Series: Haunting Emma #3
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing USA on December 6th 2011
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy, Romantic, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Sexual Content: Kissing. References to sex
Reviewed by: Abigail
After a devastating battle at headquarters in New York, the ghostkeeping world is in shambles. When Emma and Bennett return home, they are determined to defeat the wraithmaster, Neos, forever. But it's not going to be easy. Bennett's parents kick him out when they realize he is still using drugs to enhance his powers. Emma is convinced her aunt has come back from the dead to warn her of a new threat. And worst of all, Neos is using wraiths to possess the students at Thatcher Academy. If the ghosts manage to take over the entire school, even Emma won't be strong enough to stop them. But if either she or Bennett sacrifice his or her powers, they might be able to save the ghostkeeping world once and for all-and break the "ghostkeepers lose their powers when they fall in love" curse. The question is: who will be the one to surrender all power? Fast-paced and romantic, this conclusion to the Haunting Emma trilogy will thrill readers as it brings the ghostly mystery to a close.
With SURRENDER, Lee Nichols concludes her spooky and romantic Haunting Emma trilogy, which overall is one of the better YA ghost series I’ve read due to it’s rather gothic approach to ghost mythology and the fact that it never shied away truly scary elements.
It’s been quite a few months since the previous Haunting Emma book was published so I had forgotten who most of these characters were when I started SURRENDER, and unfortunately there were no helpful reminders to jog my memory. Had I read this trilogy back to back, I’m sure I would have stayed as invested in this cast of characters as I was when I read DECEPTION. But apart from Emma and Bennett, the supporting characters got lost in the sea of names.
What didn’t get lost, and in fact resonated with me more in this book than the previous two, was the high price of romance between ghostkeepers. I think it’s an apt metaphor that captures the idea that in relationships, the weaker personality often gets swallowed up by the stronger. In SURRENDER, the stakes are significantly higher as too much physical contact between ghostkeepers causes the stronger to involuntarily drain the powers of the weaker. It’s the idea that has really driven the series for me and I was glad to see it featured so prominently here. It was terribly romantic to read about one person surrendering something so precious to them in order to gain something they considered infinitely more precious.
Haunting Emma ends with a decent conclusion that nicely addresses all the issues and questions raised throughout the trilogy. While DECEPTION remains the standout book in the series, both BETRAYAL and now SURRENDER retain enough of the debut’s strengths to allow the series overall to feel like one complete and satisfying story. I only wish the same sense of mystery and trepidation had carried over as well the bittersweet romance.Series Titles: