Seventeen-year-old Scarlett Blake is haunted by death. Her estranged sister has made the ultimate dramatic exit. Running away from school, joining a surfing fraternity, partying hard: that sounds like Sienna. Butsuicide? It makes no sense.
Following in her sister’s footsteps, Scarlett comes to the isolated cove of Twycombe, Devon, with grand plans to uncover the truth. Alone. But she hasn’t reckoned on meeting two boys who are determined to help her. Luke: the blue-eyed surfer who’ll see the real Scarlett, who’ll challenge her, who’ll save her. And Jude: the elusive drifter with a knack for turning up whenever Scarlett’s in need.
As Scarlett’s quest for the truth unravels, so too does her grip on reality as she’s always known it. Because there’s something strange going on in this little cove. A dead magpie circles the skies. A dead deer watches from the undergrowth. Hands glow with light. Warmth. Power.
What transpires is a summer of discovery. Of what it means to conquer fear. To fall in love. To choose life. To choose death.
To believe the impossible.
I received Death Wish for review and judging by the gorgeous cover and that blurb I was expecting for a stunning mystery with a paranormal twist and more focus on Scarlett's creepy death powers. For me, I was a little disappointed because the paranormal in this book is so subtle even though it is a big deal - in fact it kicks in right near the end and it made this book feel like a very long winded prologue as opposed to a first book. The plot creeped very slowly for me, which was really annoying because there were so many aspects of this book that blew me away!
For one, the setting was gorgeous. As someone who spent many a summer in Cornwall and Devon with my family during my childhood, I was really blown away by how well Tayte describes the location. The dangerous, choppy seas, the quaint environment of a coastal village - it really was beautiful and so easy to envision. Scarlett's process of getting used to the location was well written and I loved the characters that she met there - Cara was brilliant and the old man that Scarlett meets and works for (forgive me for forgetting his name) was just so genuine. In fact all of the characters were pretty well written, even Jude - the typical broody bad boy with a secret - was bearable. I though Luke was nice but he didn't really offer a whole lot and I wish there was a little less focus on this relationship and a little more focus on Scarlett's mystery and the story behind her sister's death.
I was also taken aback that Scarlett's parents just let her disappear off to the village her sister supposedly killed herself in just months later. Surely they would be more concerned? It seemed very confusing to me that they didn't really seem to care - and Scarlett is only 17 in this book! It was just convenient that Scarlett's parents weren't around to see her self-destructive behaviour. I was also put off Scarlett when she was ignoring her mother's attempts at getting in touch. Surely if your sister has killed herself, you would be more respectful of your mother's worrying?
I felt that the writing was good, but it did seem clunky in the way that indie published books often are. Many people has put that down to the writer being a Brit author, but as a Brit reader I think it is just down to the lack of streamlining the dialogue and I can't blame Tayte for this - it could just have used another round of editing, I think.
Overall, Death Wish was a pretty average book. I think that I was put off by the very slow pace, but the writing and setting was well done, so I would read the sequel. The book doesn't pick up to the end, but I am interested in it now that the story is picking up.
Overall Rating: C
Book released 7th February 2015 by Heaven Afire
Book received from the author in exchange for an honest review