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Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Light (Morpheus Road #1) by D. J. MacHale

Marshall Seaver is being haunted.

In the first installment of this chillingly compelling trilogy, sixteen-year-old Marshall discovers that something beyond our world is after him. The eerie clues pile up quickly, and when people start dying, it’s clear whatever this is, it’s huge.

Marshall has no idea what’s happening to him, but he’s soon convinced that it has something to do with his best friend Cooper, who’s been missing for over a week. Together with Coop’s sister, Marsh searches for the truth about what happened to his friend, ultimately uncovering something bigger than he could ever have imagined.

First Look: ***** I don’t know why I haven’t picked this up before now. What was I waiting for? I mean, it’s D. J. MacHale, who wrote the amazing-beyond-amazing Pendragon series. I’m now convinced that MacHale is genius in carbon form.*

Setting: ***** Stony Brook! I loved how the story took place in the same town as the Pendragon series started out in. The town itself isn’t anything special, it’s just a smallish town. But I like how MacHale used the same places (school, restaurant, etc.) from Pendragon.

Characters: ***** I liked Marsh because he reminded me of myself, in that he’s very introverted and doesn’t mind it one bit. He’s not really an outcast, but he’s not popular, either. But he wasn’t the cliché loner-friendless-kid, either, which I liked. He seemed very realistic.

I really felt for him. I felt his emotions when he remembered his mom, when he thought of his missing best friends. He went through quite a bit, and he reacted to this in ways that a real person would react.

Plot: ***** I’ve never been a huge fan of straight-up ghost stories (probably because most fail to creep me out as promised), but I liked this one. The storyline had plenty of mystery and suspense, enough to keep me interested all the way through. I liked how this book blended paranormal and reality. There was the whole creepy supernatural ghost thing going on. At the same time, Marsh also had real-life problems, like his missing best friend. I liked how they remained separate at first, but then became intertwined.

Uniqueness: ***** It’s a paranormal story, but it’s unique. It's what I call "real paranormal". It stands out from the pile of YA novels that deal with ghosts and other similar things.

Writing: ***** D. J. MacHale can write. Yes, that’s all I can say.

Okay, fine. I’ll elaborate. Starting this, I was a bit afraid that the awesome voice from Pendragon wouldn’t carry through to this series. I soon found out that it wouldn’t be a problem. MacHale is the only author I know of that can write his action scenes in fairly large block paragraphs and still have them work. If most other writers tried this, it’d be boring and hard to read. But somehow, MacHale pulls it off.

Likes: MARK DIMOND!!!! A wild Mark Dimond appears! For those of you who don’t know, Mark was a major character in the Pendragon series. Through all ten books, he was one of my absolute favorites. And he was mentioned in this book. This made me extremely happy. Yay.

Also, here's a did-you-know?: Morpheus is the Greek god of dreams.  I'm curious to see is this comes into play later in the series, or if it was just used for the cool name. 

Not-so-great: "Find the poleaxe, Marshall.  Bring me the poleaxe!"  It seems to me like Marsh has a cell phone and iPod, but no Google.  He keeps being told to get the poleaxe, but he keeps desperately insisting he has no idea what a poleaxe is.  Why don't you look it up, genius?  Or here, let me Google that for you.

Total Score: I really liked this book. It was different from many things I read, which was a good thing. I liked Marsh as a character. The whole book was exciting, mysterious, and creepy. It takes quite a bit in a book to creep me out, but this was definitely getting there. And the ending leaves the story in a place where you just have to know more. Recommended for fans of ghost stories, or other “real paranormal” books (none of these vampires and angels and such). And D. J. MacHale fans, of course.

*It’s entirely possible that no one has ever before been called “genius in carbon form”. It’s like that game where you try to come up with a sentence that’s never been said or written before. Like “Plaid flannel-loving squirrels are not Facebook fans of Darren Criss, nor are they close relatives of Steve Jobs.”

Reviews of other Morpheus Road novels:
The Black (Morpheus Road #2)
The Blood (Morpheus Road #3)
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