One Hundred Candles (Past Midnight #2) by Mara Purnhagen
February 15, 2011
Paperback, 218 Pages
Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “The watcher wanted to punish me, and he had. Now it was my turn.”
Charlotte Silver has waited a long time to feel like a “normal” kid. After spending most of her life traveling with her family in their paranormal investigations, they have finally settled down in South Carolina and Charlotte has friends and a normal high schooler’s life. When a popular football player asks Charlotte out, she’s sure life can’t get much better or normal. But when Harris takes Charlotte to a party where an innocent game of One Hundred Candles is played, Charlotte can’t help but feel they are all messing with something better left alone.
When strange things begin to happen at her school, Charlotte realizes that the game opened a door between the mortal and spirit realm. Now Charlotte is battling for her and her family’s lives as someone or something begins hunting her -determined to make her pay for going where no mortal is allowed.
One Hundred Candles is the engaging second book in Mara Purnhagen’s Past Midnight series. Told in the first person, we continue to follow Charlotte Silver as she maneuvers her way through friends, family, and relationships in this supernatural thriller. A smooth even pacing and engaging dialogue allows for fast reading. The writing is clear and concise; you can hear and relate to Charlotte well. Thankfully no overblown emo prose or life shattering angst that seems to be coating the YA genre lately. Even though this can be read as a stand alone, I recommend reading the first in this series, Past Midnight, to garner insight into the over all arc and references you will see in this one.
I found Charlotte to be a wonderful heroine. Ms. Purnhagen has created an enjoyable pragmatic character that is steeped in realism. Charlotte has normal teenage insecurities; prom, boys, her parents. I found her exceedingly level headed and brave as she investigates the supposed supernatural activity around her school and at home. She admits her fears yet faces her adversaries one on one.
The secondary characters are well developed and excel in the way they revolve around and further define Charlotte. As each character is added into the mix, you begin to see the bonds that ties them all together. Each one a necessary strand that elevates and helps continue the story along. I like how Ms. Purnhagan plays her cards close to her vest, choosing to have us feel and experience things right along with Charlotte.
I didn’t find the plot particularly frightening; we see more of Charlotte’s everyday life then supernatural activity. I found the over all premise to be very interesting with it’s urban legend persona and the easy, casual way that it is presented and drawn out. Nothing is reality-challenged. You can relate to the story in a way that has you thinking, “this could have very well happened to someone- somewhere.”
The ending is solid and it effectively resolves the main conflict,. We are left with some open questions and a serious cliffhanger to usher in the third book in this series, Beyond The Grave, which releases September 2011.