Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Review: Banish by Nicola Marsh

Title: Banish
Author: Nicola Marsh
Publisher: Harlequin Teen Australia
Release Date: 1st August 2013
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Description: Alyssa has one week to destroy her enemy, save her spirit... and save her soul. After her ex-boyfriend commits suicide and her mum’s alcoholism sparks yet another psychotic episode, seventeen-year-old Alyssa Wood flees her small hometown of Broadwater and heads to New York City to stay with her bohemian aunt — a Wicca High Priestess. Alyssa revels in the anonymity of a big city and her new life. Her grades climb, she has a new best friend, and a new guy: the sexy geek Ronan — a saxophone player who prefers jazz to pop. But her newfound peace is soon shattered when she sees a dead body in one of Ronan’s music clips — and she’s the only one who can see it. Worse still, Alyssa recognises the body that has been murdered a week forward! Alyssa doesn’t believe in the supernatural...despite her family’s Wicca background. So how will she overcome evil when it’s closer than she thinks?

Banish is a murder mystery with a supernatural twist and a little bit of romance thrown in. Nicola Marsh presents a story that is fast paced and has you on the edge of your seat. Marsh kept me flipping the pages to see what new horror Alyssa would have to contend with next.  

Banish is centred on Alyssa Wood and the events of her past. Alyssa has an interesting upbringing. She comes from a family who have Wiccan beliefs.  Her mother and aunt are practicing witches. However Alyssa does not hold the same sentiments as her family and wants nothing to do with magic. After having a rough time with her mother’s alcoholism and her ex-boyfriends death, she leaves town to live with her aunt in Ney York. In the new city she escapes her past and move on with new friends. She also starts falling for jazz musician Ronan.  When she opens a video clip that Ronan sends her, she witnesses a murder. From the moment she witnesses the murder, it becomes clear that someone is out to get her.  Alyssa has to get to the bottom of who’s haunting her and come to terms with a past she thought she had left behind.

Marsh has a great unique voice that captures the teenage spirit and all the emotions that go with being a teenager. Told over the course of a week Banish is choc-a-block full of unexpected events that plague Alyssa. The book has great momentum, which keeps the story moving towards its conclusion. Although the story was predictable and I knew who the culprit was before the revel, the great part of this story was reading how it all unfolds and the investigative journey Alyssa takes to find her tormentor. The ending of the book takes a very dark turn and is quite disturbing so consider yourselves warned.   

Alyssa truly gets harassed in this book and the events that cause her turmoil are very creepy. Despite all the threats being made, She holds herself together really well. She confronts her problems and the people around her instead of just hiding. She is very much an independent lady with a snarky straightforward personality. Ronan was an ok love interest and appeared to be a little too polished. At times it seemed as through he was just there, as a red herring. The romance in this book was portrayed as a very realistic and did not take over the story, but was present at the right intervals.

The Wiccan elements infused into this story were fantastic. They added another layer to this book and bought it to life. The rituals and traditions of the Wicca were explained in great detail that made it easy to understand how it was all part of Alyssa’s upbringing and how it all tied in with the murder mystery. Alyssa’s commentary about Hollywood’s interpretation of magic compared to Wiccan magick was very entertaining.

Although this book was set in New York with an American protagonist, there was an Aussie element present in this book.  Nicola March is an Australian author and I loved her little shout out to vegemite. Also some of the slang that March used was Australian, such as ‘rocking up’. It’s a phrase that I use quite often and when I used to say it to my friend who was from overseas she would look at me and go what? I liked all the little Australian quicks that ended up in this book and I hope that Marsh writes a book that is set in Australia in the future.

Banish is a good read with a captivating murder mystery, supernatural elements, and witchy ways.  

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