Author: Sherry Torgent
Publisher: Blue Ink Press
Publishing Date: March 2016
I received this book from Blue Ink Press in exchange for an honest and objective review.
In this sequel to Dandelion on Fire (which wrecked my heart, by the way), we journey with Hardy, Emma, Cricket, and Asia. With the tragedies of book one still wreaking havoc on Hardy’s heart, he begins the next phase of his life at Ellery University. He’s beginning to accept this simple fact – he can see dead people. When the bright light alerts him to the death of someone nearby in his classroom Hardy has to make a choice – wreck his first day of college and admit he’s a gifted freak, or keep silent and watch someone die.
As if starting college wasn’t hard enough, now Hardy has to cope with his emotions for Emma, who is completely out of his league. With a mysterious pull between them, Hardy knows something isn’t quite right about Emma, but the mystery only pulls at him more.
When students at Ellery University begin getting sick Hardy finds himself thrown into the heroes roll again having to sniff out the truth. With Emma and his friends by his side, they scour Greene Island’s past to discover the truth. Is Viola alive, and has she brought her curse with her? Or is this a man-made monstrosity? As secrets find themselves told and truths discovered Hardy and his gang must confront harsh realities and face consequences more serious than either of them expected.
Pros and Cons:
The prologue in this novel was perfect backstory. It was written so well that I would have been fine with the first half of this book following Viola and everything that took place following her future-altering decisions. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I was dying to find out what happened with Hardy after the end of Dandelion on Fire but put a girl on a ship with a knife tucked into her shoe and I’m game!
I loved Torgent’s approach to her characters and their development, too. It was interesting to see how the tragedies in DoF affected them in this installment. For the most part, I really loved how easily Torgent made the story flow and connected the dots – as this is a mystery series – but I also felt that in some of her foreshadowing she made some of the plot too clear. There was only one time that I had made a guess about the plot and got it wrong. Now that’s not to diminish from it being a great novel, I just wish that it had the same level of shock factor as book 1. Dandelion on Fire had me in tears needing a counseling session from a bestie at 2am, and The Curse of Viola didn’t do that for me.
That being said, though, I’m still really eager to see what happens in Death’s Whistle as I was very happy with the ending to book two. Things came full circle and the resolutions were set up perfectly for a sequel.
The main character in book two is still Hardy, who hasn’t changed much. Of course, since the end of book two had such a radical impact on him, we do see those effects: increased nail-biting, social ineptness, and awkward outbursts. He’s such a sweet character, and he honestly feels so much. He’s not just a big emotional wreck, though, he’s also brave. His bravery often leads to stupid decisions, though, which makes for some humor in the book. He’s kind of mindless at times, too. He often says something and then tries to hit the reverse button on the vacuum as if he could magically suck the words back into his mouth.
Emma struggles with a lot of identity issues – and if you read book one you know why. She’s a strong female character, which I’m a sucker for! I love her spunk and attitude, and she really has this “No BS” mindset. In as much as she’s brave and forward, she’s also soft spoken. She has this gentle spirit about her that makes her really quite lovely. Its the soft strength that I find usually draws me into characters. Anyone can be brazen, and “balls to the walls” as some put it, but it takes an entirely different kind of strength to speak the truth in love and to be soft when the world works tirelessly to make you hard.
Cricket irritated me for a good portion of the book, to be honest. At one point he assigns everyone in their gang a character from Scooby-Doo. He automatically places himself as Fred, the leader, which is so inaccurate. Cricket reminded me more of Shaggy in that he was timid and looked for a way out of every frightening commitment that needed to be made. I softened towards him slightly as the novel continued, but that was mostly because of an interaction he has with another character about half way through the novel. Aside from that I felt Cricket was dismissive of his friends, disrespectful, and rather annoying. He was quick to choose what he felt was “right” regardless of how it might affect those around him and for that reason I regularly imagined myself punching him.
Asai fell flat on me initially, but as the plot thickened I began to understand her character more, especially in her interactions with other characters. Her monotone personality became spunky and fierce when her anger flared and that drew me to her. It was also interesting to see a few soft moments with her, and how she handled them. She was a good friend in that she would voice her opinion but she didn’t mistreat the person if they didn’t agree or didn’t follow her instructions.
I rated this novel 4 stars because in some ways it felt like a step down from book one. When you rock someone’s world like Torgent did mine, it’s really hard to follow up. That being said, this book was really key for character development and backstory. It dug deeper into the mysteries of DoF and then took a life of its own in other ways. I gave this book a PG rating as there is no cursing or sexual scenes, making this book easily safe for a 12 year old. With slight violence, death, and paranormal I do still suggest parental guidance. I am really excited to see what happens in book 3, Death’s Whistle! Thank you Sherry Torgent for writing such a lovely series and I’m so excited to go on the next journey with you!