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review 2018-04-13 18:55
Mary: The Summoning Review
MARY: The Summoning - Hillary Monahan

Source: Library


Mary: The Summoning does the Bloody Mary legend good. Hillary Monahan moves the story along with a purpose, and by the time you’re done with the first book, you need the second one on-hand immediately. (I’ve already reserved the second book at the library.) We do get a complete story arc in Mary: The Summoning, so it’s more of a gleeful “Must read book 2!” than a frustrated cry. I want to know more about the revelation of the connection to Bloody Mary, and I want a certain someone to get their comeuppance. (And also, why did Mary orient on Shauna to begin with? What made her choose her? Inquiring minds need to know!)


I felt like the interactions between the four friends was very real feeling in Mary: The Summoning. And, by the end of it, I was cheering a few of them on when they finally did what needed to be done. Things were frequently very tense between them, but they also demonstrated a certain maturity when push came to shove and they needed to overcome their differences. Also, it was nice that the parents of some of the kids felt a bit more present in this book. Even though there were still some of the usual tropes like the MC being in a one parent household, the mom was still there. Even if she wasn’t always physically present, she was always texting her kid, checking up on her, letting her know that she was loved and such. It was a nice, positive reinforcement of how a parent can stay in touch with their child in today’s world.


The scenes where Mary was on the other side of the window, trying to get through always creeped me out. I don’t think I’ll be looking in my mirrors any time soon for longer than I absolutely have to. There were elements incorporated that I had never of before in conjunction with Bloody Mary. (However, seeing as how I never actually did Bloody Mary when I was little, I don’t know if they were new elements or what.) The salt on tape thing was definitely a neat trick, though, that you can see a crafty teenager coming up with. Mary: The Summoning has lots of deliciously creepy scenes to keep perpetually tense. 


Of course, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. One of the biggest faults to Mary: The Summoning is that Mary herself is too Samara-esque. The author does a great job of reminding you exactly how creepy that demon/dead girl movement is from the movies. Which is a problem considering Mary is supposed to be her own freaky character. It’s an awesome thing to be able to remind readers of something that utterly freaked them out, but you don’t want to go too far and make it into a clone, which is kind of what happened here.


Also, and this is something I seem to have run into a few times lately, but the main character Shauna, is just so… blank. Is this a thing in YA books that  I’m just now noticing? Do they now try to keep the main characters as blank as possible so that the reader can insert themselves in the story? If so, it sucks. Give us characters who are feisty or quiet. That like loud music, or don’t like music at all. Give us sarcasm, wit, or even timidity. Just don’t give us a character so bland that you can’t remember her bloody name halfway through the book!


Overall, while Mary: The Summoning could be a bit better, I was very pleased with what I read. I can’t wait to get my hands on book 2. Hillary Monahan is a solid writer, and this is a great book in the YA Horror category. And there wasn’t even a love triangle in it, imagine that! 

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review 2016-08-08 00:00
MARY: The Summoning
MARY: The Summoning - Hillary Monahan RTC
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review 2015-12-04 11:57
Not sure how I feel about this...
MARY: The Summoning - Hillary Monahan

Some of the aspects, like the building up of suspense and plot, were truly well done.   I had a hard time coping with the narrator's best friend, though.   It was a good idea to use Shauna as a narrator for a couple reasons.   One being that the plot would have been far different if she'd narrated, and the structure really needed someone close to Jess, but not Jess, to narrate.   Kitty and Anna were less tolerant of Jess, and Shauna was closer to her, so she became the logical choice of narrator.  


Even with Jess as a main character who wasn't the first person in the first person POV, though, she could get overwhelming.   She exhausted me as a reader.  I didn't like her.  I didn't like her so much I kept putting this book down in frustration.   I kept getting annoyed with the other characters for going along with her ideas.   I kept getting annoyed with them for forgiving her.   I was just plain annoyed by Jess.   I didn't quite consider her a character I love to hate, and I do have those.   Cordelia in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, for example.   Love to hate her, at least until she got a little less Mean Girls.  Jess, though?  I just plain hated her.   There was no enjoyment whatsoever, which made this a really rough read given how much she was in it or people talked about her when she wasn't in the book. 


I felt a little sick over how much influence she had over everyone at the end, too.   I can't see myself reading the second of these books for fear of how this author writes these types of characters.   


I simply didn't love anyone else enough to compensate for Jess.   So it was pretty much a wash for me, but more enjoyable than not, so three stars. 

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review 2015-06-10 16:33
MARY: The Summoning - Hillary Monahan

Unfortunately it fails to be a scary book. Sure, Mary is constantly there, in the mirror, in any glass, in the bathroom, but although I know she is, and the girls know they are hunted by her, it is not scary. The writing was off. I never felt thrilled nor a bit of excitement with Mary on the picture.

The characters were also terribly bland. It was like Regina George and the rest. The MC, Shauna, narrates all events, but her voice is weak. Is she truly terrified? Is she truly angry? I could never tell. Her friends did not seem like her best friends; Jess is like the Regina George of the group (mean, beautiful, the leader) and the other two were kind of the same. The quartet never felt like a true group, were they honestly friends? The story lacks many things, among them, true feelings. It was very off.

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review 2015-05-14 06:04
MARY: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan
MARY: The Summoning - Hillary Monahan

There is a right way and a wrong way to summon Bloody Mary. And Jess knows how to do it. She's done her research and convinced her friends to do it along with her.

Shauna is excited at first about the chance they may actually see Bloody Mary. But when it actually happens, it's pretty scary and is enough for Shauna, Anna and Kitty.

It's not enough for Jess though. She convinces her friends to do it just one more time. They give into her and later regret they did. Bloody Mary shows up in any shiny reflective thing and Shauna is her target.

I've known about the Bloody Mary legend since I was a kid. I think I heard about it because of my one brother. Before I was born, my parents had lived in a different house with my older siblings. My mom says there was already a ghost there, but one day my brother decided to do the Bloody Mary thing and stuff got really creepy.

I've never done it myself and I won't. I've been into paranormal stuff for years and I've been in a ghost hunting group since I was 14. But there are just some things I won't mess with because it can be dangerous. Bloody Mary and Ouija boards are two things I'd never mess with.

That being said, this was a really good horror book. I've read a number of horror books and seen lots of horror movies. There isn't many that actually scare me. But, this book did. It honestly scared me and I've been a little leery looking into mirrors. Like I said, it's not often I'm actually scared by horror books. But this author was able to scare me with this book.

I liked the characters, except for Jess. She's not exactly the most amazing friend. I liked Shauna (the book is told through her view), Kitty and Anna. The author detailed Bloody Mary in detail and I think the author did a wonderful job with this book. It was scary, intense and made me keep reading. There were also twists I didn't see coming and I really want to know how Mary became Bloody Mary. I can't wait for book number two.

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