CompulsionSeries: Heirs of Watson Island #1
by Martina Boone
Published by Simon & Schuster, Simon Pulse on October 28th 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead—a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.
Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn't what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.
That was kind of awesome… I just kind of fell in love with reading this story. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that I wanted to keep running back to pick up and get lost in. Yep, I kind of forgot I had a family for a bit there.
Compulsion is a straight forward urban fantasy for teens. Its set in present day South Carolina on an island right on the coast. The island is home to three high-profile founding families: the Watsons, Beauforts, and the Colesworths.
Barrie Watson has just lost her mother and is moving to the island to live with an aunt she has never met, let alone known about. Barrie has lived an extremely sheltered life in San Francisco with her reclusive mother and a nanny (or “manny” in this case) who tried his best to raise Barrie the best he could and to make up for all the love she wasn’t getting from her own mother.
Barrie’s grief isn’t relieved or assuaged in the least bit when she arrives at her family’s plantation to find that her aunt Pru couldn’t pick her up from airport because she couldn’t move past the front steps of the house and lost track of time.
Weirdness continues but it’s an awesome kind of weirdness that I could totally get into. I’m not huge on mysteries but I loved trying to piece together what happened in the past to Barrie’s mother, Lula, while at the same time working through what was happening in the present. Throw in a sweet, slow, young romance that only complimented the overall story, never overshadowed it, and I could not stop reading!!
One could complain that the characters could have been “fleshed out” more but I honestly was okay with the surface-ness of some of the supporting characters. Yes, I wanted to know more about Eight’s past but honestly, it was just curiosity and didn’t really mean anything to the story. What was needed for the story was there.
I think Ms. Boone just has a ton of great characters that she can write plenty of story for going forward… or at least I hope she can.
I actually did a wee tiny bit of research (ie. Google’d it) on the folklore that Ms. Boone drew her story from. A lot of lore that I read in paranormal stories I’ve pretty much heard of before or I’ve run across a form of it. But southern gothic lore was completely new to me and Kindle’s dictionary was no help when I ran across the phrase “plat-eyes” (I trust Wikipedia about as far as I can throw it – which is no where technically). This led me to numerous sites on the Gullah culture and the Cherokee Indians who were indigenous to South Carolina. Man… I am such a geek. But I wonder what kind of research a story like this could inspire in a teenager. Hey, if it just inspires a road trip to the area, I’m all for it!
Sometimes when I read a young adult book, I take into consideration both my enjoyment and how appropriate I feel the book is for teens. For instance, would I recommend this book to my teenager? Would it make a good read to hand off to a kid who came up to me in the library asking for a recommendation in the YA section? For it’s flat-out interesting story and characters, it’s a yes and a yes.
And YES, bring on Persuasion now!