Sixteen-year-old Ellie Porter is done with life.
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Blood And Brume
Series: Untitled #1
Author: Maki Morris
Publication Date: February 4, 2020
Publisher: The Parliament House
Genre: Paranormal, Mystery, Horror
Cover Artist: Shayne Leighton
My Rating: ★★★★
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, The Parliament House, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review.
All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication.
Content Warning: Emotional Abuse, Physical Abuse, Attempted Rape, Suicide, Drunkenness, Alcoholism, Assault, Bullying, Premarital sex, Profanity
Whenever I came for a visit, full of disappointment and sadness, I tried to drink in this magical, invisible tonic through my nose, mouth, and every pore in my body. But as hard as I might try, I still felt like a stranger on the outside looking in. Somewhere inside, I knew I could never be part of something this perfect.
Be prepared—this one starts out with a bang. Blood And Brume isn’t a light-hearted read, know that now. Even though the main character is sixteen, this book is meant for mature and older readers. To put it plainly, Ellie Porter has never had the luxury of a “normal” life. Her “normal” is survival. Survival with having little-to-nothing to eat at home. Surviving instability. Surviving her mother’s boyfriends who try and force themselves on her when her mom is passed out, drunk.
The opening scene is of Ellie being nearly-raped by her mother’s boyfriend Stan. Luckily, she’s able to ward him off and get out of there before worse can happen. Without the support of her mother, Ellie has no other family to turn to for help. Facial bruises are impossible to hide in a school full of treacherous teenagers, so she heads to her hideout near the sea for a save haven. Sam, Ellie’s best friend, finds her there and insists that she comes to his house. It isn’t safe for a sixteen-year-old to be wandering the streets alone.
While his hospitality is welcomed, Ellie doesn’t want Sam’s father to find out about what’s been going on at her home. Being a police officer, he would have to report her situation to CPS, and Ellie would then be destined for the foster care system—which isn’t exactly a better fate. Sam decides to take Ellie to the “TZ” house—an abandoned house knows as the “Twilight Zone” House due to strange occurrences that happen there—to stay for a short while to stay under the radar.
After their arrival, Sam has to leave and meet his Dad, but promises to come back. She discovers that the house isn’t as abandoned as it appears, and encounters two strange, but stunningly handsome gentleman. Incidents only become stranger when Ellie notices impossibilities becoming possible out of thin air. Waiting for Sam to return, Ellie learns that the men go by the names of William and Giles. They are incredibly proper, but something strange also accompanies their cordiality. Before she can learn more, Sam whisks her away and leaves the mystery of the men behind them in the dreary house.
Ellie can’t catch a break though, when her mom reports her missing and that she has stolen from her. Sam has no other option but to explain to his father what is going on at her household. To her surprise, she ends up moving in with Sam as she clearly cannot return home. It is with this turn of events that Ellie’s life changes drastically. Thrust into a world of stability, her past continues to seek her out. Ellie works effortlessly to accept her current state, but it proves more difficult than she expected, and the paranormal charmer and his companion become further entwined in her life as well.
I think what Blood And Brume offers that really drew me in was the realness that it offered. Ellie’s life, however painful and unpleasant at times, was convincingly real and well-written. Despite her situation, she works tirelessly to be the best that she can. She doesn’t give up, and learns to heal with the help of Sam and his father. She felt so real, and her internal musings offered a hard look into the life of a teen that has gone through too much in her life already. There is beauty to be found growing through the cracks of her broken foundation.
Sam, William, Giles, and Sam’s father are all great additions to the plot. While I’m not for a relationship between the living and a ghost, I’m very curious to learn more about William’s story, and what will become of these characters. I cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel to this book. Blood And Brume is set in the present-day, which makes it very familiar. I think it would have been neat to get more detail of the house itself, and the setting in general. Since this story is very character-driven, I felt that there wasn’t much time to include detailed surroundings which I would have liked.
Sexual content: Some discussion of intimacy.
Violence: Moderate, including an attempted murder. (See content warning.)
My Rating: ★★★★
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