book review, horror, young adult

Shutter By Courtney Alameda

Shutter is my buddy read for May with Jonny @Jaunts and Haunts, and I’m so disappointed that I didn’t love it as much as he did.

Read Jonny’s review of Shutter here.

17 year old Micheline Helsing is near the end of her training as part of an elite group of soldiers that hunt ghosts and the undead.

After rushing to a hospital to help banish a powerful ghost, Micheline and her team become infected with something no one has seen before – soul chains. Now Micheline and her boys, Ryder, Jude and Oliver, have seven days to break the chains binding them to the ghost, or risk becoming its slave in death.

There is a lot to like about this book. It’s well written, has fast paced action, and is set in an interesting world where elite hunters are apparently paid a huge amount of money to rid the world of ghosts and undead monsters.

The characters, while a little formulaic, each have a distinct personality, and are mostly believable in their roles within the story.

Micheline has suffered great loss in the eighteen months since the events of the prequel short story, Trigger, and there are some attempts at showing the fallout from this, both to her mental health and her relationship with others.

The idea of ghostlight, the different coloured auras produces by ghosts and undead creatures, as well as the ability to capture ghosts in silver backed mirrors and analog camera film, is fascinating. It is an aspect of the novel that intrigues me, and I would love for it to have been more fully explored and utilized, as I’m sure it will be in the sequels.

Unfortunately I could write an essay, complete with supporting quotes from the text, on why this book didn’t work for me. In the interest of fairness, and not to bore my gentle readers, I will whittle my objections down to three (somewhat) succinct points.

  • There are lots of little inaccuracies and inconsistencies throughout the book that kept taking me out of the story. None, on its own, very significant, but taken as a whole they irritated me greatly.
  • I’m torn here whether to make my second point about the cliched young adult urban fantasy constantly wise cracking characters, or the fact that this book doesn’t use Dracula as a jumping off point but more of a reimagining, or the very obvious plot points that were revealed as if they were a twist, but instead I’ll mention the fact that for a book all about death, there is no spiritual element to it at all. All the creatures are brought down by good old brute force and bullets. I found that very unsatisfying.
  • However, after thinking about what it is exactly that irks me about this book, I’ve realized that it is because the main character constantly tells us that the end justifies the means, and that the only rules we should follow are those dictated by our heart. I kept waiting for her to gain some more insight, but no, she is proven correct in her philosophy. Unfortunately it is one I vehemently oppose.

I award Shutter

Shutter is available for $10.08 ebook and $8.49 print book on Amazon.

Read my review of the free prequel story, Trigger, here.

Look out for Jonny and my buddy read post about both Trigger and Shutter, coming soon.

As a postscript, I will say that I love the cover, but agree with Joe @The Dumbest Blog Ever that the title is not great. While typing this review, I have accidentally substituted the U for an I multiple times, which conjures up an entirely different type of story.

10 thoughts on “Shutter By Courtney Alameda”

    1. I can see why Jonny loved it, and I did really like elements, but the little things really irritated me. Unfortunately my typos have made it difficult for me to think of it otherwise! 😂


  1. I think it sounds a really interesting world and great set-up. Shame you didn’t enjoy it as much! And that’s an unfortunate typo …:)

    Liked by 1 person

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