Book Review and New Release: Wish Upon a Star by Michelle McLean

 

Title: Wish Upon a Star
Author: Michelle McLean
Genre: paranormal/sci fi romance
Published: 2013
Pages: 120
Format read: ebook
Rating: C

I don’t read a lot of zombie-related fiction; for the most part I leave that to Mini Moe #1; but Warm Bodies is sitting in my TBR pile–I’ve heard good things. Something about this one spoke to me, though, so I decided to request it. It’s a novella and Halloween is coming, so I thought, why not?

Ceri McKinley has brought her young daughter Skye to Pleasure Island, one of Las Vegas’s hottest locations. She’s already feeling nervous, because her ex, Russell Saxton, owner of both Pleasure Island and research facility Saxton Technologies, has been showing more interest in Skye lately and she’s worried about what that might mean. Russell’s a powerful man, and in Ceri’s own words has “mad-scientist-criminal mastermind tendencies and total moral and ethical ineptitude.” Before meeting up with her ex, however, Ceri encounters someone she wants to see even less–Jason Crickett, the man who had left her at the altar eight years earlier.

Jason’s come to see Russell too–to convince him to release Jason’s dead brother’s body to his family so they can give him a decent burial. He enlists Ceri’s reluctant help, and the two are soon thrown into a series of events that quickly spirals out of control. Their love should have died years ago–but can Jason and Ceri survive the next two hours?

The action scenes in this novella read like a crazy rollercoaster ride. Human cyborgs, zombies, bitter exes with armed lackeys–this story has them all, complete with the threat of total destruction via military bombing–and the clock is ticking! To say it keeps you on the edge of your seat is an understatement.

I like couples-with-a-history stories, and given the space limitations in a novella, couples with a prior relationship often feature prominently in them. Bring on the angst and drama! This story definitely delivers on it, though a bit too much of it is revealed through Ceri’s internal dialogue, which definitely leans toward the melodramatic. Between it and the long stretches of bordering-on-soliloquy internal and external dialogue, readers are left with a bit of a “feast or famine” feeling. Over-the-top action! Long internal monologue. More action! Scene where Ceri reveals every single detail of her past eight years to Jason in a few short pages. More balance was definitely needed.

For all that was going on here–or maybe because of it–parts of the resolution feel rushed. Larger-than-life antagonists are quickly dispatched. (I kept waiting for one of them in particular to show up later on, surviving against all odds much like the Twinkies in the Chevy Silverado Superbowl commercial. It didn’t happen.) Seemingly insurmountable relationship hurdles suddenly smooth out. Ceri and Jason go from haven’t-spoken-in-years to HEA in less than twenty-four hours; even during a possible zombie apocalypse, it’s a bit much.

In a nutshell: an entertaining read, but too uneven to be altogether satisfying. C.

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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