Monday, October 17, 2016

Book Review: The Vigilant Schism by MG Sanders

A hated bully’s ghastly - yet deserved - decapitation.
An eccentric siliconaire's one million dollar reward.
An otherworldly cast of suspects screwing everything else up.

A justifiably grisly crime begs to be solved in THE VIGILANT: SCHISM, the first book of a psycho-thriller serial where the paranormal interact with the living - usually without their knowledge. A horrific murder sets sixteen-year-old Beth and others on a riveting quest to find the killer, yet instead they discover that no one is what they seem, especially Beth. As they explore the unseen lives of those around them, it becomes evident that something sinister - something irrevocable - is happening in Beetle Oaks.

Someone is righting wrongs.

A psycho-thriller populated with a bizarre cast of characters, THE VIGILANT serial will appeal to those unafraid to consider the revolting depths of the shadows crawling behind friends and neighbors.

Blogger's note: Minor spoilers for the book

The cover is simply beautiful, and I could gush about it all day. Since one of the main characters is the spirit of someone horribly murdered, the cover is very fitting as a ghost could spend a great deal of time behind the curtain. Well done!

As a reader I am not really enthused about stories where the main character might be in the wrong body, or a different plain of existence. It's not normally my cup of tea. However, I did enjoy the book more because the main character (Beth) soon becomes an active participant in the events which happen in the book, even as a ghost. There are also a great collection of characters which make the set-up and mystery interesting. I did appreciate the amount of diversity and detail that went into establishing each character. 

That being said, it also feels like the Vigilant has a collection of ideas, some of which tie into the overall arc better than others. The character Fiammetta suffers for this the most. She is a mystery woman who can see Beth and helps her throughout the book. But when Fiammetta's true identity is revealed, it's a very WTF moment. It comes out of nowhere, doesn't really contribute to the mystery and isn't really resolved. I am assuming this will be resolved in the later books, but it perhaps would have been a better idea to keep parts of her identity a secret as well. In this case, less might have been more. Around the same time, Beth also has to deal with another spirit who is a bully, and I would have loved to see this continue until the end of the book instead of the half-way mark, as this spirit could have certainly made Beth's investigation more difficult. 

The mystery of who the killer is will likely keep the reader guessing until likely the two-third mark. I would have preferred to see one small scene removed to make it more challenging, but overall it's a good enough mystery to keep the reader guessing for a while.

FINAL GRADE: 3.5 out of 5. A fun read with well-developed characters. A few ideas do not connect very well with the main plot. Presumably they will be more important in the sequels. 

The Vigilant Schism can be found here: 

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