Review of Shutter by Courtney Alameda

By: Courtney Alameda
Release Date: February 3rd 2015
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:

Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She’s aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera’s technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.

When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn’t exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she’s faced before . . . or die trying.

Lock, stock, and lens, she’s in for one hell of a week.

My Thoughts:
That cover is SO CREEPY. I had to turn the book over as I read because that face staring at me was not working. I found Shutter to be a somewhat creepy read that I enjoyed though didn’t love. I had a bit of a disconnect with the characters though I did like them. I think I would have been more scared if I had been more emotionally attached. Regardless, the story’s pacing and action sequences did work for me. There was a countdown aspect to the story- only so much time to solve the case or DEATH- and this did add tension (obviously). I enjoyed watching the soulchain curse grow on the character’s bodies…I’ve noticed lately I really delight in the character’s pain. Not sure what this says about me?

The story was told from Micheline’s point of view. I enjoyed the character’s unique skills that allowed them to excel in ghost hunting and thought it was especially wonderful to include an analog SLR camera as a weapon against spiritual entities. I’m a photographer (for fun) and so I had an easy time connecting to this aspect of the story. Trapping ghosts on film and then developing said film? Awesome! I loved the visuals of watching the images show up while alone, in a dark room. Where my disconnect came was with the secondary characters as well as the romance.

There wasn’t anything wrong with the interactions between characters I just had trouble really feeling the chemistry between them. I think with additional books I’d come to love the characters more? I hope so.  The romance was well done but it didn’t sweep me away and honestly was a tad forgettable. That’s sort of my problem with the book–the characters didn’t stick with me. I will say that some of the ghost scenes did. A month or so after reading I still remember many of the ghost interactions and think they were done so incredibly well. For me, that was the highlight of the book.

Final Thoughts:
Shutter was well worth the read and brought some fun aspects to the horror genre (there needs to be more in YA). If a sequel is released I’d want to read it since I feel these characters have great potential. I connected very well to the horror and action aspects but never had the emotional draw to the characters that I’d have preferred. Regardless, this was an entertaining read that had great ghost imagery and action sequences.


  1. says

    I am super excited about this one – it actually is one of the top 10 debuts in my TBR for 2015. Your review pretty much ties down to my expectations – I am not expecting it to be a masterpiece or anything like that (that is just because YA horror books just never feel like that for me), but I am eager to see what type of twist to the horror genre this can offer and whether it will actually be able to freak me out. 🙂

    Great review – thanks for sharing this!

  2. says

    After reading your review, I’m sad to say that I’m STILL on the fence with this one. I don’t connect with characters easily, so if you didn’t connect with them, I probably wouldn’t either. And since you also don’t ship the romance, I probably won’t ship the romance. ):
    Psst, that cover is FUN. ;D<3

    • says

      The cover is scary!! It was a fun read and worth while imo. I’d be curious if you connect to the characters or not. If you read it you’ll have to let me know.

  3. says

    I got approved for it and I’m so very excited to start reading it! So happy to hear that despite not connecting with the characters you still liked it a lot and want to read the sequel!

  4. says

    That is most def a creepy cover, but sad to know the book didn’t live up to it. I’ve had trouble with YA Horror, there just haven’t been any that pleased me or that I would rec. Guess I won’t be giving this one a try.

    • says

      Such a creepy cover. It totally creeped me out even more in person. I’d find myself looking at it for too long and getting freaked out a bit. I hope you finally find a YA horror that you connect with.

  5. says

    omfg yes that cover is creepy. If I hate looking at that from the internet, it must look even more horrifying up close in real life :O Anyway, this one seems to have a lot of potential and it has a pretty cool premise! It’s a shame when you like a book, but it misses that last mile because you cannot fully connect with the characters.

    Fantastic review, love <33

    • says

      It is way worse in person! I’d find myself staring at it and just…no. I hope you like it if/when you read. the characters were fine just not amazing.

    • says

      I think others have connected so maybe it would work for you. It was worth the read imo but I really loved the idea of trapping an entity in film.

  6. says

    Hmmm, I wondered from the cover if this might not be too scary for me — it really freaks me out somehow! But you make it sound like maybe I could handle it, and the idea is awesome…

  7. says

    🙂 <~~~~~This is one of my New Years resolutions. Instead of reading a blog post and just walking away if I have nothing to say, I am going to leave a smiley face to let the blogger know that I dropped by and read. It requires no reply, or return blog visit. I myself am always curious who all the viewers are that visit, but might not have a comment to make that day.

  8. says

    Great review Kristen. <3 I'm glad you managed to enjoy this book, despite some of the issues 🙂 I.. had bigger issues with this one. Sigh. But that cover is all kinds of creepy, hih 😀 I love it. But yeah. Did not love the book :p But I get why you enjoyed it. <3 Thank you for sharing your thoughts sweetie 🙂

  9. says

    I have this to read from NG, too. I’m not a big horror fan, so I’m definitely interested to see what I think. Sorry you didn’t connect to the characters, that’s make it difficult to LOVE a story, but I’m glad there were other aspects you like.
    Thanks for your review, K!

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