McAtee’s debut YA novel propels readers into a world of monsters, conspiracies, and tangled relationships.
Seventeen-year-old Ember has never fit in. It doesn’t help that her mother died when she was little and that her father is an alcoholic who seems to hate her guts. Her father’s sudden death leaves her alone and facing a future in the foster-care system. At his funeral, Ember spies a mysterious stranger who seems to be following her. When she returns to the cemetery later that night, he reappears and threatens to kill her—until Tristin and Kai, Ember’s long-lost cousins, sneak up and bash him on the head with a shovel. Ember’s life takes a definite turn when her cousins tell her that they’re “reapers” with powers related to death and dying. It turns out that they live with a pack of werewolves in a town of mostly supernatural inhabitants, ruled by witches and druids. Her life gets even stranger when she realizes she too has powers—she can raise the dead as zombies. With the help of her cousins, their werewolf friends, and Mace, the creature who nearly killed her, Ember sets about unraveling the mysteries surrounding her mother’s death. McAtee’s tale is a cut above most attempts in the popular supernatural YA genre. Her characters are considerably more complex than the norm, which makes them far more believable, despite their superpowers. She also treats love scenes with a light hand, preferring to bring down the curtain when things get really heated and allow readers to use their imaginations. Although the book’s ending seems a bit rushed, it does provide a satisfactory conclusion to the many plot threads that McAtee introduces throughout the tale.
An excellent choice for fans of supernatural tales, featuring a tough but lovable heroine.
Reviewed by Renee Taylor for Readers' Favorite
Martina McAtee wrote an unconventional paranormal romance in Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things: Dead Things Series Book 1 that readers will love. It is told in multiple POVs because there is a slew of interesting and engaging characters. First is Ember, a young girl who is swept into a new, paranormal life when her father dies. Ember’s new family is happy to take her in and teach her about the incredible powers that she has. With her new family, Ember meets a host of different paranormal characters. There are shape shifters, male and female witches, and reapers. There’s a love interest, of course, and he may be the only reason that Ember is still alive (her incredible “gift” is trying to kill them all)! Talk about stakes and action! For Ember to survive, she has to trust her new family and friends, and come up with a way to control the power within her so it doesn’t kill them all.
First of all, I absolutely love the title of this piece, Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things! And the cover is beautiful, too. Martina McAtee did a great job on the visual aspects of this story, which just helps to draw a reader in from the very beginning! McAtee tossed out all of the traditional rules of the paranormal romance genre, making this story fresh and unique. While it may be refreshingly different, fans of paranormal romance won’t be disappointed! This is a fun, entertaining story with remarkable and memorable characters that you will root for, fall in love with, and cry over. Even the ones you are supposed to hate you will love because Martina McAtee is that good!
Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things: Dead Things Series Book 1 by Martina McAtee is a magical read that revolves around Ember Denning. Have you known any seventeen-year-old who prefers to be alone, and spends her time at cemeteries and the funeral home where she is working? Ember Denning does just that, and while she is in the cemetery she meets two people who tell her they are her cousins and that she, like them, has a special gift. They take her to Florida, saying her life is danger, and there she finds her special power is trying to kill her cousins, a human, a fairy, and a werewolf pack. Will Ember be able to handle her magical power without harming her cousins? And then there is also this beautiful boy she sees in the cemetery who plays an important role in her life.
For all those readers who love mystery, witches, fairies, werewolves, and paranormal activities, this book will keep them glued till the very end. The plot is built up nicely, making the readers curious to learn what is going to happen next. The suspense, the friendship, the loyalty, and the romance that have been effortlessly woven together make the story fast paced and exciting. Ember Denning's character is strong and well-portrayed and has many shades to it, and the characters of Tristin, Kai, and Mace are also memorable. The story has all the paranormal creatures you can think of that give it an eerie and creepy feel, and the diverse characters make the plot adventurous and at the same time enchanting. Definitely a must-read for all readers who like paranormal activities. Great cover design.