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on Oct. 11, 2013 :
Amberlake's writing enthralls the reader. He creates concepts and worlds for his books which are both believable and fantastic, thrilling the mind as we read. I was a huge fan of Amberlake's debut release, The Beholder, and so as I picked up Diary of the Gone I was already anticipating an excellent read. I was well rewarded, and hauntingly rapt in Diary's pages.
Here we find ourselves in the mind of a boy named Callum in Olden Cross, a town surrounded by misty swampland and the disappearances of his peers. Callum sees the dead. Are they calling to him? What are they searching for? What connection does he have to their ghostly forms? You will have to read to discover the secret past of Olden Cross and the unknown of this place.
I began Diary of the Gone with the thought that I would read it over the month of October. I soon found I could not put the book down until I reached the end. A haunting work- well plotted and highly enjoyable. I sit in anticipation of Amberlake's next release.
(review of free book)
on Oct. 01, 2013 :
Callum is constantly pursued by the ghosts of the dead and the only way to stop them from getting him is to write about them in a strange old diary that he found. In the new quiet town that he lives in, ghosts leave him alone-until the day his friend Nathan shows him something strange in the woods. Now the ghosts of dead children are haunting him day and night and kids from his school are going missing, and Callum is the only one who can solve the mystery.
This was a creepy paranormal story with the 'don't go into the woods' warning to it. The plot was a bit different, which is always a good thing and not easy to do with a paranormal theme. The author's descriptive work is excellent, and you can see exactly what he wants you to see through Callum's eyes, right now to the colours fading from life every time the ghosts are coming. One thing that I have noticed about this author is that his word use is always perfect. The descriptions of the world he is building are always new, not a tired cliche that you have seen in countless other books, and it always seems to fit just right into the story. There is plenty detail about Callum's ghost problems and the diary to let you know what is going on but enough enough to bore the reader. I felt there was a nice balance.
Callum is quite likeable and I felt sorry for him because his sister treats him with such contempt, and the school bully seems to be picking on him for no reason. Nathan is the fun friend who tries to look out for Callum so you warm to him despite his appearance being brief. I didn't feel much of a connection to his other friends, other than Vivian as the book progresses, but it wasn't too vital for the story. Gloria was my favourite character though.
I did have a couple of minor plot niggles. I wanted to see a bit more of Gloria and her back story as she was the one who really fascinated me. I felt that she was a bit underused when she seemed so important to the story. I would have liked the scene in the library to have been longer and more detailed, giving us more about the previous missing kids. I also wish the attack at the school had been longer, along with the big finale. I guess I wanted more of these bits because they were the bits of the book that I liked the best. But these niggles are more about what I wanted to see in the book, and no reflection on the author's writing.
This book should appeal to anyone who enjoys a paranormal story, a creepy horror story or ghost story. I'd give this a 3.5 out of 5.
(review of free book)
on Sep. 23, 2013 :
A great MG-YA novella with elements of horror, supernatural, mystery and fantasy.
Callum Blackwell is our MC and he's a likeable character in the sense that he appears to be weak inside and out. But he mans up to face both outside events and also his visions of the dead. There are secrets in his family which, to his dismay, he's bound to unveil unknowingly, while one by one his friends are lost from sight for days.
Recommended to readers from 14-21 who are fond of supernatural-themed novellas.
(review of free book)