Haunted by Lisa Childs

haunted.gifI think I need a new rule. I should not be allowed to read before going to sleep… or at least I shouldn’t be allowed to read Nocturne novels before then, ’cause they seem to have a 50% track record of pissing me the fuck off.

Lisa Childs’s Haunted has an interesting (albeit overdone) premise. There are three sisters, separated as children, who have different psychic gifts. The heroine of this book, Ariel, can see–and sometimes communicate with–ghosts. It’s both a gift and a curse (and is repeated ad nauseaum throughout the book.)

Oh yeah… and someone wants her and her sisters dead.

Ariel is involved with David, your average romance novel rich guy. Near the beginning of the book, he proposes to her, but she isn’t sure about it. See, she thinks that nobody can love her because of her “curse.” Or is it a gift? And she doesn’t trust David enough to confide in him. (Later on, she believes he might be the killer.)

Honestly, for a “romance” novel, there was little to no “romance” in this. Ariel is at least a two-dimensional character. David doesn’t even make it to that. There’s nothing more than hints about his past until the last fifty or so pages of the book, and he doesn’t show that he loves Ariel. Sure, he says it all the fucking time… like that’s supposed to mean something.

The characterisation in this book feels very wooden. For a book that’s supposed to be based around emotions, that’s not a good thing. I could sympathise with Ariel and her search to find her sisters, but it felt like David was more of an afterthought than anything else. This book would’ve been a heck of a lot better had David been left out entirely and it published as a paranormal “chick lit” (or women’s fiction, or whatever they’re calling it nowadays) novel. Yes, one of the major issues in the novel is Ariel learning to trust someone besides herself… but really, that does not equal romance, and that’s about all David and Ariel getting married boiled down to.

That and the constantly-shifting POV drove me bonkers. You know how people say that if you avoid head-hopping and stick to one POV per scene, you’re good? This book proves that ain’t true. It starts out with a brief scene several hundred years earlier, then pops forward to when Ariel was a kid, then hops to Ariel present, then to another person, and another, and…..

You get my point.

Except, David doesn’t have any POV scenes. But, of course, if you want the reader to suspect him of being the killer, then we can’t show inside his head, right!? Uhh, no. Skipping POV altogether is taking the easy way out.

This is one of those books that tries to be too many things. It tries to be a paranormal. It tries to be a suspense. It tries to be a romance. For me, it succeeded at none.

At this point, I’m debating whether or not to keep buying the Nocturne line. Might for awhile longer, but two wall-bangers in the first few months … doesn’t bode well.

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

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