Monday, February 21, 2011

Review: Betrayal by Lee Nichols

Book: Betrayal by Lee Nichols
Series or Stand-Alone: Haunting Emma #2
Pages:  304
Genre: Young Adult / Urban Fantasy
Purchase A Copy: Amazon | The Book Depository
Publication Date: March 1st, 2011
Description: Emma Vaile is the most powerful ghostkeeper in centuries. Which is great when she's battling the wraith-master Neos, but terrible when she's flirting with fellow ghostkeeper (and soul mate) Bennett. When ghostkeepers fall in love, the weaker one loses all power, and that's not something Bennett can handle. Heartbroken and alone, Emma tries to lose herself in school with fellow ghostkeeper, Natalie. When a new team of ghostkeepers arrive—one a snarky teen boy, the other a British scholar—Emma finds solace in training for the battle against Neos. But as the team grows stronger, they are threatened by an unknown force. One they thought was good.
As chilling and page-turning as Deception, this sequel will grab readers and hold them to the last page. No one is safe from suspicion as Emma closes in on the traitor.
Betrayal picks up soon after Deception ends and Emma is quickly thrown back into the midst of things. I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with this book, I think because I was so fond of Deception. Most of the characters that we came to love in the first book are M.I.A in the sequel. Natalie is the only one (besides Emma) who returns full force, but she was only really in the end of Deception. We see a lot of her throughout Betrayal and she proves to be a loyal friend to Emma.

Bennett, cuts and runs early on in the book, because he simply cannot handle being unable to act on his feelings for Emma. This particular plotline really upset me, because it felt so out of character for him. Are you seriously telling me that they cannot controls themselves enough to be in the same vicinity? Bennett lost most of his appeal for me when he deserted Emma – I really think that he would have stayed close to her; the Bennett from Deception would have wanted to protect Emma. He could have put his hormones aside for a little while so that he could stay by her side.

Sara and Harry are also absent for the majority of the book; or at least the versions of them that we love.  They remain depressed and on the outs with Emma for the majority of the book, so we really don’t see a lot of them. I was rather distraught about this too, because both characters were bright spots in the Deception.
Nichols tries to make things up to us by introducing a couple new characters; Simon and Lukas. 

Unfortunately, they come off as more of a consolation prize. The two new boys are a part of Emma’s ghost keeping team – Lukas is a teenager like Natalie and Emma, while Simon acts as their new guardian. I think that Lukas could grow on me, but Nichols doesn’t spend enough time establishing him as a character for us to really form an attachment to him. I really didn’t get much of a feel for Simon at all; he was rather forgettable.

The title character, Emma, also fell a little flat this time around. She has lost some of her spark; she spends the majority of her time mopping around about losing Bennett. She is rather whinny and unsure of herself. This was disappointing for me because I feel like Emma has the potential to be a wonderful heroine. Hopefully, in the third book, she will grow up a bit more and become more independent.

I am also growing tired of Emma’s missing parents. They pop up once in this book, but don’t offer any actual help. What kind of terrible parents leave their daughter in a mental hospital, when they know that she isn’t crazy – and then just abandon her? I really hope that we aren’t expected to side with the later on, because baby, that just isn’t going to happen.

I will say that the pacing was wonderful in this book. I never felt the urge to skip ahead – there was a steady rhythm throughout the story. Nichols also does an excellent job including a bit of humor; all of the characters are rather snarky. There were a few scenes between Emma, Natalie and Lukas that were an absolute riot. I really hope that their relationship continues to grow, because it has a lot of potential. 

Overall, Betrayal did not live up to my expectations. Nichols did such a remarkable job with Deception, but unfortunately, I think she dropped to ball with the follow-up. I hope that she brings back more of the original characters for the third book, because I their presence was definitely missed this time. I enjoyed reading Betrayal, but I expected more from my favorite teenage ghostkeeper. 
 Favorite Quotes
"I wasn't about to use the original Emma's ring to turn into a ghost. Not only because this was so rediculous, but because I didn't know if there were any side effects, like that ring in Tolkien. All I needed was to start gibbering about my preciousssss."
"Thank you mom for the detailed letter after you've been missing for two months.So glad to here that you and dad a marvelous time, wherever you are. Oh and thanks for keeping the fact that I'm a ghostkeeper a secret all those years. You'll shortly be receiving your nomination for Best Parenting award in the mail. Oh, wait, I don't have your address."


Savannah said...

Oh no! I was hoping to love this book. I really enjoyed Deception and fell for Bennett. But UGH! What heartbreak for him to leave. Loser! Thanks for the review!!

Unknown said...

Thanks for a great, honest review. I absolutely loved Deception. It's a shame this one didn't live up to your expectations. I'll have to read it to see what I think. Thanks for sharing.

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