Ways To See A Ghost by Emily Diamand
Isis has a secret: she can see ghosts. This is particularly disturbing for her because her mother Cally, a clairvoyant, blatantly can’t, especially as her younger daughter Angel (who died in a car accident) keeps appearing and Isis alone can see her. Still, Isis and Cally live fairly happily until Cally meets Gil, a UFO divorcee with a sceptical son called Gray. When her mother gets an invitation to join an elite psychic society run by the charismatic and famous psychic Phil Syndal, Isis finds out there’s a distinctly sinister bent to the invitation and she and Gray must try to find a way to stop Phil’s plans before the danger threatens them all.
I have to admit, this isn’t my favourite read recently. Let’s get the things I didn’t like out of the way first – I always prefer to end a review on a high. First off, if you read any of my reviews before I think I might have mentioned that I read stories mainly for characters rather than plots. At the end of this book, I didn’t find myself really empathising with any of the characters outside of Isis and Angel, her (dead) little sister. I found both parents Cally and Gil selfish, self-centred and completely and utterly oblivious, whilst Gray didn’t really get a chance to shine. I feel like I would have liked him more if he hadn’t just ended up as the narrator whilst Isis was the do-er in the story, if you see what I mean. He got short changed a little bit to my mind.
Second, I did find it a little difficult to follow later parts of the story, particularly the scenes involving the danger both children must face. I won’t go into any real detail because I don’t want to give the ending away but although I know that I do usually have problems following high action scenes I had quite a bit more difficulty than normal following the ones in this book. I couldn’t ‘see’ them in my head, couldn’t track what was happening. I think possibly it’s because the action involves ghosts, which are of course incorporeal so naturally half the action can’t be seen by most of the characters, but I do think though that even if the characters can’t ‘see’ it happening the reader should. However, this is me reading it so it could just be a problem on my part, especially as I know it’s one I’m prone to.
So what did I like? Well, shallow as it may be, the cover is GORGEOUS. Plus, we have a character who is not just white anglo-saxon. True, Gray’s ethnicity has absolutely zero relevance to the story but I wouldn’t necessarily expect it to – it’s just nice to see something other than WASP represented on a cover for a change (and that’s a discussion for another day!).
It has to be said as well that even though ultimately this hasn’t proved to be my favourite, I didn’t stop reading it. I’ve recently had such a backlog of books that I’ve got to the point where if I’m not interested after three chapters I put it aside and try it again later. With this book I blasted through three chapters and only realised how much I’d read when I hit nine. I think it’s because this book did surprise me occasionally. I mean, it’s not every book that tells you one of the main characters is dead within the first chapter, is it? When we first meet Isis we find her at a clairvoyant event her mum is putting on, complete with a bunch of catcallers among other members of the rather more enthusiastic audience. I genuinely had no idea what was going to happen until it did, and that was pretty cool!
So, although this book won’t be getting more than 3 stars from me I can recommend it. Despite my disappointment in the dangerous scenes this could be put down to me as a reader and the book did surprise me in places. Certainly I didn’t stop reading it or leave it until later, so it’s definitely worth a peek.
Find Ways to See a Ghost here.