„A Magic Dark and Bright“ by Jenny Adams Perinovic
Amelia Dupree hasn’t seen the Woman in White since the night her brother died.
The ghost seems to have disappeared from the woods surrounding Asylum, Pennsylvania—that is, until Charlie Blue moves into the creepy old MacAllister House next door. Amelia can’t help liking him, even though she spent her childhood thinking his grandmother was a witch. And she definitely can’t ignore the connection between his arrival and the Woman in White’s return.
Then Amelia learns that the Woman in White is a prisoner, trapped between the worlds of the living and the dead. Devastated by the idea that her brother could be suffering a similar fate, Amelia decides to do whatever it takes to help the Woman in White find peace–and Charlie agrees to help her.
But when Amelia’s classmates start to drown in the Susquehanna River, one right after another, rumors swirl as people begin to connect the timing of Charlie’s arrival with the unexplained deaths. As Charlie and Amelia uncover the dark history of Asylum, they realize they may have unleashed an unspeakable evil. One they have to stop before everything they love is destroyed.
(This is going to sound a bit like a rant.
Sometimes a reader needs to do that. I apologize in advance.)
The woman in white. Interesting enough all by itself, but paired with magic and witches, and multiple dead teenagers in a small town in the USA, it’s all kinds of awesome. With that being said, I did have a lot of trouble with how that was dealt with. I found it hard to get into the book. Then the middle was okay, fast paced and interesting enough („interesting“ seems to be the only word I can find to describe it, which speaks for itself just a little bit). But the ending made it really hard to like the book at all, because everything is turned upside down and bordering ridiculous.
But let’s look at this one by one. The plot: the idea was awesome, as I’ve sad. The way it was written way okay, but it could have been better. In the beginning, it always felt like something was missing. In the end, there was just too much of everything and it seemed so random at times.
It also could have been more mysterious. The flashbacks were a great idea, but too obvious. Also the witch thing… if you put an old woman all alone in a creepy house, and then call her a witch on the first page, we’re going to assume she is a witch. Don’t pretend it’s a plot twist.
The characters ran along the same lines. They were okay, funny, interesting and even a little mysterious. But there always seemed to be something missing. And I’m not even talking about things that were left out to make the plot twists more interesting, they just didn’t feel well rounded.
Their backstories, seemed a little random (again, me being repetitive with adjectives, but it’s hard to find others that fit here…) and even though that all came together in the end, none of it felt smooth to me.
It all felt too forced, too obvious, too… I don’t even know what word I’m looking for now.
That all seems really negative, I know. But here is why I still gave it 3 out of 5: it was fun. I want more writers to dive into subjects like ghosts and magic (but especially ghosts, and ladies in white and stuff…) and just have fun with it. Everyone is always trying to become the next Stephen King when venturing into the Horror genre. But we already have a Stephen King. What we need is something new, something fresh. And „A Magic Dark and Bright“ was just that, a much needed breath of fresh air in the YA horror genre. It wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read, but I’ll still continue this series.