The Haunting Season By Michelle Muto
Siler House has stood silent beneath Savannah’s moss-draped oaks for decades. Notoriously haunted, it has remained empty until college-bound Jess Perry and three of her peers gather to take part in a month-long study on the paranormal. Able to talk to ghosts, Jess quickly bonds with her fellow test subjects, who have their own “gifts.” One is possessed. Another just wants to forget. The third is a guy who knows how to turn up the August heat, not to mention Jess’s heart rate…when he’s not resurrecting the dead.
The study soon turns into something far more sinister when they discover that Siler House and the dark forces within are determined to keep them forever. To escape, Jess and the others must open themselves up to the true horror of Siler House and channel the very evil that seeks to hold them in.
I need to start off this post by saying that I didn’t realize there was so many “haunted house” stories out there waiting to be read. If you’re curious about/enjoy this type of story then The Haunting Season by Michelle Muto is definitely one that I recommend. The book is told through four point-of-views and starts off with Jess, who comes to Siler house looking to reconnect with some of her relatives that have passed away. She enters into the study with optimism and an open mind, easily brushing off the concerns of the other participants.
The first forty percent is pretty tame in the scare factor, with more mystery and suspense than anything else. The beginning was crafted like an in-depth look at each of the characters, their histories and their growing connections to one another. The book slowly draws you in, leaves you purposefully in the dark and compels you to continue reading. Not everyone may be able to get through that first bit but if you do there are some interesting things starting to unfold.
After that forty percent, Ms. Muto increases the scare factor and quickly ups the stakes for each character as well. You go from being curious to uneasy…Also, you may acquire a new phobia of mirrors.
As the book description suggests there is some romance in the plot. I would’ve been okay it if had been left out, but I think that’s just my personal preference. The Haunting Season really shined in the way that Michelle built the characters. Each one contrasts sharply with the others. They each possess a unique backstory and all of them are people that you want to learn more about. I liked the fact that the “gifts” the main characters were given seemed well thought out and reflected each personality. Even the minor characters were fascinating.
I’m not sure exactly what I needed as a reader that this book lacked. Throughout the progression of the story there’s a sense that nothing is what it seems. There’s more than a few questions raised in the beginning and when the answers were finally revealed…I guess it lacked the punch I had been expecting. However, I will say that there are two major plot twists that completely floored me, so I guess it evened things out a bit.
Overall, The Haunting Season is a great book with some really hair-raising scenes. If you want something that will leave you jumping at things out of the corner of your eye, this is it.