Review: Surrender

Surrender by Lee Nichols
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This series, of which this book is the last, is charming, warm, sweet and funny. Spoilers ahead if you haven’t read the others!! This last book starts out with Bennett, her one-time “guardian” and boyfriend hooked on Asarum, an herb that boosts ghostkeeper’s abilities. Two ghostkeepers can’t be together, as one, the stronger, will drain the other’s powers. Emma mother’s gave up her powers for her father, and Bennett’s dad for his mom. But Bennett believes he needs to be at his most powerful to help fight the evil ghost Neos, so as he and Emma can’t stand to be separated, he is taking this drug, which is turning him into an addict. In the very beginning, Bennett’s parents arrive home to find them making out in his bedroom, and Bennett an addict. They are not happy, and do not seem fond of Emma. They banish him back to New York, to the headquarters of the Knell,the ghost keeping society, which is decimated after their last battle with Neos. So the Sterns move back into their house, and Simon, their previous guardian in Betrayal goes back to run the Knell with Bennett’s help. Lukas stays behind, and she and Natalie, another ghostkeeper whose parents repudiated her, all become nominal wards of the Sterns and return to classes at Thatcher Academy. But they know more than before, and have the help of more earthly and non-earthly beings in their fight against Neos. She brings her “normal” friends into the picture, and they all work on this. By now, her friends have forgiven her for the part she played in their friend Coby’s death in Book One, and their subsequent shunning of her for part of book two, and it’s all for one, and one for all. Retaining the charm, and quirkiness of the other two books, together all three books make a satisfying concoction, a truffle if you will, made by Anatole, their French chef. Lots of little details help build the characters, and Nichols has a strong hand with that – every person is not cookie cutter, and has problems and baggage of their own. And she understands that some of us want our minor characters to have as well-drawn a character as the main ones. And that is a big plus for me. These are comfort food. My big complaint is that knowing what is on the line – basically the forces of darkness from the Beyond against the normal world, and still Emma can’t keep her hands of Bennett, and he off of her, and so he takes the Asarum, and starts doing things he shouldn’t. Even knowing all that, she still makes moves on him, and can’t keep her hands off him. Makes for a strong love story, but things like that always bother me. I’m like to think I’m the kind of person who would put aside my feelings for the betterment of mankind should it be needed, and the only exception would be my kids who I would die to protect. But I wouldn’t make things worse for them or us by continuing behavior that isn’t necessary right now. Wait a while until the crisis is resolved. Then decide if you want to proceed with losing powers on one side. But wait a few months? Teen hormones at work.

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