Monday, September 01, 2014

Review: Mary: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan

From Goodreads: There is a right way and a wrong way to summon her. Jess had done the research. Success requires precision: a dark room, a mirror, a candle, salt, and four teenage girls. Each of them - Jess, Shauna, Kitty, and Anna - must link hands, follow the rules ... and never let go. A thrilling fear spins around the room the first time Jess calls her name: "Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. BLOODY MARY." A ripple of terror follows when a shadowy silhouette emerges through the fog, a specter trapped behind the mirror. Once is not enough, though - at least not for Jess. Mary is called again. And again. But when their summoning circle is broken, Bloody Mary slips through the glass with a taste for revenge on her lips. As the girls struggle to escape Mary's wrath, loyalties are questioned, friendships are torn apart, and lives are forever altered. A haunting trail of clues leads Shauna on a desperate search to uncover the legacy of Mary Worth. What she finds will change everything, but will it be enough to stop Mary - and Jess - before it's too late?

My Rating: Slightly higher than 3 hearts, but not quite 3.5 hearts

Thoughts on the Novel: Hillary Monahan's Mary: The Summoning was a book that I have mixed feelings about because although I liked some aspects of it, other parts could have been improved upon.

Here is my list of pros and cons about Mary: The Summoning: 

  • I liked that Monahan created a background for Mary. She wasn’t just some ghost, but a girl with a history, which made me want to know why she became so full of fury that she eventually became Bloody Mary.
  • Although Mary: The Summoning was full of horror scenes, they weren't too frightening. While some people might be disappointed by that, I was actually content about not having to worry about whether Mary was coming for me. If you’re a scaredy-cat but want to read a horror novel, I would suggest giving Mary: The Summoning a try.
  • I loved what happened to Jess at the end. She totally deserved it! 
  • I thought there was a lot of telling rather than showing in Mary: The Summoning. For example, before we even really get to know Shauna and her friends, we’re told about their personalities and group dynamics.
  • Shauna and her friends weren't very memorable.
  • I would have liked to know more about Mary’s background. Three letters addressed from Mary to her sister just weren’t enough since they only painted a brief picture of her life.
  • I wasn't too pleased that by the time story ended, Jess’ motives for wanting to summon Mary remained unclear. I had thought that Mary: The Summoning was a standalone, but Goodreads confirms otherwise. Honestly, I'm extremely surprised that one book wasn't sufficient for the overall story arc.
Mary: The Summoning will be released tomorrow by Disney Hyperion. 

Comments About the Cover: It’s so creepy looking! 

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Disney Book Group) for free via NetGalley. 


  1. Hmm, I really don't think I'd particularly enjoy this, even though it sounds exactly like my kind of thing. But when I read horror, I like it to be really scary, or what's the point? And unmemorable characters certainly don't help matters.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  2. Oh man, I've been waiting for this one FOREVER, but I'm super put off by the fact that it's not that scary. That's... completely not what I was expecting. I might still read this just because it's fall and I like to read scary things around Halloween, but if I can find something legit scary (WHY is there such a lack of thriller YA books?!) I'd probably reach for that first.

  3. I can't read this one Z. I just can't. The Bloody Mary myth/legend/nightmare is one that has always scared the life out of me, and I know even if this version isn't overly scary I'll still have trouble with mirrors for weeks and months afterward ;-) Hopefully book two delves a little deeper into Jess's motives for summoning Mary in the first place, and is the type of sequel that improves up on the first book!

  4. Like Jenny, the Bloody Mary thing used to terrify the heck out of me. Despite that, I'm still really interested though, especially if it isn't horrifyingly scary :P I do like the sound of Mary having an actual background story too.

  5. OMG I used to play this "game" with my friends when we were young all the time. We'd always scare the bejeezus out of ourselves, haha! That said, I am disappointed that this wasn't more scary, contrary to you. I mean, this is exactly the kind of book that should be scary in my mind. I am also a bit dismayed to hear that this one isn't a standalone, and I haven't even read the ending like you have. This really seems like the perfect idea to create a standalone book.

  6. I can't do horror. And even though you claim that for those who don't do horror, I am not certain that I could even do this one. Even though I am SO SO intrigued. I like the idea of being scared, but actually being scared. Thanks for the review, I'm curious about this one.


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