S.M. Boyce is back with a new series and a new genre. She's also back as a gateway for this reader to explore this genre more.
Ari is the first book in S.M. Boyce's brand new series To Each His Ghost. Previously I've only read fantasy from this author. Her Grimoire Saga is one of my favorite series of all-time. I won't lie. The previous series was fantasy. There was magic, world building, incredible creatures. All the elements that make fantasy great. I wasn't sure how the transition to a new genre would work for me. Would Boyce be able to pull it off? The answer: Yes. Yes, she did. And I think she did it very well, even coming from a novice horror reader like me.
The only thing that wasn't working for me with this book was the switching of points of view in the beginning of the book. The book, throughout, is told from a 3rd person POV and alternates focus on Ari and Marcus. They're the two main characters. And the switches happen at chapter breaks. In the beginning I felt like the switch was happening a little too often and I wasn't able to get a good feel for the characters. Well, I enjoyed Ari from the start. She felt like the real lead. Marcus on the other hand isn't a likeable character. That's how he's written and there's no issue with that. I think his sections were a little short and I wasn't caring as much for him. This all changed as I kept reading, though. It actually really pulled itself together once I gave it time. I think it was how the book was meant to be done. In the end, I grew to like both characters (and some of the minor ones that come along the way). Marcus grew on me, even if I didn't expect him to.
The horror elements of this book were great. As I said already, I'm not the biggest of horror readers, but I know what'll scare people. I don't get scared from books. I don't even cry during the saddest moments of some. (Maybe I have no soul.) Despite this, Boyce was able to paint a great visual in my mind of the ghosts, demons, and other horrific parts of the book. She didn't hold back much either. I helped when I read this book at night with only my book lamp on. Added to the overall atmosphere as I read along.
Would I recommend this book to other readers? Definitely. I had a great time reading it. I also want to try more horror now. I'm looking forward to other books in this series. I think horror lovers will enjoy it as much as I did, and I don't think it'll turn away non-horror readers, either. Yes, it's scary, but there's a great story underneath it all, too.