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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

[Review] Ghost Crown by J. Gabriel Gates & Charlene Keel

Title: Ghost Crown (The Tracks #2)
Author: J. Gabriel Gates & Charlene Keel
Published: June 5th 2012 by HCI Teens
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Rating: ★★★★★
Goodreads summary:
After their harrowing adventures, Middleburg's teens are hoping life will return to normal. Despite a tentative alliance between the goth Flatliners and the rich, preppie Toppers, any hope of peace is dashed when Topper girl Aimee arrives at the homecoming dance with Raphael, a Flatliner. A fight erupts between the two gangs and, in the midst of the rumble, a bizarre catastrophe occurs when Middleburg's homecoming queen discovers she has supernatural powers.
To make matters worse, Middleburg real-estate moguls who have bought up most of the land in the Flats have started evicting their tenants. They are searching for a priceless treasure prophesied in ancient Chinese writings and will stop at nothing to find it. But Raphael and his impoverished Flatliners vow to get it first and use it buy back their homes. Meanwhile, a handsome, charismatic half-angel, half-human comes to Middleburg with plans to steal Aimee from Raphael. As Raphael and his Flatliners and Zhai and his Toppers work to perfect their supernatural abilities and find the treasure, Aimee begins kung fu training, intent on becoming strong enough to locate and rescue her missing mother. When she discovers that the mysterious treasure may be the key to finding her mom, the race to find it intensifies.
But there are others who seek the treasure, too, forces powerful enough to reduce all of Middleburg, and perhaps the world, to ashes…
*thanks to the publishers for providing me a free copy of this ebook in exchange for my honest review (via Netgalley)*

Emma's thoughts:
SPOILERS FOR Dark Territory (The Tracks #1). Read my review here.

I am once again, completely AWED by Gates and Keel's work. It's not even just the way he writes, but it's the depth of the concept and each intricate detail of each character. There is no way that I could possibly tell you how amazed I am by this book. And the thing is, I started reading this with high expectations, because the first novel in the series was mind-blowing. And Ghost Crown... it's a freaking apocalypse, I just can't even explain...

The way Ghost Crown is very normal, and innocent, but if you've read Dark Territory, you just know shit's gonna go down. My heart breaks for Raphael and Aimee. I liked that their romance felt natural, it wasn't a forced relationship that I feared it might be, but I can't say the same for Nass and Dalton. Especially with Clarisse in the way (what?! why was a new character necessary?!), but it was very necessary. And on the characters aspect, I am so torn about Maggie. Is she good? Is she bad? What is she?!! For this, I have to commend Gates and Keel for handing all the best powers to the character that could really, sway in either direction.

It's so hard to say anything without giving the whole story away, but basically Oberon has it in for Middleburg... so he brought his son. Now, this, I LOVE. I LOVE and I HATE Orias. I love the way Gates and Keel wrote him. I love the way he's the true depiction of the 'devil'. He's pure evil of course, but he's so. god. damn. tempting. I know I'd fall for him, I know I'd trip headfirst to him. Because hot damn. The devil is sexy, he's sweet, he's like that ultimate dessert. Oozing thick chocolate, a guaranteed heart attack with one bite.

Another thing that made me fall in love with this book? The introduction of the Bible's Watchers. Now, for those of you fantasy, paranormal lovers, you'll know what they're all about. Fallen angels. Oh, I could fall on my knees and thank Gates and Keel for making this the perfect story for me! I cannot tell you how much I love reading about fallen angels! Or just even, angels in general! Now, I'm not Christian, or even religious, but there's just something about angels that I absolutely adore, even if they're evil!

The influence of different cultures are clearly evident in this book. There's the constant reminder of 'the All', which I believe in the Chinese culture is the basis of everything, and 'Shen', translates to the soul or spirit. This whole idea of spirits, 'the All', and 'the Knowing' makes supernatural powers seem so much more natural. I mean, I'm sure you've all read books where everyone has their own 'power'. But in Ghost Crown, it makes it seem possible. It makes me believe that we all have some natural 'power' within us, something that we have that everyone else doesn't, and if we connect with 'the All', maybe our powers could manifest...

See, this is what books like these does to me! It makes me believe utter nonsense, but it's a wonderful thing truly; believing.

Reading Ghost Crown, I feel like I've died a thousand deaths. One for each character, each fight, each moment of realization. Half the time, I'm dying for more. More information, more action, more of the secrets of Middleburg. The tunnels, the powers, the possibilities. And when I read the words "To learn the truth. Come." I die again in anticipation.

Not many books affect me the way this has. I freak out, and yet beg for more. I want to cry, but out of shock or happiness? I never know. I can only thank Gates and Keel for creating such a masterpiece. 

Overall: 5 stars~ I feel like J. Gabriel Gates & Charlene Keel wrote this novel just for me :') 
Raphael Kain's adversary cartwheeled forward and attacked with a barrage of flying fists and slashing elbows.
When one person helps another, the helper often gets even more benefit than the helper.
"The Magician told us that time is an illusion, that all time exists at once, but we're able to perceive only the present..."

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