Author: Nicola Marsh
Nicola Marsh is a bestselling author with 40 books published to date with a range of publishers. Banish is her first Young Adult title but it certainly won’t be her last, she has a YA paranormal series due for release in the near future.
Banish is a supernatural thriller set in New York. I was not really expecting an American setting which I think is largely because Marsh is an Australian author. It took me quite a while to realise that Broadwater was not a town in Victoria that Alyssa ran to New York from. It turns out that Broadwater is a small town in New York state.
Alyssa Wood is a seventeen year old girl who has spent the last five years keeping things in order at home as her mother spiraled into alcoholism and what Alyssa believed were auditory hallucinations. She has grown up surrounded by Wicca but never believed. As a young child it intrigued her but as she grew and her mothers condition worsened Alyssa was turned off Wicca completely, believing it to be the root of her mothers issues.
Life in small town Broadwater becomes way too painful for Alyssa after the suicide of her ex-boyfriend sees her become a pariah in the eyes of the townspeople, so she flees to New York City to live with her aunt, a Wicca High Priestess. Things seem to be working out well for Alyssa, she’s settled in well at her new school and her grades are improving. She makes friend with another new kid at school and scores a hot musician boyfriend. Everything is working out beautifully until Alyssa is the only one who can see a dead body in a music clip she is sent.
The clip is only the beginning of strange happenings that begin to occur centred on Alyssa, and all of them are dark and supernatural, causing her to become suspicious of those around her and not know who she can trust. Everyone casts aspersions on everyone else as Alyssa gets more freaked out and isolated. The culmination of that did hold some unexpected twists but the bad guy was pretty easy to pick.
The torments sent to plague Alyssa are all supernatural which is her biggest issue. She is resolutely stubborn in her refusal to believe in anything of a supernatural nature, even when it is forever thrust before her. Those she loves the most are trying to protect her but they try to do it using the same beliefs she so adamantly refutes.
At times the story got quite repetitive with Alyssa forever repeating how her aunt had always tried to bring her into the Wiccan religion and how her mother tried to keep it all away from her after she turned twelve.
I soon realised there was more to the suicide than met the eye, but I was very surprised to find out what the more was – it was definitely not what I was expecting.
All in all I found Banish to be an enjoyable read, it kept me interested and I wanted to know how all the pieces came together but it didn’t engross me to the point that I wanted to hide in a corner and not come up for air until I was finished.
The first foray into Young Adult for Marsh shows definite promise and I look forward to reading more of her work.