Reviews

Mary: The Summoning – Hillary Monahan

January 15, 2018

This review is long overdue, and I’m finally caving and just writing a mini-review for it. I originally gave it 3.5 stars and was going to round up to 4, but as time has gone on, I’ve realized I can’t really justify rounding it up to 4 stars.

marysummoningsm
I grew up obsessed with the urban legend of Bloody Mary, so when I learned that there was a horror duology about it, I had to snag it. The horror aspect itself is wonderful: Mary is creepy as hell and the fact that she seems unstoppable makes it really suspenseful. I loved the idea that she could appear in reflective surfaces other than just mirrors, because it basically made the characters’ entire surroundings a threat.

That said, the horror aspect was the only thing I loved about this book. The characters are so cliche and unlikable for the most part – especially Jessica, the “mean girl” character who follows the stereotype to the bitter end and has literally no redeeming qualities, despite the narrator’s constant defense of her as her best friend. I literally wanted to throw the book at one point because I was just so sick of the narrator’s justifications for Jessica’s behavior.

Besides the “mean girl” trope, there’s another trope in this book that I had a huge problem with and haven’t seen anyone really addressing: the only token overweight friend is the cliche scared, obnoxious, overly anxious, “stick in the mud” friend who everyone constantly gets frustrated with. Given the fact that I know this book is a few years old and I’ve seen Hillary post a lot of own-voice pro-body-acceptance stuff on her twitter, I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that her intentions weren’t to be hurtful, but as a plus-size reviewer, I was honestly really frustrated by the way this character was depicted.

Though I probably found more individual things to dislike than things I liked in this book, all in all, like I said, it was creepy. The horror of it was fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed the ending, as well as the backstory we got on what made Bloody Mary the way she is. All of that in mind, you can see why it was tough for me to decide between rounding up or down, but in the end, I had to go with my gut.

3flakes

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  • Reply Verushka, an editor (@SydneyEditor1) January 16, 2018 at 4:45 am

    Oh no, I’m sorry this wasn’t as wonderful as you’d hoped. I was introduced to Bloody Mary through supernatural and it creeped me out SO much!

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries January 16, 2018 at 12:28 pm

      Thank you! The horror elements were definitely there, just not a whole lot else, sadly! But Bloody Mary is definitely super creepy – I’ve actually always had fears of mirrors anyways, and the stories about her don’t help that fear, haha!

  • Reply authortialee January 16, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    Pretty pictures.

  • Reply Horror Recommendations, Pt. I (& a read-along!) – howling libraries September 22, 2018 at 10:07 am

    […] Mary: The Summoning — Hillary Monahan — review Creep Level: 💀💀💀💀 A twist on the classic Bloody Mary […]

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