Ok, I am woman enough to admit this. The only reason that I picked up this book was because of the cover.
But – and yes, there is a but – the reason I chose to read it was because of the amazing premise:
High-schooler and Classics prodigy Jack Perdu spends much of his time with his nose in a book. And if he’s not doing that then he’s helping the head of the Classics department at Yale translate the ancient Greek texts. (Ok, see, that alone was enough to drag me in. I am a sucker for intellectual characters.) After being involved in a car accident, Jack is suddenly bestowed with the power of seeing ghosts, and then conveniently stumbles upon a map to the underworld. This is an invitation that Jack can’t resist, as several years ago he lost his mother to a terrible accident and both he and his father have never been the same since. So with the help of a young ghost girl whom he meets, Euri (yes, short for Eurydice, as in the girl from the myth) Jack decides to try his luck at finding his mother. Along the way he discovers his own powers, meets several colorful and sometimes intellectual ghosts, while being on the run for his life from the underworld guards (as he’s trespassing, being a living human and all that.)
With a great premise that includes such a combination of colorful characters and Greek mythology to work with, you should be left with a pretty good book, right?
(You have no idea how long it took to me to make that gif. Or how insanely proud of that I am right now.)
That wasn’t the case, unfortunately. The problem is that it is just too short. The novel itself is quite slim, and the chapters themselves seem to come to a close in the blink of an eye. And with such little elbow room to perform in the characters end up falling flat. The potential is there, but Marsh doesn’t give her characters nearly enough time to develop into something credible. Even with Jack, our protagonist, I was left feeling like I wanted more. There’s a crucial scene when he and Euri have an emotional conversation, but even that is so skimmed over, that it felt so unreal as I read. And when I mean unreal, I mean not real. It felt so contrived, as if Marsh was telling us “Look they’re sad. So you be sad, too.” No. Show me that they are sad. Make them real enough that I am sad on their behalf. There was a lack of depth to everything, and it left me with such a huge sense of disappointment. Because Marsh has such a great premise. And she’s created all these great character. But they are all two dimensional that in the end it doesn’t matter how colorful they are, because that color begins to smudge away very quickly.
Ghosts. Greek mythology. An entrance to the underworld through New York Grand Central Station. This is a great idea. But the book doesn’t give itself enough time to become what it could have been. And it makes me want to howl.
So 1.5 out of 5 miserable, howling ghosts from me.
a disappointed Lady Disdain