ARC provided by Blue Moon Publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Series: The Deadish Chronicles, #1
Author: Brian Wilkinson
Genre: YA Fantasy, paranormal
Publication Date: September 18, 2018
My rating: ★★★★
Nora Edwards finally had everything she wanted out of life, including the boy of her dreams, Andrew, until one night that dream turned into a nightmare. On their way home from prom, Nora and Andrew are attacked by a supernatural creature called the Revenant that sucks the souls out of the living in order to feed itself. Nora manages to escape from the creature, but tragically, Andrew is not as fortunate.
Although Nora suffered loss that night, she gained something, as well: the ability to see the dead. Whether the skill is a gift or a curse is yet to be determined, as those around her assume Nora has developed “paramnesia,” a disorder where one confuses dreams with reality. She’s also attracted the attention of the Revenant’s masters, who need to preserve the secret of their supernatural existence. Nora, along with Andrew and her living and dead allies in the Deadish Society, quickly finds herself in a battle for the souls of her city—and her mind.
Paramnesia was honestly such a pleasure to read! I am actually surprised by how much I liked it. At first I was a bit hesitant because I was worried this would tread “unreliable narrator” territory, which I am so over. But, I really ended up loving this book. And the more I thought about it while writing this review, I decided to bump it up from 3.5 to 4 stars. It was such a treat to read especially with Halloween fast approaching and I loved the characters so much.
Set in Guelph, Ontario, Paramnesia follows Nora and her boyfriend, Andrew. After being attacked on prom night by a supernatural creature, Nora gains the ability to see and speak to the dead. From here Nora faces the challenge of how to cope with survivor’s guilt while trying to acclimate to her new “abilities.” Oh, and that creature that attacked her is still trying to kill her.
I’ll admit, the insta-love was a bit much in the beginning, but it doesn’t totally dominate the book, and it was necessary to move the story forward. The love between Nora and Andrew sets the story in motion, and while it was a bit cheesy at times, I found it endearing. Also their quirky dynamic makes me laugh (and I am a 33-year old grouch. Ha!)
My favorite thing about this book was the Deadish Society. The Deadish Society is the group of ghosts that Nora befriends, and oh my gosh, they are so precious I will protect them at all costs. They are so silly, lovable, loyal, and… such smart asses! I honestly loved all the witty banter and humor throughout this entire book. It really set such a happy tone in a book with very serious subject matter about death and coping with loss.
As a lover of horror and paranormal legends, I also loved how Brian Wilkinson built this paranormal world. There are certain chapters dedicated to the Revenant’s backstory, which I appreciated and was glad this aspect of world building wasn’t just glossed over. While the Revenant isn’t my favorite villain, I still liked how this evil thing was woven into the mortal world.
And the story doesn’t just follow Nora’s journey with the undead, but also her relationships with the living. There are some heavy topics such as loss of a child, loss of a partner, learning when/how to move on, and acceptance of death. But there’s also so much hope and positivity as Nora discovers that she does not have to fight her battles alone.
I truly think this book is perfect for Halloween. It has several spooky elements while still being lighthearted and fun. I was laughing at so many parts and I fell in love with so many characters. I especially loved Peepers (be still my heart), Scarlett, and Rocco!
I didn’t realize this was going to have sequel until I got to the end, but I wasn’t even mad. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride and I am looking forward to picking up the next installment!