Shutter: Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She’s aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera’s technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.
When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn’t exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she’s faced before . . . or die trying.
Lock, stock, and lens, she’s in for one hell of a week. -Goodreads
This was another “judged a book by its cover” grab from the library. I don’t think I even read the description before I tucked Shutter under my arm and made a bee-line for the checkout. Sometimes that can end horribly, but in this case, it went swimmingly. Courtney Alameda delivers a solid Young Adult Horror/Paranormal read. To be honest, I have issues labeling it as horror since there was nothing scary in it to me. However, regardless of how you choose to label it genre-wise, it was entertaining.
I found it pleasing that Alameda would take the ‘capturing ghosts on film’ thing so literally, and spell it out in such a way that you could legitimately believe it. The action was paced wonderfully, with just enough downtime to let you catch your breath. There was a wonderful lack of a love triangle, and the main female was feisty and stubborn – but not perfect. She definitely gets whomped a couple times.
There was a bit of info-dumping at times, but when its fascinating information, that doesn’t bother me in the slightest. I liked the twist with the cameras, but the nod to the old lore with the silver-backed mirrors and such. I also appreciated that after one particularly intense father-daughter scene, Alameda had Micheline act in a realistic way, even if I disagreed with the later behavior a bit.
However beyond being feisty and stubborn, Micheline was a bit of a blank slate. Actually, all of them were. There were defining traits that each of them had, but there was no real personality in any of them that stood out. It was also disappointingly easy to guess who it was that was tugging on the ropes behind the scene. The drama at the end could have been played a little more intense, also. Its not a book that gets your excitement level up, or puts you on the edge of your seat.
Overall, Shutter was a good story written by an author that has talent (albeit she needs to develop it a bit more). As a horror book it lacked a bit, but as a paranormal book it was almost a home run. I’d definitely put it on the reading list, and doubt you’d be disappointed. I’d just caution that you’re probably not going to be over-the-moon thrilled with it either. I look forward to doing a review of her next piece!