happy ending.  Oh, oops I forgot to resolve the little tidbit about Wulfric’s child.  I’ll just leave a little note on Carlie’s doorstep saying mom and baby ran away.  The End. 

Overall, this series as a whole has great potential, as long as the author can stay away from clichés.  I really, really hope so, because I love Carlie.  Despite the bad things I had to say, I liked this book.  It was an easy read.  YA/NA audience, with low gore and an implied sexual scene.  As in one short sex scene, at the end, and not graphic by any means.  It is good for younger teens if they can handle the scarier aspects of the novel.  It does border on horror, especially towards the end (which I LOVED).  The author graphically details the scenes, fights, and villains.  As an editor, I highly enjoyed reading the novel as there were very few grammatical errors.  I found TWO in the whole novel, which is unheard of for me.  I always find at least one, even in novels published by the giant firms.  I do recommend this novel and give it THREE-and-a-HALF STARS for great potential and easy readability.  Knocked a whole star off for clichés and vampires. 

I say great job, good sir! 

Wow, now that I have gotten over my first negative review, I don’t hold back, do I?


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