Book Review – Ghostland by Duncan Ralston

The world doesn’t belong to us anymore. It’s theirs now. A world full of ghosts.”

Complete upfront confession: I loved this book.

That said, bad news first: as with the last Ralston novel I read, there were some obvious editorial oversights which took away slightly from the read. And I’m still trying to figure out if the author meant to call it a mazel tov cocktail as some sort of humorous pop culture reference that I’ve missed, or if he really doesn’t know it’s actually Molotov cocktail. Hmmm.

But, those things aside, this book was one giant rollercoaster ride of horror, gore, mystery, and teen angst. The very premise makes my eyes light up: a theme park devoted to ghosts and hauntings. What horror lover wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to visit?

Ghostland gathers together a multitude of haunted places in one spot, places like Garrote House, Bright Falls Sanitarium, Fontaine County Correctional, and many others. The hauntings are put on display through “Recurrence Field” technology, which traps dead energy and amplifies it, making ghosts visible through fancy AR headsets.

Lilian and Ben are there for Opening Day, along with a cast of supporting characters, and boy do they all get more than they bargained for. Three hundred undead baddies brought together in one place? Of course all hell breaks loose. Our heroes must make their way through a series of terrifying locations facing down evil ghosts, sentient holograms, friends who may not be quite so friendly, and their own feelings for each other, while trying to make it to an escape hatch that may or may not actually exist.

The scenes in the Mirror Maze gave me a definite sense of claustrophobia and the ghosts of Emma Lou Amesbury (aka Sister Serpent) and Dr. Hammersmith (aka Dr. Death) had their creep factor turned up to eleven.

Bonus points for this book for:
1) We get a map. Of Ghostland. I’m a sucker for maps.
2) The novel comes complete with a copy of KNOW YOUR GHOSTS: A Ghost Hunter’s Guide to GHOSTLAND, which I must admit I read first before delving into the story and loved it.
3) Ben proclaims he likes the miniseries of The Shining as it stays truer to the book (me too, Ben, ME TOO)
4) Has Stephen King misplaced a blue chambray shirt? It’s here, in Ghostland.

The book was scary. The action kept coming. The story managed to somehow be disgusting and frightening and FUN all at the same time. It was sort of like an adult version of a Goosebumps book, and I mean that in the most perfect way possible. Would I recommend this book? Yes. Will I be anxiously awaiting the sequel (rumored to be out possibly as early as this summer)? Absolutely. Should you get your hands on a copy and read it as soon as possible? Duh.

I was given a free electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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