Book Review: The Pretenders by Charlaine Harris and Christopher Golden

Posted July 20, 2018 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: The Pretenders by Charlaine Harris and Christopher Golden

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

The Pretenders by Charlaine Harris, Christopher Golden
Genres: Magical Realism
Published by InkLit on January 7, 2014
Pages: 128
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library

Buy on Amazon
Illustrator: Danielle Rudoni, Don Kramer, Jacob Bascle
Also by this author: Midnight Crossroad, Real Murders, Indigo, Night Shift, Sleep Like a Baby, A Longer Fall, An Easy Death, The Russian Cage

First in the Cemetery Girl Trilogy magical realism series for Young Adult readers and revolving around a young woman someone tried to kill.

My Take

Okay, it’s a graphic novel, which I didn’t expect. The graphics are well done, although I would prefer the text larger for my old eyes, but then I reckon graphic novels aren’t meant for the *creak* elderly *more creaking*.

It’s Calexa’s perspective in a first person protagonist point-of-view, so we have access to all her thoughts…and the scariness that’s going on during that possession! Of course, a lot of Calexa’s “dialogue” gets so repetitive and annoying. I don’t know if Harris/Golden were trying to fill up pages or up the tension. Gotta say that the only one of the two that worked on me was the extra panels it took. Oy.

Calexa’s comment about that brujo’s knowledge of Latin cracked me up.

I loved that comment by Willie to his sister:

“‘I can make my own decisions, Willie. I’m not a little kid, y’know.’

‘You’re my little sister, Marls. No matter how old you are.'”

I don’t know why, but it annoys me when Calexa runs from Lucinda, although I don’t object to her ignoring Tony. *throws her hands up* Another annoyance was that damned cellphone of Marla’s. Why couldn’t Calexa get it to the police or ask Lucinda to pass it to them?? Sure I loved that text messaging, but…really??

Oh-kay… That last panel with Calexa’s stance reminds me of a superhero, mmm-hmmm.

Well, you can probably tell this wasn’t my favorite story. I am prejudiced against graphic novels, primarily because there’s so much lost without all the words that I enjoy so much. So take this with a grain of salt!

The Story

Thrown down a hill, this girl slowly wakes, knowing she was dead for minutes and without her memory. All she does know is that someone tried to kill her. And she’s staying right here until her memory does return.

All she needs to worry about now is shelter, food, and staying away from people. Well, living people anyway. Since she “died”, she can see spirits, and they can see her.

She’d also better avoid the murderous group of teens determined to do black magic, at any cost, including murder.

It’s the victim’s spirit that invades Calexa, overwhelming her mind with visions and memories not her own, and Calexa must decide whether she continues to hide to protect herself — or comes forward to bring justice to the sad spirit who has reached out to her for help…

The Characters

Calexa Rose Dunhill is who she chooses to be, names taken from the grim surroundings where she awoke, bruised and bloody, with no memory of who she is, how she got there, or who left her for dead.

The compassionate Tony Kelner is in charge of the cemetery. “Stupid Bird” belonged to Tony’s wife, Janice. Lucinda Cameron is an elderly woman who lives near the cemetery. Lucinda’s deceased Aunt Nettie contributes to the disguise.

The black magic idiots
Cerise is passionate [and bossy] about the magic. Her companions include Willie Vasquez, Trey, Lina, Dori, and I think, Esteban. Marla is Willie’s grieving sister.

Big Art does fantastic hamburgers.

The Cover and Title

The cover is big and bold with text. Harris’ name is top left in an embossed gold with Golden’s name beneath hers in an embossed grayed silver. The series info is almost at the bottom in a shiny embossed silver. Beneath that is the actual title (which I took to be the series name!) in white. Spanning the bottom is a narrow royal blue band with deep gold crosses separating the authors’ names and the art crew’s names. The background is a stormy night in royal blues and whites with the silhouettes of leafless trees, gravestones, and a girl with long hair racing across the cemetery, water splashing up around her feet.

I think the title refers to those young idiots, The Pretenders, who want to play around with black magic.

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