Genre: Paranormal, Thriller
Reading Challenges: 40 for 100+ in 2009

It has been a difficult past few months, and my reading time has certainly suffered. It's difficult for me to decide how to review my last few reads. I was literally plodding through the same three books for most of the last three months, which I found to be very frustrating. This frustration may have carried over to the books in question (North and South, Bleak History, and Mort), so feel free to take my reviews with a grain of salt.

All that being said, Bleak History is a pretty good read. It isn't, however, a book that had me procrastinating packing my boxes because of a desperate need to get to the ending. That might have been the result, however, of my obsession with decluttering, and not a statement on the quality of the novel itself.

Bleak History is the story of Gabriel Bleak, a former army ranger with supernatural powers. These powers allow Gabriel to do some pretty cool stuff, including conversing with and visualizing ghosts (inevitable "I see dead people" comparison), creating spontaneous fireballs to be hurled at those who threaten him, and creating an invisible bridge which allows him to walk on thin air. Gabriel, whose powers manifested themselves in his early teens, is one of a select group of individuals who have access to "the hidden," or the spiritual world that exists parallel to our world. It turns out that the government wants to tap into some of this power. There is a mysterious government agency, led by the unscrupulous General Forsythe, which will stop at nothing to harness this power. Gabriel isn't really interested in helping the government, especially under duress, and so finds himself trying to stay one step ahead of Forsythe and his stooges. Meanwhile, some of the more malevolent powers that lie within the hidden are working to gain access to our world, and if Gabriel and those like him can't figure out how to stop them things are going to be very bad for the rest of us.

I haven't read many books in the paranormal genre, but I did enjoy this one, even if there were a few small things that hindered my enjoyment. I found Bleak History a fast moving read, with pretty good characters. I especially liked Gabriel, but he is the hero, so I guess that was almost inevitable. There was even a hint of romance, although that aspect of the story wasn't really developed enough for me. I found myself wishing that the author would have spent more time on Gabriel's back story. I also felt that the conclusion was fairly abrupt. As I finished the last few pages, I almost expected the book to end with a "to be continued," but instead it was just sort of a tacked on ending. Hopefully this means that another book is in the work.

In short, if you enjoy paranormal fiction, this just might be the book for you. Give Twilight a break (you can always read it again later), and Bleak History a try.
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