The Black Parade Review and Excerpt
The Black Parade Series
Genre: Urban fantasy/Paranormal/Supernatural
Number of pages: 346
Word Count: 103,169
Cover Artist: Gunjan Kumar
One bullet is all it took to transform eighteen-year-old New Yorker Jordan Amador into the last hope for souls of the dead. However, it also transformed her into a cantankerous asocial waitress with a drinking problem.
Jordan accidentally shot and killed a Seer: a person who can communicate with ghosts, angels, and demons. Worse still, she did so on the eve of her own awakening, making her the last Seer on Earth with no one to guide her. As penance, God gives her two years to help one hundred souls with unfinished business cross over from Earth to the afterlife or she will go to Hell. Just as she approaches the deadline, Jordan finds her hundredth soul: a smart-mouthed poltergeist named Michael whose ability to physically touch things makes him distinct from her usual encounters with the dead. However, the deeper she delves solving his sudden death, the more she realizes something sinister is on the horizon.
With time running short, Jordan stumbles across a plot that may unravel the fragile balance among Heaven, Hell, and Earth. Her life is plunged into chaos as she is hunted by demons that want to use her valuable Seer blood to bring about the end of the world and discovers that these creatures have a frightening connection to her family bloodline. Plus, the budding romance between Jordan and Michael makes it harder for them to let go of each other so he can become part of the eternal black parade.
I really, really liked this book. When I agreed to review it, I didn’t realize it was going to be quite so good. The synopsis sounded good, but it’s not my normal subject. I normally like vampires, obviously, and tend to avoid most things that involve angels. The ghost aspect of this book is what drew me in, and I’m a sucker for a good ghost story. I really loved the cover also.
The main character, Jordan has a debt to pay for a life she accidently took 2 years ago. If she doesn’t assist 200 souls complete their last wish, her soul will belong to hell. What she doesn’t realize is that the reason she is able to see the ghosts to begin with and help them is because she’s a Seer.
Her past is filled with abuse and sadness after he mother was placed in a mental hospital and she was sent to live with her mean and spiteful Aunt. This abuse made her want to live a solitary life where she couldn’t be hurt by loving someone.
When she meets Michael, a self described “poltergeist”, she starts to see things differently. It turns out Michael isn’t a poltergeist after all. He’s an angel, as in the Archangel Michael with the fiery sword and all that fun stuff.
As a Seer, Jordan seems to be attracting demons. They seriously want her soul. They are trying to complete a ritual to finally help the dark side win the war against God. Little do they know that she is not the weak little human they take her to be.
The tension between Jordan and Michael is insane. I really couldn’t wait for something to happen between them. I wanted them to be able to be together. They fought side by side to protect Jordan’s soul from some really nasty demons. You can almost feel the emotions between the two of them as they attempt to outwit two of the worst demons in existence.
This book was really well written and the action scenes are plentiful. I really thought the book would have one climax. I was wrong! There is several of what I would consider climax type situations. They all felt equally exciting, and I really don’t think this book is lacking in anything. Action, suspense, emotions, everything. The reader is given back story to know enough about the characters to become emotionally invested in them. We can feel their pain, their sadness, as well as the joy and the triumph they achieve.
This book is about more than just ghosts or angels versus demons. It really felt like it was about human emotion, weakness, and overcoming obstacles in our everyday lives. The afterward that is in the back of the book written by the author really is a beautiful piece of writing. Beautiful really is the only word I could think of to describe it. The whole book had a special flow to it that made it all come together so well.
I would recommend this book to everyone. It’s a great book, it’s not overly complicated, there is nothing inappropriate that I can think of that would prevent me from suggesting it to other age groups. It’s not classified as YA, but I think it would still be ok for a teenage reader.
Crazed teeth gnashed inches away from my face. The eyes rolled back until only the whites showed. Spider-like fingers strained for my throat. I screamed and ran towards the bedroom.
I slammed the door shut and dove for the nightstand, hands shaking as I checked the chambers to make sure the gun was loaded. The door flew open with a bang. A second bang followed. Then all was silent.
The phantom was gone, but in its place stood a man in a suit beneath his dark grey duster. His hair was black and his face was growing paler by the second. He reached out his hand. My panicked eyes spotted the scarlet speckled across the palm. The room had gone silent because the gun had deafened me. The barrel was still smoking and now I could see the hole I had put through the man’s chest.
I couldn’t breathe, but somehow I could still talk, and my lips were whispering one word over and over.
“No, no, no, no…”
The man said nothing as he fell to his knees in front of me, his azure eyes locked on mine as if he were trying to tell me something, but the strength was ebbing from him in crimson rivulets. I dropped the gun and fell to my knees as well. My fingertips grazed his face as if I could bring him back to life with one touch, but we both knew it was too late. He laid a rough, scarred hand to the side of my cheek where hot tears had fallen, his lips parting to whisper in a soothing voice.
“Don’t be afraid. They’re going to come for you, but please don’t be afraid.”
“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, please…” I managed to gasp out in between sobs.
The man merely smiled and closed his eyes. “Don’t be. I’m ready.”
He swayed forward and I caught his heavy body, feeling his blood soak my shirt. He slid down until his face rested in my lap, drawing in a few more shallow breaths before going completely still, empty, lifeless. I sat there with my coated hands stroking his hair, still whispering over and over for him to forgive me.
Golden light poured in from all angles, nearly blinding me, and I could just barely see the outline of a man with wings.
When the light dimmed, a blond man stood in front of me with white-gold wings that stretched nearly from wall to wall of my small bedroom. His tanned body was wrapped in white linen and his skin seemed to possess an ethereal quality, glowing like he had some unique source of inner radiance. Blue eyes like twin suns shone down on me with kindness and empathy. A new feeling of shock and reverence gave me enough strength to speak.
“W-Who are you?”
“My name is Gabriel. I am the archangel of the Lord God.” His voice had an echo to it that seemed to soothe and agitate me at the same time. The angel folded his wings into his back and knelt beside the dead man in my lap. His fingers hovered over the wound the bullet had left through the man’s back.
“As I thought…he is dead.”
More tears poured as I tried to explain. “I-I didn’t know it was him. There was a monster chasing me. I got scared. I’m so sorry.”
Gabriel’s face fell into that of a pitying expression. “You are human. It was only natural for you to be afraid. However, the Father cannot overlook what you have done. The man before you is a Seer—one of the few humans in this world who can see angels, demons, and spirits. He was hunting the demon you saw a moment ago.”
“Please, I don’t want to die. I’ll do anything to make this better,” I whispered, bowing to the angel.
He touched the crown of my head in comfort. “There is something you can do to make amends, my child. You must take his place.”
I looked up in shock. “What?”
“You are a Seer, Jordan. Your abilities had not awakened until just now. That is why the demon was drawn to you. Your time to serve the Lord is now. In order to pay for the crime of taking this man’s life, you must help one hundred wandering souls cross from this world to the next. If you do not finish this task two years from this day, I am afraid your soul shall be sent to hell.”
“H-How? How do I even know which people are spirits?” I stammered in protest.
“The dead have no feet to walk upon because they are no longer tied to the Earth. Your task is to discover how they died and help them fulfill their final wish. Do not fear, for I will teach you how to free their souls. After this is done, the soul will go to the next world and I will write down the name in the Book of Penance.”
He held out his hand and a red leather book materialized, spelling out my name in gold cursive across the front. It managed to be both beautiful and macabre. Gabriel placed it by my side and carefully rolled the man over onto his back. He plucked a feather from his wings and pressed it over the man’s heart.
“Rest in peace. The gates of Heaven are waiting.”
I watched with wonderment as the feather dissipated into tiny flecks of light and felt warmth as something nearly transparent rose from the body. I realized with shock that it was the man’s soul. He hung in the air between Gabriel and me for a moment before floating upward and out of sight. His body faded seconds later, leaving only the bloodstained clothes behind. My fingers closed over the grey duster, which was still salvageable in comparison to the shirt and pants.
“I shall be watching over you always, Jordan Amador…”
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All About Kyoko
Kyoko M is an author, a fangirl, and an avid book reader.
Her debut novel, The Black Parade, made it through the first round of Amazon’s 2013 Breakthrough Novel Contest. She participated and completed the 2011 National Novel Writing Month competition. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Lit degree from the University of Georgia, which gave her every valid excuse to devour book after book with a concentration in Greek mythology and Christian mythology.
When not working feverishly on a manuscript (or two), she can be found buried under her Dashboard on Tumblr, or chatting with fellow nerds on Twitter, or curled up with a good Harry Dresden novel on a warm central Florida night. Like any author, she wants nothing more than to contribute something great to the best profession in the world, no matter how small.