Author: Kelly Hashway
Series: Touch of Death #1
Publication Date: January 15, 2012
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 229 (ARC)
Jodi Marshall isn’t sure how she went from normal teenager to walking disaster. One minute she’s in her junior year of high school, spending time with her amazing boyfriend and her best friend. The next she’s being stalked by some guy no one seems to know.
After the stranger, Alex, reveals himself, Jodi learns he’s not a normal teenager and neither is she. With a kiss that kills and a touch that brings the dead back to life, Jodi discovers she’s part of a branch of necromancers born under the 13th sign of the zodiac, Ophiuchus. A branch of necromancers that are descendents of Medusa. A branch of necromancers with poisoned blood writhing in their veins.
Jodi’s deadly to the living and even more deadly to the deceased. She has to leave her old, normal life behind before she hurts the people she loves. As if that isn’t difficult enough, Jodi discovers she’s the chosen one who has to save the rest of her kind from perishing at the hands of Hades. If she can’t figure out how to control her power, history will repeat itself, and her race will become extinct.
I couldn't tell you what happened with me and this book. I was eagerly anticipating it and was really excited to be able to trade for my own copy. After all, everyone I talked to has adored it. It has little to no negative ratings on goodreads. But I couldn't get into this book to save my life. I had a lot of problems with it. And, overall, what could have been a really promising concept fell flat for me. I'm honestly all over the place with this one, so I'm sorry if there are any spoilers to follow.
First of all, the characters. I didn't connect to any of them. Jodi was our main character and I never really connected to her. She was pushed around easily and did what others wanted her to do ninety percent of the time. I also felt like she was over-emotional and she had no common sense. She spent the first half of the book accepting that she had a stalker, called the cops once, and then pretty much welcomed him after that. I couldn't deal with it. If you have a stalker, you don't hide him in your closet and hear him out. You call the cops the second he puts a dead rat in your room and you lock his ass behind bars. I get it, doing any of that wouldn't contribute to the story and it would hinder it, but everything seemed so unrealistic to me. It was hard for me to process it all because her reactions were the complete opposite of what any sane person would do. If your boyfriend dies, you don't hit on the creepy stalker within hours by acknowledging how you really like it when your legs touch. Just, I don't understand your mind, Jodi! You're my age and I truly don't understand your mind. And if you bleed/cry/salivate or anything else of the sort the second you meet a person and they miraculously die and you don't put two and two together with this stupid coincidence, I think I may scream.
Alex was all over the place. Addicted to macaroni and cheese, hard to read, and weird. Sure he was heroic, but he was so strange that I just couldn't get over it. The romance was bland and all over the place in my eyes. For example, he kisses Jodi and then he ignores her minutes later to act all lovey-dovey with her mortal enemy within the house only to hunt her down later and explain that his parents said that he should cut emotional ties with her as to not endanger her. And, of course, any sane parents would recommend doing such a thing by cuddling up with the house psychopath. Again, I don't understand the logic. It's there, I can see that, but it's twisted. And don't even get me started on Abby or Victoria or Troy. They're all just...insane. Yes, they're characterized that way, but again, so unrealistic! I love villains when they're truly vile, but they were just twisted and odd with no motivation to be the way they are. They're not the least bit believable because they seemed more over-dramatic to me than anything else. And all the other characters were pretty much easily led around on leashes. Jodi's mother and best friend from before Alex took her were practically forgotten about half way through the story. I just felt like the loose ends could have been tied up better.
Next, the writing. I really enjoyed the overall tale, it had a lot of potential aside from the cliche of girl suddenly finds out she has magical powers she didn't know she had only to find out the fate of her new race depends on her. And Hashway's writing by no means is bad. But I wish there was more detail. I felt as if events were in too quick of a succession, not enough time to think. I also felt as if I would have enjoyed the book more if I could connect with Jodi better by having greater attention paid to the description of emotions. The writing was very simplistic and while I enjoy simplicity, I do enjoy detail above all else. With the amazing concept of this story, I can honestly say that I think it would have been a home run for me if there was more detail and realistic characterization. The mythology was easily incorporated and the idea of people being born under the thirteenth zodiac sign was both astounding and ingeniously creative because I have never seen such a concept in young adult literature before. I so desperately wish that this story played out differently because I really, truly wanted to love it. It didn't help that the dialogue seemed to be really forced and robotic too.
I seem to be the black sheep when it comes to opinions on this one, but I struggled with it in ways that I haven't really struggled with a book for a while. The concept and creativity were genius, but the writing and characterization were incredibly flawed. I don't know what else to say. If you're interested in this one, it's worth picking up from the library because it is a quick read, but overall, I don't think this story and I were meant to be.