Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Possess by Gretchen McNeil

Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (August 23, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0062060716
ISBN-13: 978-0062060716

Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her mom, by the cute son of a local police sergeant, and by the eerie voices she can suddenly and inexplicably hear. Unfortunately for Bridget, it turns out the voices are demons – and Bridget has the rare ability to banish them back to whatever hell they came from. 

Terrified to tell people about her new power, Bridget confides in a local priest who enlists her help in increasingly dangerous cases of demonic possession. But just as she is starting to come to terms with her new power, Bridget receives a startling message from one of the demons. Now Bridget must unlock the secret to the demons' plan before someone close to her winds up dead – or worse, the human vessel of a demon king.


After the murder of her father and the weird manifestation of her new exorcist powers, Bridget Liu was not up to dealing with much else; especially the emotional loops some of the people around her were going through. Her tough demeanor created the "I could care less" atmosphere that gave Possess some of its edge. The rest came from the suspense built up from the escalating infestations of demons in Liu's side of San Francisco. However, keeping secrets from the people that care about her--especially a potential boy-toy--soon proves fruitless and the exposure of her more-than-human abilities seems unpreventable. When new occurrences in the case of her dad's murder start sprouting, Bridget doesn't know who to turn to and begins doubting herself and her "banishments".

With my somewhat new fascination in the old biblical good vs. evil, Satan/Demons against God/Angels, I've grown fond of the executions I've seen done in multiple authors' books. In Possess, I was immediately captured by the concept of a young girl being an exorcist. From the very first few chapters I had my initial opinion on the cast of characters and as the timeline and story progressed, they didn't change at all; the characters and my opinions of them. If anything they just escalated in being what they already were, which was predictable and disappointing simultaneously. Bridget's friends--Hector, Brad, and Peter--all had their own essence but were also two-dimensional, meaning they were nicely portrayed but lacking in the creative department. In a terrifying "I know what's going to happen next" kind of way, I knew who were the bad guys from the very beginning. When the background that McNeil wanted to base Bridget's powers came out to light, I didn't necessarily have to wait till the ending for the big unveiling of the bad guy. I already knew who it was. Sad, but true.

A common reoccurrence in the dialogue was the word "Whatever." There's only so many times that the main character can say the same thing before it becomes meaningless. I understand the need for the bad-chick attitude but there are an ample amount of ways that that can be pulled off in a much more believable tone. There's also a tendency where the multiple times the evidence presented to Bridget as to who the mastermind behind everything is, she's a bit slow to pick up the pieces and solve the puzzle. That's a quality I don't like to see in my heroine's because it makes me think that when pertinent information is showed to them--clearly and precisely--they'll stand there and have a plastic look in their eye, going "What?" As I said before, while the concept was enticing to me on a religion-based scale, I could not overlook the abundantly obvious twists and turns of the plot that made this debut bland and lacking. If there is talk of a sequel, I won't hesitate to add it to my wishlist but I won't be at the storefront on release day.

Grade: C+

ARC Source: Publisher.



  1. This was a very good review but I was hoping to hear about your thoughts on the creepy factor because the synopsis made it sound like it could be a spooky read and I've read snippets of reviews that mention certain scary scenes so I wanted to find out if I should give this book a try or pass it up.

    I also agree with you on disliking slow protagonists. In most if not all of the Vampire Academy books I've read so far its felt like Rose was made deliberately slow just to put off the reveal of the plot and certain secrets even though I had figured out many things before hand. It hasn't affected my love for the series too greatly but it is a factor that irritates me.

    My WoW

  2. Honestly, I didn't comment on the scary scenes because they weren't all that memorable. They were scary but not very original. I.e. what you would expect an exorcism to look like.

  3. Oh dear. This sounded like a good concept but it doesn't seem to pull it off.