Dead Remnants – Armarna Forbes

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*I received a free copy of this book, with thanks to the author.  The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*

Blurb:  Welcome to the afterlife of Denver—where phantom buffalo roam and ghost factions wage war.

Dead Remnants 5164suaiyALSeventeen-year-old Ashen Deming is dead, but she can’t move on. Not with the soul of her best friend on the line. He is stuck in a horrific curse—a curse no spirit knows how to break.

Ashen is determined to find a cure, but at every turn opposing factions try to snatch her for themselves. As the menacing specters close in, a new threat is exposed—one that looms over the dead and the living—and Ashen and her posse of ghosts have one brief chance to stop them. If they fail, the entire world will be lost to darkness forever.

But Ashen’s time is running out. If she doesn’t cross over soon, she will be damned to roam the haunted city for eternity.

Dead Remnants is a YA urban fantasy, filled with dark humor and spliced with historical flashback stories, revealing real ghosts of America’s ugly past. Perfect for older teens and fans of JOSS WHEDON, NEIL GAIMAN, STEPHEN KING, and GUILLERMO DEL TORO.

 

Dead Remnants is an enjoyable urban fantasy debut, built on a fascinating afterlife premise, in equal parts creepy and hopeful.

Ashen was 17 and worrying about what would happen to her now that school was finished and adulthood loomed.  But now she’s dead and has a whole host of new problems… like saving the spirit world and getting her best friend back.

Ashen’s death happens in the early chapters of the book, and most of the book follows her adventures in the afterlife as she faces the choice between moving on to an unknown next place or staying in the mid-way limbo she finds herself in now, where ghosts ‘drift’ hopelessly and the Light, Unseen and Warden teams wrestle for control of the souls of the dead.

I felt the pacing was a little uneven, with those first few chapters – before Ashen’s death – feeling quite slow and unnecessary to the main plot.  However, once the story reached the afterlife it really picked up and the action was focused around which team Ashen might pick – if any! – and whether she could find Jacob, her best friend, in a strange world where she doesn’t know what she can do or who she can trust.

I really enjoyed the ‘Drifter’ plot element in this story (the name used here for classic ghosts who repeat the same actions without awareness), and also the whole light/dark/grey power battle.  I found it a little hard to feel connected to the characters at first, but seeing flashbacks to each Warden’s before-life really helped to develop my understanding of them.  I was a little disappointed in just how very bad the villain turned out to be, as with no redeeming qualities at all he became a bit of a recurring symbol rather than a fully-fleshed individual with his own arc, whereas the ‘good’ characters were more complex.

The author tackled some massive issues here, from relatable teenage problems like alcoholic parents and unrequited love; through to the problematic history of the American peoples; what happens after we die, and is it ever possible to remain unbiased and neutral when faced with true evil.

This is a fresh, unique take on ghosts and the afterlife that would work really well as the first book in a series, as it sets up a fascinating world populated with some very interesting characters.  As a standalone book, I felt that the ending was a little abrupt after such a detailed build-up, and so felt a little flat when I reached the final page.  I would really have liked to see more from Ashen and her allies (especially the budding love-interest)!

 

 

It’s just your imagination.
It’s just your imagination.
It’s just your imagination.
Ashen Deming gulped down her dread and glanced behind her.  Nope; not her imagination.  In the last seat of the bus, some guy—some creepy guy—leered at her.  It was clear he hadn’t showered in weeks.  His pallid tinge coupled with his paper-white lips reminded her of an old, mangled mannequin.
She took a deep, even breath.  At least she wasn’t riding alone.

– Armarna Forbes, Dead Remnants

 

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Find more from Armarna Forbes at her website here, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Dead Remnants is available on Amazon (and elsewhere) right now!

 

 

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