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Not many seventeen year old girls have a best friend who’s a ghost, but then Mary Hades isn’t your average teenager.
Scarred physically and mentally from a fire, her parents decide a holiday to an idyllic village in North Yorkshire will help her recover. Nestled in the middle of five moors, Mary expects to have a boring week stuck in a caravan with her parents. Little does she know, evil lurks in the campsite…
Seth Lockwood—a local fairground worker with a dark secret—might be the key to uncovering the murky history that has blighted Nettleby. But Mary is drawn to him in a way that has her questioning her judgement.
Helped by her dead best friend and a quirky gay Goth couple, Mary must stop the unusual deaths occurring in Nettleby. But can she prevent her heart from being broken?
The first in a series of dark YA novels, Mary Hades follows on from the bestselling Kindle Single 'My Daylight Monsters'. A spine-tingling tale with romance, readers will be shocked and entertained in equal measure.
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)
Sarah Dalton was one of the authors who participated in the Through a Tangled Wood and Celestial anthologies that I was also part of. It was through Celestial that I was first introduced to the world of Mary Hades, and I'd been wanting to read the related novels ever since. If the first book in the series is any indication, I will enjoy all of them a lot.
Although Mary Hades is a ghost story, the atmosphere was more like The Sixth Sense than Paranormal Activity. There was enough tension to keep you on your toes without making you afraid to turn off the lights, which is what I was looking for. It read more like a paranormal YA book than a horror novel. The writing itself was also engaging, and I breezed through the book in just a couple of days.
What I liked the most about the story were the characters. Mary isn't perfect by any means, but I found myself empathizing with her. Her ghost friend, Lacey, was my favorite character of the story though. I kept wanting her to pop up (literally) more often. The other characters complemented Mary and Lacey well.
What also intrigues me about ghost stories are the rules that govern the story's universe. What can ghosts do and what can't they do? Why are they ghosts in the first place? How do ghosts interact with the physical world? While there were some unanswered questions, the rules set forth in Mary Hades fit well with the story. Both the powers held by the ghosts and their limitations generally made sense and helped the story along.
Although this book was the first in a series, the major plot line was wrapped up nicely while also giving a hint as to what will come in later installments. Whether you just want to read a single good YA ghost story or get involved in a series, Mary Hades is a good place to start.