The last thing Gemma Pope expects to study in the after-school book club is demon etiquette but that is exactly what she has to do to succeed as a summoner and save her hometown.
Since taking the blame for the car accident that claimed the lives of her twin brother and two of her best friends, she s been seeing things. Dark shadows, opaque, menacing, multiplying.
The clock starts ticking when the local mild-mannered librarian suffers a psychotic break and pulls a gun on her reading circle. People are dying in disasters and wars all over the world. Gemma s dad is getting weird, her classmates are becoming violent, and the darkness surrounding Harrisport is getting thicker.
Does she trust hot English Lit teacher Mr. Flynn or Ian, the mysterious new kid in town, who has knowledge beyond his years and access to other dimensions?
It is only when the gates to hell are opened, that Gemma learns who her real friends are.
Discover what lies just beyond the veil of humanity in the sleepy town of Harrisport.
My Review 5 out of 5 Stars *****
Where do I start, first of all thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to read the ARC of this book in return for an honest review.
Second, I LOVE the cover of this book. It is what caught my eye. It reminds me of The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves, both of which I adored.
I wasn’t expecting this story, it really, really captivated me. It starts with Gemma, a girl you immediately know has a story and she does. She is returning back to school following the tragic accident that claimed the life of her beloved twin brother Brian and friends Jenny and Mimi.
She is disconnected to her dad and apart from her friend Charlotte the rest of the school blame her for the deaths. She also has a ghost camping out on her front lawn, a new sexy teacher Mr Flynn and a mysterious new boy Ian.
Then she sees them, dark, black shadowy mists that are lurking on the edge, waiting and watching. When her nemesis Allison, Brian’s former girlfriend attacks her she sees the blackness is consuming her. It’s in her eyes. When Ian comes to her rescue he tells her he sees them too.
She sparks a friendship with him but also Mr Flynn, a rather yummy character suggests she join his book club. When she reluctantly agrees she realizes she is the only member and Mr Flynn wants to teach her how to summon demons by performing the sigil ritual and chanting from an old grimoire.
What I loved about this story was the easy style of writing, the character development and the way AJ didn’t candy coat Gemma’s grief, guilt or fear of what was happening. The story flowed and grew with excellent fluidity and you were kept on the hook of wanting more by the ease of flow.
The story built great momentum and even though you knew either Mr Flynn or Ian were double crossing her it wasn’t obvious. As the shadows were closing in, taking their hold on the towns people was when it really took off. The scene where she is trapped in the locker room by Allison and Matt was explosive, it was the catalyst to everything going to hell in a hand basket.
Gemma draws her line of who she trusts (Ian) and who she thinks is leading her to hell (Mr Flynn) and then it explodes. I couldn’t turn the page (if you can still say that reading a kindle) fast enough. The summoning of Abbadon was intense and shocking, as too was the bigger story of her mother and her relationship with her brother.
More than that, you could see what was there in the beginning coming together with the ending to make the story complete. I knew when what came from the chamber not to return was the set up for the next adventure and I’m happy to say it didn’t end on one of those annoying cliff hangers that has you face planted in the sofa for weeks wondering what just hit you. But you know there is more to come.
This is the first book for AJ Salem and she has done a fabulous job. It had hints of Maya Dyer as well as Beautiful Creatures with a whole host of demonology just to be the right side of awesome. I give it massive thumbs up.