Spirit and Dust: Rosemary Clement-Moore

So, a couple of years ago I went to a book signing by Texas Gothic which was by one of my favorite authors, Rosemary Clement-Moore.  During the signing Rosemary talked about the book she was working on which was supposed to have an Indiana Jones meets Leverage vibe and I was like I have to have that book.  And, well, now I do.  So, I guess I have to review it.

Book singings, a place where you can actually wear a dress with rabbits on it and get away with it.

General Summary: Daisy Goodnight can see dead people and she works for the FBI.  That’s like combining two of the best Meg Cabot characters ever and putting them into one person who’s even more awesome than they are.  Yeah, that’s Daisy.  And she just happens to be on a case and gets kidnapped.  By mobster and she has to find his daughter or she’s toast.  And did I mention she has a great aunt that’s like Lara Croft but without the short shorts?

Review:

There are several things I want in YA books.  This book has it all.  Let me list them shall I 1) kick ass heroine, 2) hot FBI agent that I imagine looking like a younger David Duchovny, 3) mysteries, 4) magic, 5) mobsters, 6) really hot mob henchman that doesn’t look like Steve Burton (thank God), 7) archeology, 8) museums, 9) dinosaurs, and 10) kick ass descendants who were like pioneers in their field and make you go Indiana Jones who….

Yeah, all of this is in this book.

You can nerd out now.

And it could’ve been ridiculous it really could, but somehow it all worked.  I honestly don’t know how Rosemary does it.  But it did work.

As usual, the characters were well formed.  From all the books that I have read of hers, this is probably Rosemary’s biggest strength.  Every book I’ve read by her has a distinctly different protagonist.  And this one is no exception.  And their all well formed characters.  True I like some Clement-Moore heroines better than others, and luckily for Daisy she’s on the higher end of the totem pole.  And so is Carson.

I like Carson because he’s multilayered.  He’s not a good guy and he’s not totally bad.  Yeah, I know in an action adventure story that’s the sort of love interest you want.  And it is, obviously, but in YA you don’t often see this type of character?  Sure we have “bad boys” but usually these are undiagnosed psychopaths.  There’s actually story to why Carson is the way he is and there’s so many twists and turns to it.

The one complaint I will make about characters is Taylor.  I really liked this guy even though he was barely in the story-well, in comparison to Daisy and Carson.  I guess that’s a good thing because love triangles really annoy me.  But I liked Taylor a lot.  And I hope he will be in another Goodnight book because he was pretty cool.  Though I will admit the FBI’s role in all of this was a bit of a stretch.

The plot as I said before surprisingly worked though it did drag a little in the beginning. Once it did start moving though it didn’t stop.  I can see this being where some people might get annoyed with the book.  It does get a little over the top again.  I mean come on, dinosaurs coming back to life that’s only in Jeff Goldblum movies and Night at the Museum too-sort of.  But it really worked nicely.  And I have to say, I’m glad to see Ancient Egypt finally be featured in a YA book where it actually works.  The research done on the archeology concepts was interesting.

Best Feature: Nerdom. If your a Harry Potter geek, Indiana Jones/Star Wars fan, comic fan, really anything where they have a convention where you can get dressed up and celebrate your geekdom this is the book for you.  Usually, pop culture references annoy me, but they are used effortlessly here.  Besides, who doesn’t like the occasion Harry Potter reference.  And it involves archeology and Egyptology that has my little fan girl mind going woohoo.  Honestly, the book almost has an Indiana Jones meets  Mickey Blue Eyes meets The Mediator meets 1-800-Where R U meets  Charmed feel and while that sounds so wrong it really works well.

Obviously, I loved this part of the story.  I mean, when I found out there was a comic convention going on at my law school graduation I was like awesome and had to get some cosplay in my photos.  Oddly enough, I think I’m probably dressed the most strange.  I blame the tam.

Worst Feature: Pacing.  The book starts off very slow, but it does pick up.  I often find that this is the biggest complaint I have with Clement-Moore books.   This did not fall to the pacing issues that The Splendor Falls had, but I did struggle occasionally with this book. But once I got into it…

Appropriateness: There’s some violence.  It involves the mob (obviously).  And some scary stuff you’d see out of The Mummy or something.  There’s also some hot kissing scenes too, though they never seem to go further than kissing.  Unfortunately.  As for language I don’t remember any f bombs or anything like that it was for the most part pretty PG-13.

Blockbuster Worthy: Sure, I’d love to see this one as a movie.  Here’s who I’d cast:

Daisy: Emma Stone.  Yeah, I know I casted her for Amy.  But I need a redhead with personality.  I mean, who else am I going to choose Lindsay Lohan?  Please.  Well, Amanda Bynes is wearing wigs these days…okay, now you have to know I’m joking.  I seriously think though that Daisy would be the perfect role for Emma to sink her teeth into

Carson: Andrew Garfield.  Okay, I’m cheating here.  But have you seen the new Spiderman?  And despite what my friend Henry thinks, Andrew has Tobey beat hands down.  It might help that Andrew’s version of Peter Parker isn’t going emo all after Kristen Dunst and doing some weird dance number that really belongs in High School Musical Part 5000.

Overall Rating: I’m giving this one a nine out ten.  I really enjoyed it.  It probably won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it had things in it that I really loved.  I hope we get another Goodnight book soon because they kick ass.  Thank you Rosemary for making my first day of BARBRI slightly bearable.

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