Spirit World by Krystalyn Drown
YA paranormal*eBook, 111 pages
Publisher: Entranced Publishing (Blush imprint) published April 8, 2013
All Riesa Adair wants is a normal life. With the end of high school only months away and an outstanding GPA to bolster her college plans, that doesn’t seem like too much to ask.
Unfortunately, the voices screaming in her head keep getting in the way. Somewhere between her summer in a mental institution, and her stepfather’s attempt at an exorcism, she’s learned to keep quiet about her situation. But, pretending to be normal hasn’t prevented the spirit world from taking notice of her. Both sides of an ever-present war have focused in on her. Now she’ll need all the help she can get to escape a powerful spirit threatening to fulfill a prophecy that engenders the entire human world.
Riesa's abilityRiesa's ability to hear Spirits and Ghosts evolved from an image and a question. A girl has a tattoo of the Chinese symbol for serenity on her right shoulder. What is it about her life that made her need that tattoo?
I started with the idea that a girl had angels and demons whispering in her ear, like on cartoons where the character has an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. That changed after I wrote my first chapter. I decided she heard voices, but she didn't know who or what they were. The answer came to me partway through that first draft. She's not hearing angles and demons, she's hearing voices from another world.
I did a little bit of research, but it didn't involve hearing voices, because that was something that came from my own mind. I researched exorcisms and what is often involved in that process. I also did a lot of research on sci-fi and horror movies since Riesa is a movie buff.
Throughout the process, Riesa didn't surprise me too much. She was always pretty clear about what she wanted. She's a very reluctant hero, but I was proud that she found the strength to step up and do what what was necessary, in more ways than one.
About the author:
Krystalyn spent the past thirteen years working at Walt Disney World in a variety of roles: entertainer, talent coordinator, and character captain. Her degree in theatre as well as many, many hours spent in a dance studio, helped with her job there.
Her various other day jobs have included working in zoology at Sea World, as an elementary teacher, and currently as a support technician for a website. In the evenings, she does mad writing challenges with her sister, who is also an author.
Krystalyn lives near Orlando, Florida with her husband, son, a were cat, and a Yorkie with a Napoleon complex.
As a paranormal book junkie, I'm always on the look-out for 'new' stories--a book which takes a myth of a supernatural creature and creates something different. That is what author Krystalyn Drown has done with her young adult novel, Spirit World.
Reisa, a seventeen year old high school senior, has been hearing voices since childhood. Living with the fear of being labelled "a freak," she keeps her episodes to herself. Her parents know and their views and solutions differed so much her father left. Her mother couldn't handle her daughter's 'problem' and sought help. Assistance came in the form of a self-help author and public speaker, Richard, a man she winds up marrying. His ways of dealing with rebellious teens is to talk down to them and he doesn't hesitate to smack Reisa around (when her mother isn't around). Dealing with an abusive stepfather is only one of her problems. When the voices become stronger, screaming at her in the middle of class, and then actually tugging her into another dimension, Reisa is afraid for her life.
Her best friend Connor tries to help her the best way he can by slipping into her room at night as she cries in his arms after another beat down by her stepfather or spiritual experience. When a new guy named Garrett talks to her at a party, little does she know how important he will become. Her friendship with Garrett turns to romance as she learns exactly who and what he is. Reisa finally realizes what her 'gift' and destiny really are.
Another plane exists where spirits and ghosts go. Policed by humans called Guardians, this realm is threatened by a menacing and powerful Fire Spirit who wants to take over and create an army of ghosts and spirits beaten and enslaved. This Fire Spirit needs the human prophesied to be his equal in power and together they will be unstoppable. But Reisa is just learning to use her powers which are increasing as her eighteenth birthday approaches. Garrett introduces her to friends--other Guardians who share similar gifts and spirits--and all share one need to not let the Fire Spirit take over since his wish is to rule both worlds--spirit and human.
Reisa started out as a basket case of a character. Understandably, she was fraught with emotion from dealing with voices and the fear of being committed. She cried easily and frequently. Her solution to dealing with her abusive stepfather was to hang out with friends and drink the pain away. I get her situation but didn't find her sympathetic. She confuses her best friend Connor with her indecisiveness. She doesn't date and then thinks he's attractive. Even her mother points out her behavior to her. Reisa's feelings intensify quickly for Garrett, a nice guy and fellow Guardian.
The cast of secondary characters Reisa meets--from Aunt Vi to Mars and Ellie--were interesting individuals but they didn't feel fully realized to me. The 'bad' adults were stereotypical. The concept of the Spirit World held a weirdly cool appeal and yet the paranormal aspects of the story didn't come across as strongly or smoothly as I wanted them to. At times it was difficult for me to imagine the Spirit Master's home or follow along battle scenes. There was something missing in the execution to make the fantastical aspects believable.
Still, I found Spirit World a pleasing read. Reisa changes as she becomes comfortable with her emerging powers and accepts her destiny. I grew to like her relationship with Garrett (still felt bad for Connor). There was a nice twist in the story later on which surprised me and kept me reading.
I'm very vocal when I love a cover and I have to be vocal when I DON'T like cover. I do not like this cover. The model could be Reisa but the background is too dark. What is that behind her? Netting? A cape? I would not pick this book up from a shelf.
I received a promotional copy in exchange for my honest review.