Tuesday, September 24, 2013

REVIEW: Banish by Nicola Marsh

Alyssa has one week to destroy her enemy, save her spirit... and save her soul. 

After her ex-boyfriend commits suicide and her mum’s alcoholism sparks yet another psychotic episode, seventeen-year-old Alyssa Wood flees her small hometown of Broadwater and heads to New York City to stay with her bohemian aunt — a Wicca High Priestess.

Alyssa revels in the anonymity of a big city and her new life. Her grades climb, she has a new best friend, and a new guy: the sexy geek Ronan — a saxophone player who prefers jazz to pop.

But her newfound peace is soon shattered when she sees a dead body in one of Ronan’s music clips — and she’s the only one who can see it. Worse still, Alyssa recognises the body that has been murdered a week forward!

Alyssa doesn’t believe in the supernatural...despite her family’s Wicca background. So how will she overcome evil when it’s closer than she thinks?

My Thoughts:

I'd reached the first room, bare bar a fireplace, when I heard it.
The faintest squeak of a rubber sole hitting liquid behind me.
As if in slow motion, my head came up and I locked gazes with a killer.

Banish thrusts you right into the middle of the story from the very first page. The story starts in the present and then we go back a week in time and take the journey of how things came to be. And let me tell you, a whole lot happens in the space of that week.

Alyssa Wood has escaped the town of Broadwater after the suicide of her ex boyfriend Noah and her mothers escalation of psychotic episodes and continued spiral into the depths of alcoholism. After the reversal of roles over the last few years and her taking on the role as carer to her mother, Alyssa loves her life in New York, where she lives with her Wiccan High Priestess Aunt. Free from her previous burdens, Alyssa has settled into school, made an amazing friend in Seth, has been crushing on hot musician Ronan who has finally taken her on a first date and her Aunt has stopped trying to thrust her Wiccan beliefs down her throat. Life is looking up.

That is until she receives a video clip from her new boyfriend Ronan of a song he has written for her and at the end there is what appears to be a dead body. The trouble is, she is the only one that can see it. As things escalate over the next few days and Alyssa comes to the realisation that she knows who the dead girl is in the video, she makes the decision to return home to Broadwater and get to the bottom of just what exactly is going on.

Banish is filled with mystery, intrigue and suspense. Yes, there were aspects of the story that I guessed at before the details were finally revealed, but the suspense was not reduced at all because of it. I really enjoyed watching everything unfold and seeing how Alyssa would deal with it all.

Alyssa has such a deep seated belief that the supernatural doesn't exist. It's almost what drives her throughout the story. It doesn't matter what she's witnessed her mum going through or any of the Wiccan rituals that her Mum has practised or her Aunt has tried to get her to believe, Alyssa remains strong in what she believes. She was a strong character. In the face of everything that she is experiencing, she faces it head on. She's determined to get answers and find out the truth. I really liked that about her. Her grief over Noah's death was so raw. It was such a huge weight for a girl so young to be carrying around on her shoulders. But for the most part Alyssa seems much older than her seventeen years. Yes, she had her moments of freak out but I'm pretty sure if I was seeing a dead body that nobody else could see I'd be freaking out as well.

My illicit crush had entered a new category all together, where gawky seventeen year olds could end up dating hot twenty-one year old musicians.

In my dreams.

The romance between Alyssa and Ronan wasn't the main focus of the story but it was a really nice sideline to everything else. It was by no means smooth sailing for the two of them. There's a lot for a new couple to be dealing with and I was glad that they questioned each other. They got angry with each other and they fought. For me, it all seemed to flow fairly naturally between them. 

I loved the supernatural aspect of Banish. While Wicca is mentioned throughout and there are a few rituals and spells, it was never overwhelming to the point that I had no clue what was going on. It was explained just enough for me to wrap my head around and feel that it fit into Alyssa's world perfectly.

Banish is the first YA book published by Nicola Marsh and I found it to be a really enjoyable read and I hope that she dips her toes into the young adult world again.

4.25/5 Stars.

I received Banish for review via Netgalley from HarlequinTeen Australia

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