Series?: Book 1
Pages: 433 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Dates read: December 30th 2014 to January 4th 2015 (hardcover copy)
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.
*This review may contain spoilers*
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
My first book of 2015!!!
Compulsion is a Southern Gothic novel that has supernatural powers, ghosts, an ancient family feud, a curse, a hot boy AND no love triangle. So really, what isn’t there to love? Let me tell you: there is nothing about the book that I didn’t love. This is definitely going on my favourites shelf (also fall 2015 is way too far away. I need Persuasion, the sequel, like, yesterday).
Nothing that happens is random (for example, Barrie losing her phone. You wouldn’t think it was anything special to it, right? Wrong. It’s a somewhat important event.) This, to me, is a sign of awesome storytelling on Martina Boone’s part. Everything was well-timed and nothing was explained too soon or too late. Certain information is told only to keep the reader un-confused with the story, but it isn’t enough to answer the question, so it makes you want to read more. I had family over while I was reading this and I was seriously considering ditching them to finish it. It was all just so intriguing and awesome and I adored every page of it. The storytelling and the writing of Compulsion is beautiful and seamless. Everything fit properly into place - though there were some parts that were a little bit difficult to understand, that I had to re-read a few times to get what was happening. But those moments were few and far in between.
Next up are the characters. Barrie, Eight, Mark, Cassie, Pru, Mary, Wyatt even Lula, who isn’t alive when the book starts… they’re all just so well-written. They were so vivid. I could see them clearly in my head while I was reading, and I almost felt like I was right there with them. They each had their own individual personality, their own way of behaving, of speaking. It’s been a while since I’ve read characters so fleshed-out. Wyatt creeped the bejeezus out of me, my opinion of Cassie fluctuated with Barrie’s (though now I just plain hate her). I loved Mark. He was probably one of my favourite characters and hopefully Martina Boone finds a way to write him into the sequel because I just need more Mark. And don’t even get me started on Eight. He is so close to replacing Noah Shaw and Ronan Lynch in my heart - which are hard shoes to fill. Basically, the characters were all wonderful. They added to the story and worked symbiotically with it, making Compulsion a book that just works so well. For a debut author, I’m pretty impressed with this one.
However, nothing in this world is perfect. The ending to me was a bit forced. The whole thing with Wyatt’s drug cartel kind of came up too fast. Maybe I just didn’t notice any earlier, but I feel like there just wasn’t any build-up to that discovery, so the five or so pages that dealt with it just didn’t seem important to me because I was just like… where did this come from? Other than this minor complaint, everything about this book is perfect.