Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero

Rating 3.5 out of 5
Publisher: Ebury Digital (August 14, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0091956463
ISBN-13: 978-0091956462


 What begins as a clever, gothic ghost story soon evolves into a wickedly twisted treasure hunt in The Supernatural Enhancements, Edgar Cantero's wholly original, modern-day adventure. When twentysomething A., the unexpected European relative of the Wells family, and his companion, Niamh, a mute teenage girl with shockingly dyed hair, inherit the beautiful but eerie estate of Axton House, deep in the woods of Point Bless, Virginia, it comes as a surprise to everyone—including A. himself. After all, he never even knew he had a "second cousin, twice removed" in America, much less that the eccentric gentleman had recently committed suicide by jumping out of the third floor bedroom window—at the same age and in the same way as his father had before him . . . Together, A. and Niamh quickly come to feel as if they have inherited much more than just a rambling home and a cushy lifestyle. Axton House is haunted, they know it, but that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the secrets they slowly but surely uncover. Why all the suicides? What became of the Axton House butler who fled shortly after his master died? What lurks in the garden maze and what does the basement vault keep? And what of the rumors in town about a mysterious gathering at Axton House on the night of the winter solstice? Told vividly through a series of journal entries, scrawled notes, recovered security footage, letters to Aunt Liza, audio recordings, complicated ciphers, and even advertisements, Edgar Cantero has written a dazzling and original supernatural adventure featuring classic horror elements with a Neil Gaiman-ish twist.

 I have been trying to finalise this review for awhile and I still don't know what to write. I did enjoy the story and was fascinated by it, but at the same time it irked me. I don't like horror so the only reason I picked this book up is because a few book blogger friends highly recommended it. But the fact that I don't even like the genre yet kept reading and ultimately enjoyed the book should be an indicator of how interesting this book is.

The different points of view really bugged me. This however was slightly different as it is told from various "sources" diary extracts, official records, transcripts of videos and quotes from books. I admit to skimming through the text book quotes. They bored me and I didn't see the point (fickle I know). Sometimes the jumps didn't make sense either. It did frustrate me a little especially at the start. It does all tie together eventually but the sudden change of view/genre just made it hard for me to really get into the flow.

It was also a slow read. Plodding and scattered. The momentum built up towards the end but it is in no way shape or form  an action adventure type book. It also isn't a horror book like you would imagine. It is a lot more complicated then that. I won't say more in case it ruins the story.

Yet despite the annoyances, as I reached the end of the book I was hooked. I didn't even guess the mystery but I did guess the reveal at the very end (but only a page or two before it was revealed). I liked that the story wasn't predictable and was a unique take on the supernatural/ghostie genre. The story was interesting and once I got over my irritation of the different points of view and the pacing I did enjoy it.

I enjoyed reading from A (his name is never fully revealed) and Nimhs points of view which is probably why I disliked it when the view changed. I wanted to read more of their point of view. The setting was mid 90's so I enjoyed the pop culture references through out the book.

Ultimately it was a fascinating story and it kept the reader guessing. It wasn't predictable at all (well for me anyway) and was an interesting way to present a suspenseful horror mystery type book. I gave this book a 3.5 because I didn't love it but would recommend to others to read. I would even read a sequel if there was one.

Recommended for people who like clever quirky mysteries (with a touch of horror).

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