Book Review: The Lost Sister by Megan Kelley Hall

Lost SisterThe Lost Sister is the second release in a young adult paranormal fiction series by author Megan Kelley Hall.  I reviewed the first book in the series, Sisters of Misery, which served as Hall’s debut novel and also launched Kensington Book’s new line of young adult fantasy fiction.

The Lost Sister returns to the story of Maddie Crane and her missing half sister, Cordelia LeClaire.  Maddie is now a senior at a prestigious boarding school, while Cordelia has fled the scene after the dark and dangerous games that took place on Misery Island the previous year.  After receiving a mysterious and ominous tarot card from an anonymous sender, events draw Maddie back to the small Massachusetts town of Hawthorne, where she must face her own dark past, the formidable Sisters of Misery, and the wrongs she committed to her own sister, Cordelia.  Both a murder mystery and a gothic novel, The Lost Sister continues the story of Maddie and Cordelia, combining suspense with a touch of magic.

She tried not to read the warning in the leaves.  Once you knew where to look for certain signs, it was hard not to see them in everything.  And she could read this message clear as day: Kill Him.

Having enjoyed Sisters of Misery and seeing much promise and potential in Hall’s writing, I had fairly high expectations for her follow-up novel, The Lost Sister.  Unfortunately, this second book, consistent with my one criticism of the first, proved to be a bit meandering.  Many interesting scenarios were introduced and then never fully developed.  Characters  had the potential for more depth, but were left in transition.  While the story itself was intriguing, it left me wanting for more detail, such as the history of Children’s Island, the background stories behind some of the male characters and their ties to Hawthorne, and the emerging psychic abilities of both Maddie and Cordelia.  Perhaps these clues were simply a portent of things to come in the series, in which case, I will be looking forward to future books, so that I can find out more about these mysteries.

Overall, Hall’s form of young adult fantasy fiction appears to be something wholly original.  Rather than relying on interpretations of existing horror archetypes, such as vampires, witches, and werewolves, Hall delves into a form of fantasy that is more gothic in nature, with truly dark acts unraveling in a setting that would otherwise appear traditional or peaceful on the surface.  Her references to tarot cards, rune stones, and psychic talents help tie the story together with little intrigues that kept me wanting for more.

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