**Warning: Spoilers May Abound**
Seventeen-year-old Miranda Wolford was born Deaf, though it took her years to realize it. She thought everyone could hear the cacophony of voices that surrounded her—but those voices belong to the dead, and they are the only things Miranda can hear.
When a ghost leads Miranda to a missing child and his murderer, she tries to enlist the police; but between the communication barrier and the insane story, she can’t make them understand.The murderer is on the loose. To stop them, Miranda will have to take matters into her own hands.(source:goodreads)
Narrative-Let me just say this first: I was absolutely blown away by the narrative voice in this novella. THE TIES ETERNAL is told from the first-person POV of Miranda Wolford, a Deaf teenager who also happens to hear and occasionally see ghosts.
Miranda's voice sounded very mature, very analytic, and very relatable, which enabled me to read without noticing the words; this is a really cool thing, because it's a sign at how very clean and easy-to-read the narrative is, telling the story while also helping the reader gain an understanding of Miranda and her personality.
Plot-THE TIES ETERNAL opens on Miranda summoning a vampire. Which means that as soon as I started, I knew this had to be good. And I need to continue to gush for a moment. This first chapter set up many things that the reader needs to know about the book: vampires mean there's a supernatural presence that at least the main character is aware of; we become aware of her handicap; we become aware of the fact that Miranda can see/hear ghosts (more supernatural). What I love is simply that this first chapter set up the novella perfectly in terms of giving us the major points about the main character as well as the genre; it's a great example to look at from a writerly perspective.
Moving on: this novella follows Miranda as she meets a ghost who's particularly intent on getting her attention. After a young boy goes missing, she comes to realize that this ghost can help her find out what happened to him (among other things). Then it's a race against the clock, to find the body, convince the police that the boy was murdered, and then (eventually) catch the murderer.
It was all very fast-paced (mysteries! I love mysteries), and while there was all this murder and mayhem happening, there was a phenomenal and well-written focus on family, and the fact that Miranda is a minority character whose father just got out of prison. It was a conflict I honestly didn't expect, and Spivey's portrayal of these characters living in a community where they're disrespected because of these facts was mind-blowing and as equally interesting as the vampires, ghosts, and serial killers popping up around town.
Characters-Ya'll might recall what I said about Spivey's characters in my review for A SINGLE THREAD, but let me quote myself: "I've come to...appreciate very quickly is how intense Spivey's characters are."
I can't restate it any better than that.
In the shorter novella form, there's not much room to introduce too many characters and give them the proper attention to make them feel full and rounded. Yet Spivey's characters feel totally real: the focus is on Miranda, a seventeen year old Deaf Latina girl who hears and sees ghosts, who kind of make her wary whenever she leaves the house, because what might she see? In addition to all the spectoral shenanigans that is her life, there's also a really great balance placed on focusing on her diverse origins. She has to deal with people sometimes talking too quickly - preventing her from being able to read their lips - or even when they purposely turn away from her while they talk, or even when there's simply so many people around that she can't follow the conversation. In addition, she has the problem of being discriminated against because of the color of her skin, and because of who her father is: many of the cops she talks to don't believe her about finding the missing boy's dead body in the woods.
It's this attention placed on the mundane in Miranda's life that adds a great surreal quality to the rest of the novel elements. Miranda's problems are very real, as well as supernatural, and most of all: they're woven together to create a solid environment to Miranda to both act in, and react, giving the reader a chance to connect to a very real and solid person.
And I'm stopping myself there because I'm getting very analytic. This is a good thing (to be honest, it means I'm studying the novel for its craft; it's amazing). I loved Miranda, and I want to be her best friend, and I think ya'll should just read this thing, too, because there's only so many different ways and contexts for me to say/use the word "phenomenal."
In her acknowledgements for this book, Cait Spivey wrote that she's "...very proud of this one...." My personal note: you should be, Spivey. You really should be.
I've simply been blown away by Cait Spivey since I began I SEE THE WEB. I've found her writing to be phenomenal, both from a reader's perspective and a writer's. Highly recommend to everybody, and I cannot wait to see what she's got in store for us in the future. She's made a fan out of me.
Final Answer: 4.66 / 5
The Goodreads giveaway for THE FIRST WEB, a paperback version of I SEE THE WEB and its sequel, A SINGLE THREAD, has unfortunately ended. However, you can still Buy Direct straight from Cait Spivey.
Meet the Author:
Cait Spivey is a speculative fiction writer and freelance editor. Fiction is a passion she doesn’t see giving up any time soon. In her spare time, she plans her next tattoo (there will always be a next tattoo) and watches too much Netflix. Anything left over is devoted to her tireless quest to make America read more. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her darling husband Matt and adorable dog Jay.
THE TIES ETERNAL @CaitSpivey: a fast-paced mystery with a diverse character you'll be rooting for (Click to Tweet)
Blogger @Rae_Slater reads THE TIES ETERNAL @CaitSpivey & calls it "phenomenal" in more ways than one. Read the review (Click to Tweet)
Special thanks to Cait Spivey, who provided me with an eARC of THE TIES ETERNAL in exchange for an honest review.