Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Review: The Unseen (I [It Begins] and II [Rest In Peace]) by Richie Tankersley Cusick

This is an omnibus of The Unseen, books 1 (It Begins) and 2 (Rest In Peace), by Richie Tankersley Cusick
Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Penguin (Speak)
Spoilers?: Vaguely

Goodreads Synopsis:

 Out walking alone one rainy night, Lucy becomes convinced that someone - or something - is following her. Spooked, she ducks into a cemetery to try and lose her stalker. Panicking in the darkness, she slips and stumbles into an open grave - only to discover she is not alone in there. She manages to escape, but soon begins having terrifying visions and dreams - and she still can't shake the feeling of an unseen presence, always watching, waiting... Who was the girl in the grave? And what did she do to Lucy?


The description of this book is pretty vague, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect from it. Was it supernatural, suspense, mystery; was there any romance? But a friend suggested it to me, which didn't really make me all that less wary, but I thought that there had to be a reason she liked it, and so I started it with hope. And was very pleasantly surprised to find that I was really enjoying it.
The Unseen is about Lucy, who's mother has died and so moves in with her un-emotional aunt and troublesome cousin (her aunt's step-daughter), in a town where she doesn't know anyone and feels all alone. On one of her first days in town, she decides to take a walk, just to get out of the house, and, upon feeling that someone is following her, runs into the cemetery and falls into an open grave. Where a girl is dying/has died, who then says a few things to Lucy and passes her psychic powers onto. The next day, what is supposed to be Lucy's first day at her new school, she sneaks back to the library and runs into a boy, Byron, who claims to know what happened with Lucy and the things she is going through/is going to go through.
Throughout the first book, she gets closer to Byron, without any actual romantic things happening, and tries to pretend that things happening to her are coincidences/have perfectly logical reasons for happening/don't exist. In the second book, pretty much the same things happen, only with some new people and with Lucy starting to believe that she is crazy/it's all because of the accident (that she went through at the end of the first book and very beginning of the second, which I will not spoil, but was very intense and sad and with an unexpected end) because everyone around her doesn't believe her. With another cliffhanger ending, that makes me want to pick up the next book much sooner than I'd expected.
It starts out with a prologue in the Villain guy's perspective, thinking about a girl that pulled one over on him. I thought that he was maybe talking about Lucy, and am a bit disappointed that he wasn't, mostly because his description and feelings on that girl could have been better than Lucy. She seemed much more devious than Lucy is, and it kind of makes me wish I'd gotten to know her, too. Maybe/hopefully Lucy will turn a little like her, though? (More on her later, though.) Then it moves to chapter one, where it starts rather abruptly with Lucy running away from something. I think that maybe could have started a little more smoothly? It felt too sudden.
Despite the somewhat bad start, my favorite part of these two books were quite possibly the Villain's scenes. We don't know his name, we don't really know what he is. But he's always following her, he lives in the shadows, I think he actually is the shadows, but can materialize and look however he wants, and he kills people and drinks blood and feeds off emotions (particularly fear). There are several short chapters in both books, including the prologues, that are in his point-of-view, where he is thinking about Lucy, maybe killing someone (much like the Body Finder, by Kimberly Derting,'s villain scenes, only better and with more character). At the beginning, I'd thought that maybe he was going to be the love interest, but then his chapter, and his next one, quickly became creepy and it was made obvious that he was the one following her. But then near the end of the second book, we start getting more of his feelings on things, which made me want to know more about him and what his past life was, as I'm assuming he had one, and if something is going to happen between him and Lucy besides him and her fighting it all out to the end, and maybe even feel a little sympathy for him.
Lucy, on the other hand, isn't my favorite. I wouldn't call her weak, but she is in no way strong. She's not quite whiny, but I was starting to grow tired of how she was always trying to push everything away. She wanted to believe that what she saw in the cemetery wasn't real, or it was a trick; that all the psychic things she'd been feeling weren't real; that maybe she was crazy and hallucinating all of it. It was starting to drive me a little crazy, and so I was glad to see at the end that she was going to accept it, even if it was a little more tell than show. I'm still a little unsure of her, though. She's almost whiny with her emotions, but I think some of it might just be because I don't really connect with her. Some of the things about her, I just don't really buy.
She has reasons for the things she does, though. Because of what happened with her mother, and probably how her aunt and cousin act, she has a wall built around herself. But I didn't really believe that, either. She's a little too gullible, even while trying to be wary. She goes to meet Byron, and starts trusting Dakota rather easily. At some points in the second book, it seemed like when she would first start to talk to someone, she would snap at them, which she had reason to do, only almost immediately after, she would be apologetic. I would have rather she chose one and stuck with it. And I would prefer it be the wary one. She needs to toughen up, and hopefully in the next book she will.
I haven't grown too attached to any of the other characters yet. Although I am surprised by where the love interest went, since I definitely wasn't expecting it, even if it did give us fair warning (which I ignored, thinking that he didn't count). A part of me is, yea, a bit upset since I like romance in most books, but I am enjoying the book without it just fine. And I did kind of like the guy, too, so that sucks a bit. I also liked that they didn't jump into love, or actual romance of any kind before what happened, happened. They were just starting to grow as friends when it happened. Plus, it seemed at first like it was going to start going down a stereotypical lane, what with all the girls fawning over him and his secretive ways just a bit, so I am glad that it took a different curve instead.
The writing I wasn't particularly fond of, either. It was easy to get through, actually rather easy and fun to read, but Cusick uses a lot of italics and ellipses and one-sentence paragraphs for emphasis. I can see why, and, I mean, I like using them when I write, too, but she uses them much too often. There were sometimes several on each page, so she should have cut them down a little, as I could see it getting on some peoples nerves very easily, since it was almost on mine.
Aside from that, though, the writing was pretty good. A little more tell than show in some places, but there were still some pretty good descriptions in there. And the tension and suspense was very good. There were very few, if any, dull moments throughout either books. Lucy was always off doing something, with the villain (or whatever) creeping up on her, ruining everything and causing a lot of trouble, and freaking Lucy out, and her just finding out important things. There were several times within the books that Lucy would go to sleep/pass out and have a lapse of memory upon waking up, which sometimes is okay, but happened so many times that it was starting to get annoying; and she's almost always going through these things alone. I guess this could be because no one will believe her and that the way the Villain wants her to be, but it bothered me. Also, within the first book, it seemed like time should have gone by faster, because of all the things that seemed to be happening, though.
Both books had quite big cliffhangers, and I'm a little surprised by how badly I want to read the next one (as I said above). I want to see where everything is going, what's going to happen next. I really want to know what's going to happen with the Villain, as well as hoping that I like Lucy more. And I want to know more about the guy we met at the cliffhanger. And I want to know what Matt's (a priest, who is counseling Lucy, but who I am getting a somewhat romantic and creepy feeling from, like maybe he has connections with/is the Villain) up to.
I'm hoping to get the next one soon, and to finish it quickly; but we'll see how that goes.

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