May 26, 2017

B.C. Johnson: "Deadgirl: Goneward" (ARC Review)

Title: Deadgirl: Goneward [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: Deadgirl (3rd of 4 books)
Author: B.C. Johnson [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Afterlife, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy, Contemporary
Year: 2017
Age: 14+
Stars: 5/5
Pros: Imaginative plot. Strong mix of adventure and paranormal occurrences with focus on friendship. Characters manage to feel realistic in the middle of mayhem, and will warm your heart.
Cons: Very dark in places (though temperated with funny dialogue/inner monologue). Some chapters (especially the first ones) might sound confusing due to time and perspective shift.
WARNING! Horror and heartbreak around the corner. Some language.
Will appeal to: Those who enjoy a mix of laughters and tears, action and strong feelings. Those who like brave teens who don't pose as heroes.

Blurb: Lucy Day and her friends (mostly) survived last year's encounter with serial killers, a teenage sorcerer, new romance, and drama class. But - as usual for Team Deadgirl - the horror never ends, there's more monsters to slay, and magic is the worst. A roadtrip for answers leads to new questions, strange allies, and the wrath of an ancient undead girl named Imogen Dane. What strange locales will they discover? Will they all make it back home? (Amazon excerpt)

Review:  First off...DISCLAIMER: I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review. And the author being B.C. Johnson, you all know I've been campaigning for his first Deadgirl book with all my might since 2012, when the original version came out. Also, B.C. Johnson and me have stayed in touch, if sporadically, for the whole time. I'm not what you would call a friend of his though, only a fan of his work. And an unbiased one. As usual, this review is the love child of my penchant for quirky, uniquely worded books and B.C. Johnson's ability to deliver them. Also, please note: my reviews are usually rather straightforward, though I always do my best to refrain from spoilers. But this one will probably be my vaguest review ever, because there's so much I can't discuss without uncovering relevant plot points. Here goes...

SURPRISE FEAST

This series always manages to surprise me. Building strongly on the mythology established since Book 1, every installment will bring you to a different place nevertheless, where the only common denominator are strong emotions and an ever tighter ensemble cast. Lucy may be the star of this story, but her friends are given more and more screentime, not to mention weight. Deadgirl: Goneward is the first book in the series to feature a double POV (which I found thoroughly enjoyable, though sometimes a little confusing), and the first one where the relationship between Lucy and her closest friend is explored to its fullest. B.C. Johnson has proven himself more than once, when it comes to capturing the shades of his female characters and creating a solid palette. This book is no exception, and still makes you see Lucy and Morgan in a new, enhanced light. In the meantime, tension never lets up, and unexpected events (of the dangerous kind) heap on one another, while Team Deadgirl's quest for answers about Lucy's nature leads the readers in places they didn't anticipate. And with a few unexpected allies... [...]

THE OPPOSITE OF UNICORNS

It's difficult to talk about my favourite moments of Deadgirl: Goneward without going into spoiler territory. What I can say is, the author took his characters on a dark (albeit funny in places) journey - pun intended. As usual, he didn't shun making hard decisions for the sake of the plot, but not the kind of decisions you would expect. Sacrificies are made. Perspectives - and lives - are changed. Lucy's quest for answers gives her hints but leaves her with new questions. Readers' hearts are torn in the process. But amidst the horrors and the losses, there's fun and levity, love (even of the parental kind) and friendship, and more than anything, warmth. No happy ending, but hope at the end of the tunnel - though it's hard hope this time.

RICH MENU

Whether you're a plot amateur or a character zealot, there's something in this book (well, series) for you. Romance (which was indeed an ingredient in the previous installment) may take a back seat, but Deadgirl: Ghostlight has got adventure, monsters, magic and myth, as well as friendship, banter and laughter. It will probably break your heart here and there, but for all the right reasons - and you'll find beauty in those moments too (the fact that B.C. Johnson's prose can be rich without being purple doesn't hurt either 😉). As usual, the story is self-contained, but there's still so much to look for in Deadgirl: Daybreak (the final book, scheduled for Summer 2018). Whether Lucy lives or dies-dies, you won't regret having met her.

For my "Deadgirl" review (first installment in the series) click here.
For my "Deadgirl: Ghostlight" review (second installment in the series) click here.
For my interviews with B.C. Johnson click here and here.
For more Afterlife books click here.

14 comments:

  1. Nicely written! The more you write about this, the more I'm looking forward to reading it. It will be refreshing for romance to take a backseat to actual plot. :]]

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    1. Thank you! Judging from the kind of books you read (Pike included ;D), I'm positively sure you will like this series!

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  2. I will definitely have to give this series a whirl! Of course, finding time is getting more and more difficult, but when has that ever stopped me?! Great review, Roberta!

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    1. Thanks dear! And this series is definitely a good fit for you (honest!), so you should give it a try :).

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  3. Yay! I love when a series has a solid conclusion that made the journey worthwhile.

    For What It's Worth

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  4. I've seen you flail over this series so much now and since you don't generally do that for every other book, I know this will be SERIOUSLY worth it. If not for this being a series I would have picked this up already xD Great review, Roby! It does so sound good and I'm glad you loved it!

    My latest post | The World's Shortest Hiatus Ever.

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    1. Psst...you might still recommend it to any paranormal/horror lover *grins*.

      Thank you hon!

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  5. All I ever want is have your book review skills. Once again, you manage to completely entrance me to consider another book, even though my TBR list is infinite. I need to take breaks from reading your blog, or I'll go broke :D
    Great review like always!

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    1. You're lucky that my posts are so scattered then. Just think how many books you're NOT getting reviews for ;D.

      Thanks hon!

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  6. I definitely agree on the confusing time in perspective shifts, but I did end up really liking Zack's PIC too. And I also agree that the author went to darker, more riskier places than some authors might, and I liked that because it made the plot unpredictable. I did feel heartbroken though!

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    1. I feel like you do about Zach. And well...about the heartbreak. But that's the (harsh) beauty of B.C. Johnson's books, isn't it? Anything can happen!
      I'm so glad that you're campaigning for this series too. It needs us!

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    2. Oops, totally meant POV but was using speech recognition lol. And I agree, I like authors who actually do things like that because then I never know what might happen, and so I get more emotional/anxious while reading.

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    3. LOL, I understood.
      B.C. Johnson sure doesn't spare us emotions!

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