Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Review - The Light (Morpheus Road, Book 1) by D.J. MacHale (3/5 stars)

I got this book through Traveling ARC Tours; thanks to them for letting me be on the tour.  This is the first book I have read by Hale, and though I am not normally a horror read, the premise sounded interesting and I loved the cover.  This is the first book in the Morpheus trilogy. 

Marshall Seaver is looking forward to a great summer, but then things start to go wrong.  His dad has to go out of town to Las Vegas and his best friend is being shipped off to the family cabin.  Then Seaver, in a fit of anger, breaks a golden ball that is a memento from his deceased mother and things start to get creepy.  Marshall is being haunted and he keeps running into the image of Gravedigger, a graphic novel character that he created.  He needs to figure out what is going on before people start dying.

This book is definitely more of a creepy psychological thriller than a gore fest.  I am a person who is easily scared and I found many parts of this book to be incredibly scary.  I know it is aimed at young adults, but if you have an active imagination I would read it when there are other people around and it is light outside.  Really it did freak me out.  There are some mystery elements to the story as well, Marshall's spends a lot of time trying to piece together various pieces of evidence as he searches for his best friend.  There are also some gross parts; the characters drowning in a boat shed full of blood comes to mind.  The book in general is very reminiscent of your typical teenage horror film.

The book takes a while to get going, it plods slowly ahead with a couple creepy scenes here and there.  Then in the last third of the book things really pick up.  When all was said and done I wish that Hale had gotten through the beginning of the story quicker and spent more time dealing with all the supernatural strangeness surrounding Gravedigger and the Morpheus Road.

I didn't like any of the characters all that much.  Marshall is okay, but I didn't find him particularly engaging.  Sydney is an ice-queen and, though her character thaws a bit as the novel progresses, I still never liked her all that much.

The supernatural surrounding this story is never really all that well defined.  You can't tell if Gravedigger is an anomaly or part of a more world-wide problem.  The story itself is summed up completely, but there are some story threads introduced at the end that promise to be interesting in future books.

Overall I thought the story was okay.  I am not a big horror fan though so it was a bit too scary for me.  The idea behind the Morpheus Road is intriguing but not very well detailed in this story.  The characters were so-so and the story starts out slow.  I am interested to see what the second book in the series brings, but I will probably wait to see what other people say about it before I commit to reading it.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- The Young Adult Reading Challenge
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
- 1st in a Series Reading Challenge
- Thiller and Suspense Challenge
The Light (Morpheus Road) 

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