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I Belong


Review: Mary: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan

Mary The SummoningTitleMary: The Summoning

Author: Hillary Monahan

Genre: YA Horror

Series: Bloody Mary (Book #1)

Publication Date: September 2, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 256 Pages

ISBN-10: 1423185196 (Disney-Hyperion)

ISBN-13: 978-1423185192 (Disney-Hyperion)

Reviewed by: Kaitlin

Synopsis:

There is a right way and a wrong way to summon her.

Jess had done the research. Success requires precision: a dark room, a mirror, a candle, salt, and four teenage girls. Each of them–Jess, Shauna, Kitty, and Anna–must link hands, follow the rules . . . and never let go.

A thrilling fear spins around the room the first time Jess calls her name: “Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. BLOODY MARY.” A ripple of terror follows when a shadowy silhouette emerges through the fog, a specter trapped behind the mirror.

Once is not enough, though–at least not for Jess. Mary is called again. And again. But when their summoning circle is broken, Bloody Mary slips through the glass with a taste for revenge on her lips. As the girls struggle to escape Mary’s wrath, loyalties are questioned, friendships are torn apart, and lives are forever altered.

A haunting trail of clues leads Shauna on a desperate search to uncover the legacy of Mary Worth. What she finds will change everything, but will it be enough to stop Mary–and Jess–before it’s too late?

Quick & Dirty: In this first novel in the series, horrific images of Mary will play in your head for weeks after reading.

Opening Sentence: Dearest Constance, I regret to inform you that you are an abysmal sister.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Shauna, Jess, Kitty, and Anna are good friends, so it seems like something exciting for a night, to summon Mary. I mean, nothing will actually happen, right? As you might have guessed, they were horribly wrong. Mary, in a foolish mistake, gets a taste of Shauna’s blood. And when she tastes blood, she’ll keep haunting that person ruthlessly — until they’re dead. As time goes on, and Mary’s hunting gets more and more deadly, it seems that Jess knows more about Mary’s past than she’s letting on, and sometimes, it’s hard to tell whose side she’s on. In this first novel in the series, horrific images of Mary will play in your head for weeks after reading.

Okay, confession: this was my first horror novel. The genre has never really interested me, and I don’t understand the fun in having nightmares. I was a bit (okay, a lot) terrified going into the story, and thinking “screw it, I’ll get scared anyway”, I read it right before bed. Wrong move, Kaitlin. I am going to accept my idiocy and try to move past it. I mean, it could have been scarier, but I was definitely trying to block out some of it so that might have just been me. The visions of Mary with her dead, rotting body and sagging, decaying flesh made me cringe. That’s one thing this book did incredibly well, describing Mary. And Mary could come out of every surface that was even a little reflective. Glass, metal, and especially mirrors — all of those surfaces were fair game. Suffice to say, I tended to avoid mirrors when reading this book.

I’ve never tried to summon Mary, nor have I ever wanted to, and going into the story I knew that Mary would somehow escape or something. So, the first time they summoned her, I warily accepted it. Jess was a believer, but the rest of them were just under the peer pressure, so I wasn’t frustrated with them giving it a go. It was the second time that ticked me off. The first one worked! They got their Mary experience, congrats! Why, oh why, would you try it again? And why would Jess be so stupid, drawing her out, trying to get her to talk, caught in a dangerous game? I had absolutely no respect for Jess. I didn’t find her determined, or persevering. I was more angry at Jess, this horrible character, than I was scared of Mary.

Shauna was a character that I did respect. The girl broke down a few times, but you can hardly blame her. She was being haunted by a vengeful ghost because her best friend made an idiotic mistake (that she barely apologizes for). The rest of the time, she stayed hopeful, but grimly determined, and she made sacrifices. She never truly gave up, she kept fighting. Another great thing was that she wasn’t in a romance, there wasn’t a love interest. She saved herself, with occasional help from her two good friends. (I’m excluding Jess because she’s a horrible person and I refuse to acknowledge her.) I liked the process of the story and how she developed as Mary became worse and worse, gaining power. I also enjoyed her alliance with the other women who was haunted by Mary.

This book was chock full of action, gruesome Mary scenes, and uneasy alliances. There was a mystery element to it as they delved deeper in Mary’s past but I really didn’t feel that there was much stress on that aspect. I wish there was less brutal Mary fighting scenes and more discovering secrets about Mary’s past, but oh well. It was set up nicely to lead into a second book, so oh joy, another book about a disgusting vengeful ghost. Can’t wait! All the same, besides my clear hatred for Jess, I really did enjoy this book and found it an interesting read. I’m somewhat proud of myself for venturing outside my comfort zone, and I know I’ll have to do it again soon. I have two other horrors. Any fans of the Ouija movie will find this a spine-tingling novel.

Notable Scene:

“Mary, Mary,” she said again.

“Where, Cody?” I barked.

Cody stopped in her tracks, one foot in the living room, the other now in the kitchen. Her head swiveled toward me. She looked so empty for a moment, so fragile, but then she snorted and looked away. Color blossomed in her cheeks like she was ashamed of her outburst.

“I thought I heard- no. No, I didn’t.” She lifted her salt sack to her chest, cradling it like a baby. Her cheek rubbed against the coarse burlap. “Sorry, so sorry. This happens sometimes, after so many years. You hear something simple and you react, because if you don’t react, you die. It’s that simple.”

The Bloody Mary Series:

1. Mary: The Summoning

2. Mary: Unleashed (September 8, 2015)

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FTC Advisory: Disney-Hyperion provided me with a copy of Mary: The Summoning. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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