Monday 29 August 2011

Review: She Smells The Dead by E.J Stevens

This is a review of the first 3 books in the Spirit Guide series so far

Book 3- Legend Of Witchtrot Road

Book 1- She Smells The Dead
Book 2- Spirit Storm

Overall rating- 4 of 5 stars

Book 1- She Smells The Dead
These books are brilliant- such a wonderful mix of mystery and magic with really quirky and lovable characters. Think back to poor little Haley Joel Osment plagued by spirits of unnatural deaths that only he can see- clutching at his covers and whispering "I see dead people". Creepy right? Similarly, Yuki is a teenage girl haunted by spirits who need her assistance to solve or avenge their deaths. But this is a haunting with a difference. Instead of seeing and hearing the ghosts asking for her help, Yuki can only smell their unique lingering smell impressions. Waking up to the strong smell of vinegar one morning leads Yuki into investigating the strange death of a vinegar empire boss, and the possibility that he has been murdered by his family. Yuki is very accepting of her strange power, however, and takes it all in her stride, determined to help the spirits to move on.

But running parrallel to this unique mystery story is also the burgeoning romance between Yuki and her long-time best friend Calvin- who is starting to develop some new powers of his own. Calvin is developing into the werewolf leader of his pack, and needs Yuki's help to make him stronger. There is a lot of talk throughout all three books of spirits, and Calvin and Yuki's are joined. Calvin is a bit of a hippy and very protective of Yuki, and the relationship that develops between them is really sweet.  They make a great pair because they really support each other.

I especially loved the character of Yuki who is quirky and stubborn (in a good way), and who is clearly her own person no matter what. She has a fun sense of humour, and her own unique sense of fashion. Ignoring all their jibes that she is a witch, Yuki herself is scornful of the popular crowd at school, and especially the cheerleaders, who she nicknames "the bimbettes". Yuki has wonderful friends who are good and loyal to her. They know all about her strange her powers and always try to help her. Each of Yuki's friends has their own individual personality, but together they all work so well as a group. I love Yuki's other friend research-obsessed Emma who is really funny. With her obsession with eating vegan, and helping all animals, Emma is outraged by the murder victim's wife for for keeping bees in what she calls "Bee Oppression"! The other great addition is Simon- who is assigned to help Calvin tune into his werewolf powers, and flirts with Yuki and Emma any chance he gets. He acts very confident but he has a very sensitive side underneath all his posturing.

Funny, quirky, supernatural and romantic, this is a unique read that will get you loving these characters and their situations. A mystery story, a romance, a completely different supernatural twist, all rolled into one book. The cover for this is perfect and actually exactly how I imagined that Yuki would look. I defy you not to get swept up in this fun story, which is like a refreshing breath of fresh air in this genre.

Book 2- Spirit Storm is an exciting mixture of the threat of a werewolf murderer on the loose (which the gang need to track down before he can harm anyone else), and the approaching danger of Samhain- where the veil between the spirit world is at it's thinnest and therefore Yuki is most in danger of being completely overwhelmed. Her endurance is tested at the funeral of the murdered werewolf boy, where just being in a graveyard Yuki is bombarded with smell impressions, images, and the resulting migraine nearly drives her over the edge. Aware that Samhain will be ten times worse and Yuki would be lucky to survive with her mind intact the gang need to find some way to protect her mind from the approaching spirit storm. This protection takes the form of an old necklace guarded by witches, but as the friends devise a plan to steal it, Calvin is injured and all of Yuki's attention and energy focus back to him. There is a constant sense of the clock ticking down and the tension building throughout the book.

Book 3- The Legend Of Witchtrot Road follows Yuki and friends investigating the death of a football player, killed whilst driving down the supposedly haunted Witchtrot Road. His smell impression keeps leading them back to the school, but Yuki herself is in grave danger when the rest of the football team accuse Yuki of being a witch and of casting a fatal curse on the team. Yuki, Calvin, Simon and Emma need to find out exactly what is happening in the town (and preferably before the full moon). I love the sense of family and loyalty between these four friends, and how they always work together to help each other out. As vegan vet-in-training Emma and smarmy werewolf boy Simon are thrown together more and more often in various situations, there is a hint that their constant bickering is the beginning of the unlikely couple starting a budding relationship themselves.

Overall, I just love these characters and the style that the book is written in, with the constant interjection of Yuki's thoughts. This is such a fun story to read because Yuki has such a unique voice. These books are definitely addictive and always sweep me up, leaving me craving more!

Thankyou to the author E. J Stevens for sending me a review copy of these books to read.


Book 4- Brush With Death expected publication 2012


  1. This series looks great. I especially love the covers! New follower!!

    Tia @ Falling For Books

  2. this series sounds great! the first is on my wishlist! I will have to get round to it soon!


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