Title: Mary Hades (Mary Hades #1)
Author: Sarah Dalton
Publisher: Sarah Dalton
Release Date: 4th May 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Gothic, paranormal
Page Count: 286 (paperback)
Source: Xpresso Book Tours
Mary’s been dragged to Nettleby, a small town in the north of England, for a family holiday, but when strange accidents occur that kill people around her, she discovers she’s at the centre of child ghost’s vengeance, and she has to figure out a way to keep all of her new friends – and old ones – alive so they can put the serial killing ghost to rest.
Mary Hades is a wonderful book, truly spectacular. It’s the kind of book that would be at home with a major publisher in their YA Gothic section. As a self-published book, it simply outshines a lot of other similarly produced work I’ve read. It’s polished, refined, each character has its own motivations and the main character grows and changes with relevance to the clear, outlined plot. There’s mysteries left unturned until the climax and it’s also a good adventure ride, hanging out with Mary as she finds a summer romance, faces some demons both metaphorical and real, and tries to solve the mystery of the ghost child haunting the small town.
Mary was an excellent character. She was strong willed and smart, fighting against a horrible mental illness stigma. Her best friend is a ghost, called Lacey, and the two of them bickered and fought like any teen best friends do. I loved their relationship because of the power balance between them and I found it quite realistic. As an added bonus, Lacey is a lesbian, but it’s never made a big deal of. Mary wasn’t exactly a leader type who took charge, but she was capable of being on her own without falling apart, which I liked.
The other characters were great to read about as well. Seth had motivation out the wazoo and enough issues to make even the worst of the bad-boy-with-an-attitude-lovers swoon. Neil and Lamarr were an interracial gay Goth couple and they were sweet to Mary. We didn’t see as much of them because the focus was on Seth. Mary’s parents were suitable horrific: her mother was completely obsessed with getting Mary a summer boyfriend (and maybe even getting laid?) and her dad, obviously, hated Seth and anything that threatened to change Mary from a little girl into a woman.
Although this book revealed horrible character actions and hinted at even more sinister stuff, I still think it’s a great book for teenagers to enjoy. I really liked it even though I haven’t read the prequel novella, My Daylight Monsters. I think it’s a phenomenal effort and it should be a book other YA readers should tackle.
Thanks to Xpresso Book Tours and the author for providing a free review copy for an honest review.