This book made me question all of the criteria that I normally use for rating and enjoying books. In theory I have been reading this for 5 days, but in reality it was only 2 (I took a large hiatus due to a 41 page paper I had to write) and I zoomed through it. I finished the 60% that I had remaining today in probably about an hour? I kept turning the pages quicker and quicker because I just needed to know what happened next!
One night Nikki, Kitty's boyfriend, went to visit a psychic after a party, in order to learn about his future. The psychic doesn't tell him about his future, however--she can't, because he doesn't have one. Now, following a period of increasingly strange and erratic behavior, he's dead. When Kitty learns about the Life and Death Parade, a group that her deceased mother used to belong to, she sets out to learn more about the circumstances surrounding Nikki's death. Along the way, she meets several different characters, including Roan, a supposed medium, whom she is convinced can take her to meet with those whom she desperately seeks. But when a web of mystery, lies, and intrigue begins to surface, Kitty realizes that people know more about Nikki than they are willing to reveal... and it will be up to her to uncover the truth.
The premise of this book attracted me immediately, because although I will readily admit that reading about the spirit world, mediums, and psychics freak me out, I apparently have an intense desire to never sleep again and love to read about them anyway. I was under the impression that this was more of a realistic/contemporary type from the Goodreads blurb, but I was so wrong. This belongs to one of my favorite genres (fantasy!) and when the fantasy twist hits, it hits HARD. I was completely blindsided by the big reveal at the end, which is pretty rare nowadays because I've read too many books and can predict all of the plot twists. Not this one though!
As someone who doesn't really believe in the idea of mediums and psychics, it was pretty easy for me to connect with Kitty on this front. She shared a lot of the same uncertainties that I do, and this offset the difficulties I had with her more strident personality. I was also a huge fan of the way that she really did try to make her family feel better, even though she did it in an...interesting way, and I'm really not sure that that is how I would have done it.
I really liked the characters in this book a lot, actually. All of them were interesting, had a purpose, and really helped flesh out the book. With the exception of one or two characters, there wasn't really anybody just thrown in there for the heck of it. Every character contributed to the story, and their placement made sense. As someone who almost always has troubles with characters in books and their personalities, this was a really nice break for me.
I also just want to briefly mention how much I loved the originality of this book as well. At some point you read so many books that every new book you read just seems to be a rehash of the one you read before. The plot twists are insanely obvious, the characters are boring, and Joe Kenda's Homicide Hunter becomes even more attractive than it already is, even when it's late at night and dark and then you can't sleep. I generally judge how much I love a book by how eager I am to pick it up. If I start reaching for my phone more than my book/Kindle, I know that it's bad. And this was never the case with this book. Whenever I did have the chance to read (which this week was minimal), I went for this over my phone. I have never read a book with a plot even somewhat similar to this, and I loved it. And that plot twist! (This wasn't brief. I apologize. Now you know why my paper was 41 pages.)
The reason this book made me question my reviewing criteria is because there were a few inconsistencies in this book, as well as some choppier plot jumps/rushes, that would normally knock this book way down on the star list. I am very, very picky about those sorts of things. But with this book, I just didn't care. The part of me that hates these things tried to stand up and just got flat out bulldozed by my love of the characters and the story. I loved the book so much that I just couldn't bring myself to care about the inconsistencies, or the plot holes. And the thought of knocking it down star-wise made me cringe.
I loved this book, I really did. I'm so happy that I got the chance to read it, because I'm still in shock over that plot twist, and I loved the experience. I am a puddle of happiness right now.
Disclaimer: I received an eArc of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way altered my view, review, or opinion of the book.