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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Compulsion by Martina Boone

Ohmygoodness I loved this book SO. MUCH.  I work in a teen section of a library, and I know I will be recommending this to so many teens!  Adults (such as myself) will enjoy this too.  It's very well written, with strongly developed characters and setting, and a rich plot that will leave you hooked through the very end.

The story focuses around Barrie, who has spent the first 17 years of her life very protected by her mother and godfather.  She rarely left her San Francisco home except for school, and her mother never left the house at all.  Now, because of her mother's untimely death and her godfather's severe illness, she is being sent to live with an aunt she's never met on a plantation she's never seen.  This plantation, off the coast of South Carolina, is full of family secrets and lore that will keep Barrie on her toes.

Compulsion is a Southern mystery, steeped in history and magic.  Barrie has always know that she was "different."  She feels a compulsion to find lost things and return them to their rightful owner.  She literally feels pressure in her head until she finds what was lost.  Upon arriving at Watson's Landing, she discovers an aunt, an uncle, and cousins that she never knew she had.  She also learns that her quirk is actually a gift that everyone in her family has.  And they're not alone:  the other side of the family has a curse, and another old family in town has a different gift.  It's hard to explain, but Martina Boone does the magical gifts in such a way that they're not heavyhanded or overexplained or overly relied upon by the characters.  It's like my inner voice was nodding and saying, "yes, yes... that makes sense.  Of course she can always find lost things."  It didn't feel like a stretch of the imagination at all to believe that families could pass along mystical gifts or curses the way other families pass along the gene for blue eyes.

The story behind the gifts and curse is revealed to Barrie pretty early in the book.  The mysteries as to why the families are feuding, and why none of them seem able to leave the island, and why the plantation homes are falling apart... well, those are another story.  These, too, are very well done.  I was kept guessing (and riveted!) right up to the very end.  Even though it's been announced that this is the first book in a trilogy, don't fear:  nearly all of your questions will be answered.

I want to talk about the setting!  Old South; plantation homes.... I could hear the honey-thick accents of all the characters!  I could feel the humidity!  I could picture the long driveways lined with massive oaks dripping with Spanish moss!  (Can you tell that I live in and love the south?)  I dreaded coming to the end of Compulsion, and already can't wait to go back to Watson's Landing in the sequel.

Lastly, are you a reader who needs a sweet Southern romance to round out the story?  Never fear!  Barrie has an irresistible neighbor, who always seems to know just how to please her.  There's no messy love triangle here; Barrie (and I) fall head over heels for Eight.  Their relationship is far from syrupy sweet; it's real and it's sometimes rough and it feels like it has it's base firmly in friendship.  I love Barrie and Eight together, and hope to see their relationship deepen further in the next book.

The magic, the mystery, and the setting have me completely sold on Compulsion.  I also think it'd be a fantastic movie... (hint, hint Hollywood!) and I'm impatiently waiting for Persuasion, the next book in the trilogy.


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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2 People left their mark' :

  1. Wow. Your glowing review makes me think I should try this again. I read 180 pages and had to stop. NOTHING happens. As a matter of fact, I didn't even know what her gift was. That's 40% of the book without revealing the basic premise. I must have missed something....

  2. I picked up this book and it has been very high on my TBR pile. Unfortunately, I've gotten very few books read in the past few months. I have to get on that. I'm really glad you liked the book so much. It just reinforces my desire to read the book. Thanks!