Thursday, July 4, 2013

Review: Trail of Dead - Melissa F. Olson

Trail of Dead
Melissa F. Olson
Series: Scarlett Bernard, #2
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: Awesome
On Goodreads

After buying Dead Spots as a Kindle Daily Deal and absolutely loving it, I was anxiously awaiting Trail of Dead – with the ending of the first Scarlett Bernard book, it’s a miracle I made it until the release! I wasn't quite as drawn in with this book as I was with its predecessor, but, nonetheless, I was very happy after reading Trail of Dead – with action, mystery, sarcasm, and subtle romance, it did not disappoint!

Scarlett Bernard is a null – someone who can nullify all supernatural beings within her "radius". That means within a certain distance of Scarlett, all vampires and werewolves become human and no witch can cast a spell. I love the mythology of the Scarlett Bernard series largely in part because of nulls. The idea of nulls plays such a huge part in both Dead Spots and Trail of Dead, and Melissa F. Olson does a wonderful job explaining how it works and how nulls play into the larger picture of supernatural society.

*For the sake of keeping this spoiler free for both Dead Spots and Trail of Dead, I will be using “the villain” in place of a particular character’s name.

At the beginning of Trail of Dead, I was anxiously waiting to see what the villain had in store for us, and the mystery was set up almost right away. I loved the way the mystery of this book built because it gave me the sense of the way Scarlett and the other characters were trying to evaluate all the information and figure out what was going on. Another great aspect of this book was the psychology of the characters. Scarlett went through a lot in Dead Spots, and this was not forgotten in book two of the series – Scarlett is still recovering from some of the trauma during the events of book one while she delves into this mystery. It’s good to see that she doesn’t just get over everything – that she truly was affected by what happened to her.

But by far the most interesting psyche was that of the villain. The villain was just… psychotic, for lack of a better word. There were just layers upon layers of crazy in that character. The more I learned about the villain and the villain’s past, I was even more disturbed, freaked out, and happy the villain wasn’t after me. Melissa F. Olson did a wonderful job building the villain’s history and portraying how the villain’s mind worked.

Besides all the mystery stuff, we also got a lot more of the Scarlett Bernard world’s mythology on witches and a bit more on nulls – a lot of the plot was driven by the way witch magic works and how magic affects nulls. Besides that, we had a small taste in romance, but I wish there had been more interaction between Scarlett and Eli (although I see how that didn’t quite fit into the plot).

The ending of Trail of Dead, although much less inclined to make you want to tear your hair out waiting for the next book than Dead Spots, left me craving the next book and anxious to see what is in store for Scarlett. Overall, I highly recommend the Scarlett Bernard series to anyone looking for a paranormal mystery with a sarcastic female lead.

- Kiersten

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  1. I might have to check this series out. Great review!

    1. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Thank's for reading my review!