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Bloody Mary, Book 2: Mary: Unleashed

Review

Bloody Mary, Book 2: Mary: Unleashed

MARY: Unleashed is the second installment in the Bloody Mary series by Hillary Monahan. It’s a twist on the traditional epistolary novel, giving readers the present through first person and looking at the past through letters. MARY: Unleashed is set in the time it was written, 2015, and is a take on the urban legend of Bloody Mary. This is the first book I’ve read by Hillary Monahan, and I didn’t read MARY: The Summoning, the first in the Bloody Mary series, so I can’t compare it to others in the series or her other writings. I can say, however, even without reading the first I was still able to understand the plot from the previous book; she connects them very well.

We open with a letter from Mary to her sister, dated June 24, 1864, giving us a slight insight into Mary’s life before we start. In the very beginning, we get a brief summary of what happened in MARY: The Summoning. In that novel, Anna, Jess, Kitty and Shauna were all friends throughout most of high school. Suddenly, Jess becomes interested in Mary Worth, also known as Bloody Mary. She convinces the others to participate in a summoning and things go horribly wrong. Anna dies and Shauna becomes haunted. Jess then tries to get Mary tied to Kitty instead of Shauna, by doing another summoning, but once Shauna realises what is happening Mary ends up tethered to Jess.

"Monahan really pulls you in and makes it so that you don’t really want to put the book down. The writing is superb and I felt as though I was experiencing everything first-hand instead of reading a book. "

MARY: Unleashed picks up at the end of junior year. After barely surviving, Kitty and Shauna decide that they are going to go to Solomon’s Folly, the town where Mary lived hundreds of years ago, to investigate more and put an end to Bloody Mary once and for all. They stay with their friend Cody, who was also haunted by Mary, and end up learning a lot from Jess’s aunt Dell. After some time investigating Jess shows up with bad news: Mary’s out of the mirror. But since Mary is tethered to her, Mary followed her to the Folly. Do they survive? Do they get rid of Mary? That’s up to you to find out.

I don’t read many ghost stories, or horror novels, but I thought MARY: Unleashed was interesting nonetheless. Monahan really pulls everyone in and makes it so that you don’t really want to put the book down. The writing is superb and I feel as though I am experiencing everything first-hand instead of reading a book. There were some moments in the book I personally didn’t enjoy mostly because of gory, bloody details. I especially enjoyed the letters scattered throughout the book. I think that they helped move the story along instead of just having the characters read the letters, that also allows the reader to have easier access when going back looking for a letter.

I enjoyed how MARY: Unleashed was presented. Epistolary novels are some of my favorite to read, and this is yet again a different take on that style of writing. We aren’t getting diary entries, or interviews. It is completely different. The letters all fit in with the point in the story where we are presented them, instead of the letters having one plot line and the present day having a different one. They connect, which helps the reader have less to keep track off and get answers to questions that the main characters don’t answer outright.

I’d recommend MARY: Unleashed to those who aren’t feint of heart. I found a few scenes pretty gruesome. If that isn’t really your thing, I’d say this book isn’t one for you. Once I picked up this book, I didn’t want to put it down. I read it everywhere I went and whenever I had the chance. It was a pretty quick read. Overall, MARY: Unleashed was a good book, there were a few things that deterred me from it slightly, but I still found it interesting.

Reviewed by Emma B., Teen Board Member on September 19, 2016

Bloody Mary, Book 2: Mary: Unleashed
(Bloody Mary #2)
by Hillary Monahan

  • Publication Date: September 6, 2016
  • Genres: Horror, Paranormal, Young Adult 12+
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • ISBN-10: 142318694X
  • ISBN-13: 9781423186946