Early Review: MARY: The Summoning (Bloody Mary #1) by Hillary Monahan
Just looking at this cover gives me chills. Thank goodness the ARC didn't have a cover or I'd never have been able to even go near this book. I don't know why I thought I was brave enough to read a book about Bloody Mary, but in the name of a responsible book blogger, I decided not to shirk my duties, and instead risk possible nightmares and further my fear of mirrors, bathrooms, and the dark. Luckily, 'Mary: The Summoning' wasn't as scary as it could have been, but that doesn't mean it was a walk in the park either.
At first, I thought that the reason I wasn't ducking under mirrors and refusing to shower alone was that I had finally grown into a mature woman who wasn't as easily scared. Of course, after thinking about it, that obviously wasn't even close to the truth. I believe it's because the main character, Shauna, almost always had two of her three friends with her whenever Mary attacked. Everyone knows that everything is scarier when you're alone, and this author almost never used that tactic, thus making it so much less scarier than it could have been. While I'm thankful that I'm not afraid to go to the bathroom alone, I still wish that the novel scared the everything out of me, or at least had that spooky feeling to it (I will admit though that I shivered several times while reading this).
The other aspect that kept the story from reaching its full, creeptastic potential was Mary herself. To tell the truth, I was more scared of Mary when she was human than as a ghost. As a "ghost", she had little to no intelligence. So yes, what I'm saying is she was stupid (just checked the mirror to see if she was going to murder me for saying that). How Mary was described was disgusting and creepy, sure, but what is a villain without genius, right? While reading Mary's letters to her sister though, when she was still alive, I felt empathetic toward her plight, but I just kept waiting to see the moment she changed into Bloody Mary, because that's what everyone always wants to know. That little tidbit was revealed at the end, and while it wasn't traumatizing enough to cause someone to become a freaky ghost, it was by far the most shudder-inducing part of the book.
There was only one thing I absolutely hated about the book, and that was the death of one of the very best characters in the novel. I don't get why the good ones always get the worst things to happen to them, but they do, and it sucks. I hope that the character somehow returns in the next novel; it seems like it could happen, and I doubt the author would have the heart to permanently remove one of the best characters in the novel.
Speaking of the next book, are cliffhangers not good enough for authors anymore, because it seems to me that there are more and more novels where authors choose to replace cliffhangers with incomplete endings, which is by far more annoying. It just...it doesn't make sense. Especially at the end of this book, you're left with your jaw hanging open, not craving more, but just waiting for the end, even if it's a temporary one.
While 'Mary: The Summoning' wasn't the greatest Bloody Mary story out there, it provides an interesting background to Bloody Mary, one that, for once, doesn't have her being Marie Antoinette (not that I object to royal ghosts). Despite my fears, I wish the story would have been scarier, and that the book went into more depth about Mary Worth's past. Overall, this was an interesting read, and the plot was quick enough that it never got boring.
Book Synopsis: There is a right way and a wrong way to summon her.
Jess had done the research. Success requires precision: a dark room, a mirror, a candle, salt, and four teenage girls. Each of them--Jess, Shauna, Kitty, and Anna--must link hands, follow the rules . . . and never let go.
A thrilling fear spins around the room the first time Jess calls her name: "Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. BLOODY MARY." A ripple of terror follows when a shadowy silhouette emerges through the fog, a specter trapped behind the mirror.
Once is not enough, though--at least not for Jess. Mary is called again. And again. But when their summoning circle is broken, Bloody Mary slips through the glass with a taste for revenge on her lips. As the girls struggle to escape Mary's wrath, loyalties are questioned, friendships are torn apart, and lives are forever altered.
A haunting trail of clues leads Shauna on a desperate search to uncover the legacy of Mary Worth. What she finds will change everything, but will it be enough to stop Mary--and Jess--before it's too late?
Source: Received a copy from Disney Hyperion for review.