Title: The Unseen
Author: Luke Alistar
Publisher: Alistar Publishing
Format: Kindle ebook
Reason for Reading: Intriguing premise, free for Kindle
In the cold, gray morning Papa hitched up the horses again and drove a short distance to a gloomy three-story building, made of gray brick with lots of rusty iron. A high wall encircled most of the building—it looked like a prison—and shutters and iron bars covered the windows.
Lucy could see a lot of her ghosts flitting around. She tried to point the phantoms out to her family, but Papa grabbed her and just about dropped her on the cobbled street. She stumbled, banged her knee, and started crying.
Mama just took her hand and pulled her along, telling her to grow up. They walked to the big, ugly oak door and Mama rang a bell.
A tall man who looked like a corpse opened the door and gazed down at them with an irritated look, like they had interrupted his burial. “Yes?” he asked.
“I believe you were expecting us,” Mama said.
“Perhaps. You’re bringing the child?”
“I’m not a child,” Lucy said, “I’m a little girl. My name is Lucy Satin and I’m five.”
Lucy Satin has always seen things, always talked—since she was able to talk—to the wispy white spirits that floated around her. Her family, who think she’s insane, take her, at the ripe age of 5 years old, to a lunatic asylum. Now, 12 years later, with the help of Takis, an altogether different sort of spirit, and fellow inmate Seth, she has escaped and is running for her life.
My thoughts: Alistar has created an incredibly troubled heroine. Lucy meets with one catastrophe after another, and you will find yourself rooting for her the whole time. The ending, though, was completely unexpected, leaving me shocked and trying to puzzle out whether I liked the book or not. It’s complex. I was forced to question everything I had just read. Alistar is a good enough writer to make it work. Did I feel betrayed? Definitely. My first instinct was something like Ralphie, in A Christmas Story, when he finds that his mysterious secret message from Little Orphan Annie was really a crummy commercial. In fact, while I didn’t toss the book across the room, not wanting to break my Kindle, I probably echoed Ralphie’s words.
However, I’ve continued to think about the story, the characters, the setting. So I have been alternating between liking it and not liking it, and just flat can’t decide. I’m giving it 4 stars out of 5 just because I haven’t been able to let the story go. That’s the hallmark of a good writer and an intriguing story. I’ll definitely be looking for more books by Alistar.