Book Reviews

Review: “Deception,” Lee Nichols

August 30, 2011

I received this book for free from Bloomsbury Australia in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: “Deception,” Lee NicholsDeceptionby Lee Nichols
Series: Haunting Emma #1
Published by Bloomsbury on September, 2011
Genres: Ghosts, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 336
Source: Bloomsbury Australia

When Emma Vaile’s parents go missing while away on a mysterious business trip, she’s left all alone in her creepy old house. But her brother’s very cute best friend, Bennett Stern — Emma’s knight in J. Crew armor — arrives unexpectedly to whisk her away to New England. There, Emma settles into his family’s museum-like mansion and enrolls at an old-fashioned private school. She quickly finds friends in the popular legacy crowd at Thatcher and spends her free time crushing on Bennett.

But the eerie visions she’s been hiding from everyone have gotten worse. Emma has memories of Thatcher that she can’t explain—it’s as if she’s returning home to a place she’s never been. Finally, Emma confides in Bennett and learns she is a ghostkeeper, a person who can communicate with ghosts. Bennett brought Emma to Thatcher to protect her, but now he needs her help tracking an other-worldly murderer.

Deception is pretty much near perfect. I found myself immediately wrapped up in Emma’s world of Ghostkeeping. With great characters, a great amount of background lore and unique mythology, the Haunting Emma series is one I definitely recommend.

I hadn’t heard of the Haunting Emma series before this one showed up on my doorstep. I was a little hesitant going into it, because as some of you know ‘new school’-based YA stories rub me the wrong way these days. Thankfully my worries weren’t warranted, because Deception is more about Emma discovering her true self along with her family secrets, moreso than trying to ‘fit in’ in at Thatcher Academy.

She’s a great narrator, too, one I felt at ease with. I loved the relationship she had with her guardian and unrequited crush, Bennett, as well as the other ghosts she came into contact with over the course of the novel. I particularly loved the little things that Deception brought, such as the ghostly staff of the house, and how Emma could communicate with them when nobody else could.

This book had a whole lot of mystery; ones that were slowly revealed throughout the course of the book. The answers to these mysterious were great, too, and I didn’t feel like my intelligence as a reader was being insulted. I’m so intrigued by the different types of Ghostkeeper powers, and I find it makes each character special and important in their own right.

The secondary characters such as Natalie, Sara, Harry and Coby were also great additions to the story. I felt like each one brought their own personal brand of humour or personality to the plot, and that each encouraged a different side of Emma. This greatly helped me as a reader to identify with her.

Deception left off on a bittersweet note. I’m curious to see how Bennett and Emma are going to overcome the certain obstacles ahead of them. I was left thinking about the plot and its characters long after finishing the book, which is definitely a good sign! The next book, Betrayal, is already out in the US (at least, I think so, I’ve done a bit of research) but not available in the UK or Australia yet. It’s safe to say I’ll be picking this one up as soon as I’m able!

Recommended to: Readers wanting a fresh take on fast-paced, spooky/supernatural reads should definitely give this one a go. With a 4.08 average rating on Goodreads, what have you got to lose?

About Lee Nichols

Lee Nichols was born in Marblehead, Mass., raised in Santa Barbara, and now lives in Yarmouth, Maine. Which is probably why the four years she attended Hampshire College in Amherst, where she studied history and psychology, made her antsy. It was much too far from the ocean. She is married to novelist Joel Naftali, who sometimes writes as Joel N. Ross, and they have one son.

1 Comment

  • Reply Tia August 31, 2011 at 9:07 am

    I haven’t heard of this series either. It looks very interesting. Thanks for a great review! New follower!

    Tia @ Falling For Books

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