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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

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Review: Ghosts in the Mirror by Joyce Mangola

Ghosts in the Mirror by Joyce Mangola

Ghosts in the Mirror
Joyce Mangola
Publication Date: June 21, 2013
Publisher: Lycaon Press

Sixteen-year-old Jeremy Riggs has lived his life in and out of the hospital. While the doctors are clueless as to why he lapses into comas, he is well aware of his unique ability to merge with a wandering spirit. With his own soul too weak to sustain life, it's the only thing keeping him alive.

Waking up from a coma a year after being found at the county dump—next to the remains of the last spirit to inhabit him—Jeremy finds the newest spirit is nothing like the previous ones. It's bent on revenge and has the will to take control over his body. With the police lining him up as a murder suspect and an ancient evil pursuing him, Jeremy must help the ghost hitching a ride in his body find eternal rest without seeing his own soul snuffed out.
Review copy provided by the author via Xpresso Book Tours

Ghosts in the Mirror pretty much lands on my list of most unique ghost (okay, related to ghosts) reads of all time.

The particular uniqueness of the story? The main character, Jeremy, goes into a coma every time a ghost possesses him due to unfinished business. The only way to "see" the ghost is to use a mirror. To see how a ghost feels depends on the color of Jeremy's vomit. I know, it's really gross, but it's pretty cool.

Except... Jeremy keeps going in and out of sleep. Interesting? Um... no. Not after awhile. Apparently when you're asleep way too much, you don't really accomplish much. Add that to Jeremy as a character, and how this ghost possession thingamajig works. The ghost possession is all very confusing – I don't get this "spirit hand" or "phantom hand." Does Jeremy have a third hand? Is it still his right hand but the ghost possessing him can only "access" his right hand and that's why he calls it a phantom/spirit hand? Is it basically as though he and the ghost are like one spirit? I have some ideas on what it may all mean, but I'm not 100% sure. It all feels very much as though Mangola knows what she's talking about and explains it as much as she can, but has a bit of a hard time getting her point across and clarifying how it all works.
Jeremy as a character. He has quite a few moments in the book where I'm wondering if he's 6 years old or 16 years old. I don't really mind it as much since when you're in a coma a lot and suddenly realize you're growing up, you're going to want to retain your kid years as much as possible before having to officially grow up. And time goes by really fast – OMG, I'm almost 17. NOOO.

But he eats soooooo much junk food – candy and lollipops and donuts, oh my! – I pretty much started wondering what would get to him first: the Strigoi, or a heart attack? If it were the latter, I would have been extremely furious because then I would assume the book's point is to tell us not to eat so much junk food or we would all get a heart attack one day (or we'll be in a Wall-E world). I do hate one too many sugar, thank you very much (moi can't handle too much vanilla frosting).

Which pretty much makes me bring up a point about him getting car sick so easily. Cannoli and Lattes? They have dairy products. Cannoli have cream and cheese, lattes have cream – it's the perfect one way trip to Vomit Wonderland (at least one of the ways). Getting a car ride after eating what looks like a gallon of milk and dairy products? Of course the guy's going to throw up all over the place. And if anyone's going to make a point about Jeremy's condition in defense, I get car sick just as easily and I'm technically normal.

Of course, after Jeremy's millions of trips to Vomit Wonderland throughout the book, I'm pretty grossed out. The book doesn't sound as cool as it did in the beginning, but I believe Mangola has not just the bones of a really good book, but the tissues. Or muscles. *sigh* I may have prolonged my trip to the Medical world, but I probably won't get the anatomy of myself – or anyone really – right anytime soon. Certainly no future doctors are going to be impressed by my pitiful attempts.

3 Owls

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Sophia is the owner and founder of Bookwyrming Thoughts, but also found on various parts of the internet. She's a 19-year-old communications major who has weird humor and doesn't fit the Asian stereotype (maybe a little). Books, chocolate, technology, and music are among some of her favorite things. For more of her work, visit her personal website.