Early Review: Shutter by Courtney Alameda

December 13, 2014 5 stars, Book Review 35 ★★★★★

Early Review: Shutter by Courtney AlamedaShutter by Courtney Alameda
Published by Feiwel & Friends on February 3, 2015
Genres: Horror, Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.

Horror has a new name: introducing Courtney Alameda.

Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She's aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera's technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.

When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn't exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she's faced before . . . or die trying.

Lock, stock, and lens, she’s in for one hell of a week.


Yes, I am one picky bitch when it comes to my 5 star ratings. Shutter was all sorts of epic and rightly deserves all the glorious stars I have to give.

I don’t think that I can fully express my appreciation for Shutter. In fact, I know that I can’t. I will just tell you that this reading experience has been absolutely amazing in every way for me.

Have we seen these characters before? Yes.
Does it have all the original elements of Horror? Yes.
Is it still an amazing story? Heck YES.

Micheline is a character that I could connect to because she was a real person to me. She is strong, she isn’t perfect, and ultimately the main factor for me is that she was believeable. I understood her decisions, I went through her battles, and I felt her pain. Ryder, Jude, and Oliver may have been secondary, but their characterization was spot on.

Ryder (the obvious love interest): The romance was something that I couldn’t get enough of. It was subtle, but then will a slow buildup toward the middle, it has a freaking hot scene (especially for YA) and it’s wonderful entirely. He respected her. He protected her. And he’s Australian!!

I’m just going to go through the loves, because my mind is all over the place right now (that happens every time I read an amazing book):

-Love the fact that it’s believable by using the same elements that I’ve seen in horror: mirrors (anti-mirrors), ghosts, electromagnetic fields, camera obscura, energy absorption, and the Reaper’s special ability to see different auras (ghosts) due to a different spectre of color in their eyes. Just beautiful attention to detail.

-Love the description with the character relationships and the families (Helsing and Stoker)–were such a fantastic tributes to Dracula without stealing the ideas, but rather transforming them into something more. Something different. Something UNIQUE.

-Love that the physical aspects of the characters are embedded into the story, rather than having a paragraph describe each character in a row to make a clunky mess. This story wasn’t messy at all–well in the writing–definitely messy with the creepy gore.

-Love the writing. There is SO MUCH SHOWING rather than telling and I appreciate the hell out of that. There were some parts that made me clutch my kindle harder, some parts that made me get goosebumps, and some parts that made my heart beat fast. THAT STUFF DOESN’T HAPPEN UNLESS IT’S GOOD. I tried to pick quotes without spoiling but here’s a little taste if you haven’t read my status updates:

”I gagged on it, thoughts smearing while something cold and caustic sank through my chest and into my gut” and ”The hall clock’s second hand clicks like a revolver’s hammer–tick, tock, bam. Even time wanted me dead”

Yeah, I had maybe an irk or two, but am I gonna tell you what they are? No, I’m not.
You know why? Because they were so minuscule that I DIDN’T CARE.

Shutter was amazeballs. End of story. So add it if you’re a fan of ghosts, horror, dracula, and paranormal shit.

35 Responses to “Early Review: Shutter by Courtney Alameda”

    • Kat

      I do that all the time!! ENJOY ENJOY! For a YA, I found it more than bearable and utterly amazing!

    • Kat

      At first, I didn’t like it because I thought it would be to tropey. It’s not though. I wasn’t kidding about the transformation and all the ideas are not stolen (they’re all new) and I applaud originality.

  1. kim { Book Swoon }

    What … What … Van Helsing & Stocker, Swoony romance with build-up, gadgets and cool stuff, fighting! Where have I been with this awesome sounding book? This has me all over it, and I so glad I caught your review. Maybe it’s the cover that I didn’t look past. I’m very tempted to hit the one click button on this – making sure this is on my tbr for Feb 2015! Thanks for great review, Kat 🙂
    kim { Book Swoon } recently posted…Young Adult Book Review: Suspicion by Alexandra MonirMy Profile

    • Kat

      No problem! I’m so glad that people are actually adding. The cover is a make or break moment if you don’t happen to love horror like I do, but I think that any fan of the paranormal would like this one too. Especially with all the bad YA nowadays 🙂 ENJOY!

  2. Valerie

    THIS LOOKS SO CREEPY BUT SO GOOD. I’m scared of horror stories, I have to admit. And THAT COVER is just so creepy that I can’t even look at it straight on without getting the heebie jeebies. Maybe I’ll get an ebook of it? hahah. Awesome review Ana!
    Valerie recently posted…Stacking the Shelves #15My Profile

    • Kat

      Yes, creepy indeed! That’s why I love it and there are some bits that really jump at you >:D

  3. Richelle Nicole

    What!! I have to read this! Wait, will I have nightmares? I have plenty of my own demons running around in my sleepy time subconscious, sometimes a girl gets tired of being chased by monsters and just wants to get some sleep!

    I shall have to pick it up and read it during early daytime hours in the hopes of avoiding REM intruding boogie monsters
    Richelle Nicole recently posted…Puppy Love-PortraitsMy Profile

    • Kat

      Nightmares?! LOL. I don’t know, maybe? Just read in the daylight to be sure. I’m a huge lover of horror so it’s very hard for a book to scare me when most movies can’t. But yes! This one did give me goosebumps on occasion and there is creepiness!

    • Kat

      I think it’s hard to find because there’s a line between being too perfect and being too self-conscious. This finds that right balance. Usually I’m annoyed when a character is flawless or when they doubt themselves too much. And this is just enough horror to please me, but I can wait to see other people’s reactions 🙂 so enjoy!

  4. Miranda

    This sounds like exactly what I have been missing lately. Thanks for the introduction.

  5. Liz S.

    What a great review, thank you! Full disclosure: I’m Courtney’s editor here at Macmillan, and I usually don’t read much horror either — till now. I had many heart-racing moments while working on SHUTTER (in a good way!) and your review perfectly captures how fresh and engrossing the book is.

  1. SHUTTER Release Day | YA Asylum

    […] you can find my review here, another review over there, an interview with Alameda over here, an excellent article by Alameda on characters and scares, […]