Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











{April 23, 2011}   The Abandoned, by Amanda Stevens (Prequel to the The Graveyard Queen Series)

There are rules for dealing with ghosts. Too bad Ree Hutchins doesn’t know them.

When her favorite patient at a private mental hospital passes away, psychology student Ree Hutchins mourns the elderly woman’s death. But more unsettling is her growing suspicion that something unnatural is shadowing her.

Amateur ghost hunter Hayden Priest believes Ree is being haunted. Even Amelia Gray, known in Charleston as The Graveyard Queen, senses a gathering darkness. Driven by a force she doesn’t understand, Ree is compelled to uncover an old secret and put abandoned souls to rest—before she is locked away forever….

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I don’t know how to rate this novella.  On its own, I’d give it a 4/5 because it’s a really great read that will have you reeling after it concludes.  It’s very short, but packed with suspense and is extremely creepy.  It does leave the reader with many questions though, but as it’s a prequel, I was under the impression that the answers would be revealed in The Restorer.  This, unfortunately, is not the case.  Actually, the prequel and The Restorer seem to have little in common aside from the fact that Oak Grove Cemetery is a hotspot for activity, Amelia and Devlin are characters in both stories, and there is a mysterious group of elite that go by the name of The Order of the Coffin and the Claw.  Yet, neither Amelia nor Devlin play a big part in the prequel, as they do in The Restorer, and The Order is never fully explained in either text.  While the cemetery is eluded too through unexplained events, that too is vaguely touched upon in the prequel.  Instead, The Abandoned deals with two main characters, Ree and Hayden—a student and a paranormal investigator.  While the story surrounding these two characters is interesting and even frightening, it is not fully concluded, and these characters and events are never mentioned in The Restorer, making me wonder what the real purpose of the novella plays in the series.  It is apparent that those in The Order of the Coffin and the Claw take part in scary rituals and delve in the dark arts, covering up for each other, but anything beyond that is still a mystery. 

I really did like the novella but, after having read The Restorer, I am saddened that there is not more of a connection between the two stories.  Of course, I suggest reading The Abandoned, but keep in mind that it really isn’t a precursor of events in the main novel and, therefore, not mandatory to understand The Restorer.  Either way, I did enjoy The Abandoned; I just wish it had more to do with the actual story in The Restorer.

Currently, The Abandoned is a free download at Amazon online, though I don’t know how long that will last—perhaps only until The Restorer releases on April 26th.  I highly suggest picking it up, especially since it’s free—you can always read it later on, either before or after The Restorer.  Stay tuned tomorrow for my review of The Restorerwhich I loved (until then, go download this novella).  Three and a half stars for this novella!

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