I was lucky enough to receive an ARC version of this book for free in exchange for a review.
Melancholy of Souls by Anne Michaud is a novella in the Girls & Ghosts series, though each of them so far can be read separately. This story, in particular, begins with Mackenzie, a girl who has visited a haunted house. It's not for a good time, that's for sure. She and her father are hunting for a soul in particular, her mother who had died from cancer. They've been at this task a while, searching haunted houses, amusement parks and going to mediums. They have little left, save for their Chevy, an urn of ashes and a little bit of jewelry that they haven't yet sold. Yet, when Mackenzie needs to pawn off some of that jewelry, she finds that the answer is closer than she thinks.
The thing I like most about this book is that the narrator has a lot of personality. Of course, if it were directed at you, she would be considered nasty. However, these thoughts are personal, honest and even quite realistic in terms of the way some people think. By this, I mean that sometimes one needs to know the person better to understand the way they think, but here the right amount of information has been included to make it interesting, suspenseful and still understandable. I like the way that this personality reflects what's going on in the book as well. Because of the situations she's been put in, she's rightfully angry. We also find her to be worried, guilty, and even disgusted. I think it makes the story much realer that we're able to see such a stark and blunt view of her feelings.
As for the other characters, the one we see most is the father. He has a completely understandable view as well; looking for the soul of his wife. I think, in a way, his character is a little more curious because we don't see it from his perspective and don't really know what his intentions are or what he is/ might be like without Mackenzie present. The minimal characters are intriguing to me just because of what they're trying to accomplish. Though I don't know much about the organization collecting souls, I really would like to know more about them, the people involved and their reasons for doing it. It might be interesting to get a little back story on that.
Overall, I definitely liked the book. It was quite different from the first book in the Girls & Ghosts series, Cursing at the Sky. However, that isn't a bad thing; they were both good in different ways and each tell a different story. With Cursing at the Sky, there's some sort of dual possibility that the ghosts might be real. However, in the same way, there's the likelihood that they're just a girl's imagination and it has a real life basis. In Melancholy of Souls, it's more fictionalized where the souls are real, but there are legitimate explanations about the treatment of souls. I actually like that a lot, that this could theoretically be some alternate reality where souls are used in such a manner, just with different technology than we might have.
I think that this was definitely a well thought out book. The scenario seems very unique and the outcome is very special. I liked all of the characters and felt that they all had some sort of definite place in the book. I think it is well worth five stars.