Review: Possess

Review: PossessPossess by Gretchen McNeil
Published by Balzer + Bray on August 23, 2011
Genres: Horror, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 379
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Goodreads
half-star

Rule #1: Do not show fear.
Rule #2: Do not show pity.
Rule #3: Do not engage.
Rule #4: Do not let your guard down.
Rule #5: They lie.

Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her mom, by the cute son of a local police sergeant, and by the eerie voices she can suddenly and inexplicably hear. Unfortunately for Bridget, it turns out the voices are demons – and Bridget has the rare ability to banish them back to whatever hell they came from.

Terrified to tell people about her new power, Bridget confides in a local priest who enlists her help in increasingly dangerous cases of demonic possession. But just as she is starting to come to terms with her new power, Bridget receives a startling message from one of the demons. Now Bridget must unlock the secret to the demons' plan before someone close to her winds up dead – or worse, the human vessel of a demon king.

First Sentence: “Bridget stared at the clock on the wall and cursed its painfully slow progression toward three fifteen.”

Review:
Bridget Liu is a whiner. Seriously. She’s one of those heroine’s that’s all ‘waaah, I have a special power, but I just want to be normal.’ Just get over it! I mean, yeah, of all the powers out there being able to exorcize people wouldn’t exactly be my power of choice, but you’ve got it, so you might as well deal with it instead of complaining about it.

That’s the thing, though, Bridget’s pretty unhappy with pretty much everything in her life, and she whines about it constantly. However, she makes little to no effort to change any of these things. She doesn’t want to help people with her powers, but she comes running to help whenever the priests ask her too. She doesn’t like her mom dating so soon after her dad’s death, but instead of calmly discussing it with her she ignores it and then throws temper tantrums. She claims to dislike Matt Quinn, who I am affectionately calling ‘Hottie Stalker,’ yet she continues to agree to hang out with him, all the while bemoaning the circumstances that brought her there (namely, her choosing to be there with him), in between fits of swooning mentally about how hot he is.

Even worse than her perpetual plaintive protestations, though, is the fact that they all take place next to her thoughts about what a badass she is. If you just heard her internal monologue, except for the part where she melts into a puddle of goo when super sexy Matt does anything, you might think this heroine was a tough, take no prisoners, straight up biatch. Seriously, she even called herself a badass in her thoughts, only a few pages after she congratulated herself on having strong Matt to protect her now. UGH!

You may be wondering about my moniker for Matt that I mentioned earlier. He is constantly showing up where she is, inquiring about where she’s been, and talking to her mom (both in person and on the phone). They may have been childhood friends, and they may sort of be close now, but that’s weird. In addition to Hottie Stalker, there’s also Awkward Stalker. Bad luck, right? She has two freaking stalkers. The other one is one of her two best friends, Peter Kim. Peter’s been obsessed with her for years, and, apparently, despite being friends for so long, she can’t talk to him about anything because he’ll interrupt her to repeatedly say how much he loves her. He’s constantly getting jealous about her relationship with Matt and seems to know things about her he shouldn’t. Yet, they are still friends.

The Peter Kim thing bothered me from the very beginning. He has the most pathetic crush on Bridget, which is fine, except that this apparently has to mean he becomes a creepy stalker. Part of the problem could be how wishy-washy Bridget is, although I think he still should have figured it out by now, but, in real life, most guys would just hide their crush. Plus, the third person in their friend group, sassy gay friend Hector, just makes everything worse. He constantly forces the conversation back to the Bridget-Peter drama. Who does that? These people just did not feel at all like real friends, or real people really.

The fantasy elements were a bit off-putting to me as well. Here’s the things: the book came across as very religious. I mean, obviously that’s a danger with a topic like demons/angels, but it can be done less heavy-handedly than this. Of the angel/demon books I’ve read, this one definitely seemed to be the most religion-oriented, which may be because of the creepy priests telling her what to do all of the time or who knows what. Maybe it’s just me. I also found the plot trite and predictable; the writing weak.

Obviously, I did not care for this one. However, I do intend to give McNeil’s new novel Ten a try, because the plot sounds very And Then There Were None. Anyway, I do think people who enjoy the novels of Kimberly Derting and Courtney Alison Moulton, both who offered blurbs for the back cover of the book, might enjoy Possess.

2 responses to “Review: Possess”

  1. Wow, this book doesn’t sound appealing at all! I would’ve like to see some example quotes, though. Haha great monikers. XD Loved that you lay down the descriptions of each sexy/awkward/creepy/stalkerish guy. Disappointed that this was a bad book, though, because there seems to be heavy Asian influence in this. πŸ™

  2. Awww, sucks that you did not like Possess. I do agree that Bridget is kind of whiny, but then I remember being a teen and whiny and full of angst myself.

    I liked this one a little more than you did, BUT when I originally tried to read it I had to do a fake DNF, where I stop in the middle and then set it aside to try again later. I liked it better on my second try.

    Here’s to hoping Ten is much better! πŸ™‚

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