Summary: Belladonna Johnson is your usual twelve-year-old girl, save for the facts that his father greets her from the living room walls and his mother keeps the home with an array of floating utensils. As much as everyone knows, they should be dead for almost a year, but life does continue almost normally in the Johnson household because Belladonna possesses the eye for supernatural beings like everyone with Nightshade lineage. One day however, strange occurrences start happening, and soon all ghosts in the town (and possibly the world) vanish. With her newfound friend Steve, Belladonna embarks in a journey to solve the mystery.
Comment: Honestly, I’ve never come this close in regretting a book purchase. Because I normally steer away from book review sites like Goodreads.com before I actually read the book in question (to avoid spoiler, obviously) I didn’t know this is part of a series. Nothing on the cover indicates it, so I bought it thinking it was a oneshot light fantasy novel. I was wrong.
However, just like the Riley Bloom series, that wouldn’t normally stop me from enjoying the book. But boy, my tolerance is constantly drained throughout the book. Bombarded with terms foreign to the readers and having to make peace with the slow pace of the story, I was tempted to stop reading halfway through. Of course, I resisted because it’d be against my code. Yet till the end, just like Belladonna whose family and acquaintances deem ‘not ready to understand’, I knew nothing. What, or who is the Spellbinder? What is the role of the Knight, and who chose him? What actually happened? Oh right, nothing is answered because no one would give any explanation to an impulsive elementary school student.
It doesn’t help that Belladonna is awfully flat as a character. Steve gets better character development in the course of the book. She is described as a girl with sunny disposition whose optimism is believed by the whole school to be endless. Yet what I see is a brooding, gloomy preteen.
There is a couple of good scenes every now and then, but mostly I am wondering about the uncertain storyline. Of course, there is a good chance that I might change my mind with a rereading, but for now I’d just let it be at the bookshelf. Had I written this yesterday, before discovering the book indeed has sequels, you’ll be reading a much harsher comments. I am not so enthusiast in getting the other two books, but I am willing to give them a chance if I encounter them.