Book Review: HAUNTERS

Written by Thomas Taylor
Published by Chicken House
May 2012
Mass paperback, 350 pages

They say not to judge a book by its cover, but when the cover has a Flash-like character running through a hole between blue and red with the name Haunters, you get curious. So I admit, I went with it and it has to do with ghosts (per the tag line of “Does History have a ghost of a chance?”). I’m glad I did because this was a fun book to jump into.

Thomas Taylor doesn’t give you time to breathe. He just drops you right into the action of World War II London and takes off. But it’s not that simple. The story is told between two characters, David and Eddie. They are friends but not in the normal sense. Eddie lives in 1940 London, while David lives in current day London. So how can they be friends? David thinks it’s all just a dream whereas Eddie thinks David is a ghost. What David eventually learns is that dreams are just time travel portals and while they’re in a real place in a real time, to those real people around them, they’re a shadow of the future. With that type of knowledge, imagine the power a person can have over history and people. As David learns more about this ability he has, the more he realizes how one thing, or one person, can change the entire future of the world, and he sets out on a mission to save his friend.

First thought? WOW.

I may have looked at the cover to pick this book to read but I admit, I opted to skip the flap with the teaser and go straight into it. So I had no idea what ride I was getting into. The story is fast paced, quickly catching you up with what we are allowed to know about David’s life before he’s brought into the dreamwalking world, which is what it is called when you travel in the dreams. Even though Taylor has to explain a lot about the situation at hand as well as the “physics” of it, he is fairly thorough and clear about it. At no time did I feel left in the dark about something. This is good for a YA novel since the dreamwalking science could get out of hand.

Luckily, the explanation also is driven by the story. Young David has to learn all of this to prepare him for his task, which also explains why he’s drawn to young 1940s Eddie. Taylor leaves very little down time and when there is, there’s a sense of urgency in David, his surrounding characters, and the reader. There were points when I was even saying “you need to keep moving!”

I enjoyed that the story was told from both David’s and Eddie’s perspectives. Like the Game of Thrones books, they each got their own chapters to keep it organized. Occasionally a third character had a chapter but that was to help better understand the villain.

There were a couple of ideas that I had expected to be more important, but they were never played out. One in particular, but I will overlook it.

The story came to a good close and even one of the bigger questions about the villain was answered, which I really liked. And Taylor left it open for a possible sequel. I would be interested to see what he could do with where he left off.

Haunters was a fun book I didn’t expect to get so wrapped up in. Give this YA book a chance and you won’t look at your dreams the same way ever again.

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