Jordan Amador is a woman on a mission to save her soul from eternal hellfire and damnation. She’s also a waitress who drinks too much, and a Seer–someone who sees ghosts and the ghosts see her. Two years ago, Jordan killed someone and landed, not in prison, but indebted to God. After committing her crime, Jordan was given two years to help a hundred souls (ghosts) make peace with whatever or whoever was keeping them in this world and to help them cross over into the afterlife.
Her two years is nearly up, and she’s down to her last soul, a mysterious, handsome ghost named Michael who doesn’t remember anything about who he was, and it’s up to Jordan to help him find the answers he needs to cross over and, of course, to end her sentence and to save her own ass. But will she run out of time before that happens? Of course, Michael isn’t just any ordinary ghost. He’s got demons in hot pursuit, and a particularly gnarly one, Belial, ends up having the hots for Jordan, who he wants to ultimately enslave.
I did a little research on the author, Kyoko M., and read that she was a huge fan of Christian mythology, and this book certainly is loaded with that, but without being preachy or overly religious. I’ve got nothing against religion, but she did a great job of inserting elements of it, without weighing down the story with it.
Her writing is excellent. I especially loved the banter between Jordan and just about everybody, but especially with Michael. It flowed and felt natural with just the right amount of sarcasm, humor, and there were even some tender and sincere moments between Michael and Jordan that probably even caught them off guard.
The story surprised me by how it was told. The author wrote it in an episodic format that caught me off guard at first and I thought maybe I’d stumbled upon a series of short stories instead of a full novel. It’s hard to explain, but it’s sort of broken up into like a television series, with each of the three stories seamlessly melding into the next. It worked!
Jordan was a firecracker and I loved her. She had it tough growing up and having that murder wrap hanging over her head for two years, certainly didn’t help. Jordan’s courage was exemplary, as was her smart-ass mouth. My heart broke for her, but if she knew that, she’d probably punch me because she’s not the kind of girl who wants to be pitied. She held her own in a world that was hell-bent (pun intended) on destroying her, and she was definitely the star of this show.
What didn’t work for me was that the first “episode”, if you will, reminded me a whole lot of the movie Constantine, starring Keanu Reeves. I wasn’t completely turned off by it, because I loved that movie, so I was interested to see her take on the established premise – remove handsome white guy, insert cute black girl, and change some of the particulars. It wasn’t terrible, just a little too familiar.
I also had an issue with Jordan’s tag team partners who should’ve been a whole lot more powerful and capable than they were. She wasn’t in this battle against the demons alone, and every now and then one of her compadres would come to her rescue, but still, I felt that they could’ve been a lot more invincible (not sure that’s what the word I want to use, but it’s the only one to come to mind at the moment, so I’ll leave it).
They sometimes seemed too vulnerable considering the abilities they were supposed to have. And expected for their personalities to be stronger, like, arrogant or smug. But then again, maybe that’s just me trying to tie this story in with Constantine. I kept thinking, “You’re super beings! Act like it!”. They were a little too tame for my liking, too polite and cordial, but it made her seem like even more of a badass.
The Black Parade is the first in a collection of books that include She Who Fights Monsters, The Holy Dark, and Back to Black and is definitely worth checking out. Other than the resemblance of the first episode to Constantine, I found all of the stories entertaining, offering action, suspense, horror, and a very lovely and heartfelt romance that wasn’t corny.
J.D. Mason has been writing professionally for 16 years with more than 20 novels published. She’s also the author of a dark fantasy series titled, Inherit the Crown and Crown of Doom and Light written under her pseudonym Jayde Brooks. She’s currently working on turning that novel series into a graphic novel series and is working on her next speculative fiction novel.