Book Review: Banish by Nicola Marsh

Banish

Title: Banish
Author: Nicola Marsh
Genre: Paranormal, Magic, Young Adult, Contemporary 
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: August 2013
Pages: 272
Rating: 2 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Alyssa has one week to destroy her enemy, save her spirit… and save her soul.

After her ex-boyfriend commits suicide and her mum’s alcoholism sparks yet another psychotic episode, seventeen-year-old Alyssa Wood flees her small hometown of Broadwater and heads to New York City to stay with her bohemian aunt — a Wicca High Priestess.

Alyssa revels in the anonymity of a big city and her new life. Her grades climb, she has a new best friend, and a new guy: the sexy geek Ronan — a saxophone player who prefers jazz to pop.

But her newfound peace is soon shattered when she sees a dead body in one of Ronan’s music clips — and she’s the only one who can see it. Worse still, Alyssa recognises the body that has been murdered a week forward!

Alyssa doesn’t believe in the supernatural…despite her family’s Wicca background. So how will she overcome evil when it’s closer than she thinks?

My Review:

There’s a lot to like about Nicola Marsh’s YA debut – a strong heroine, a mystery which I couldn’t wait to see how it was solved, some romance and a great kind of magic. Alyssa has been through a lot.  Her boyfriend killed himself the day after they broke up and her mother is an alcoholic who hears voices – NYC with her high priestess aunt has to be better than the memories in Broadwater. But it seems that Alyssa can’t outrun her past. Her new life meets her old when she sees a video set one week in the future of a dead girl. Her new boyfriend Ronan thinks that maybe Lyssa’s aunt is responsible but the strange keeps popping up – a weird séance, jewellery which should be buried and other mysterious goings on. Alyssa needs to banish the bad that’s following her and try to save the girl before this bad magic following her takes her too.

I was excited to read this book because I love reading YA by Australian authors. The fact that Banish is set in the US was a little disappointing to me. Whist I thought Marsh did a great job of writing this city into the book I would have loved it just a little more had it been set in Australia.

I found Alyssa hard to connect with and as a result I found myself uninterested and not invested in just how things would end up for her. She’s blunt – and understandably so considering her history. But I didn’t like how rude she was to those trying to help her and her attitude towards people. She has expectations from people but doesn’t communicate to others what she wants or needs and because of this they don’t behave as she would like and she gets annoyed with them. Her constant disapproval of her aunt’s interest in the supernatural, her mother’s alcoholism and her boyfriend taking his own life was reiterated a little too often for my liking. It seemed like by the end of the novel there was only one thing I knew about each of those characters because it was the only thing Alyssa told us about them. I wasn’t a huge fan of the relationship between Alyssa and Ronan and I felt low to no chemistry between them but I liked that despite their relationship being new – it wasn’t perfect and that added a layer of realism to it.

The plot is slightly predictable but I was genuinely surprised by the motivation behind WHY the villain was tormenting Alyssa and I thought that the ending was a satisfying one. The highlight of this book to me was the type of magic used – it brought me back to my days watching Charmed. I’ll be keeping an eye out for any other YA titles Marsh writes however if Banish turns into a series it’s not one I think I’ll continue reading.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia| Book Depository | BookWorld

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