Compulsion: A Book Review - Reading List

Compulsion: A Book Review

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


Martina Boone

The storylines that authors come up with in fiction never ceases to amaze me.  Even the stories that sound like copies of popular stories are full of surprises each time they are recreated.  Then, once in a while, a story comes out that seems completely new on a level that makes the entire story fresh and exciting.  The key is discovering these diamonds in the rough.

I have taken to allowing Goodreads to give me recommendations off of books that I really enjoyed.  It's a scary step for me because the lists usually consist of books I have never heard of. In fact, the recommendations often include books that no one in my circle of Goodreads friends has commented on - and let me just say my Goodreads friends are a very eclectic group.  Probably once a month I'll check out the recommendations and randomly pick one to check out at my local library.

That is exactly what I did with this particular book- Compulsion by Martina Boone.  When my husband picked it up to read the summary on the jacket the first words from his lips were, "This sounds like a different book for you."  Yep - this book, the entire series actually, is vastly different not because of the type of characters, or even the framework of the book - this book takes a step into a side of history that is full of folklore, magic and mystery...

Compulsion by Martina Boone  a Book Review on Reading List

Story Overview 

Compulsion (Heirs of Watson Island)** is the first book in Martina Boone's trilogy. Barrie Watson is returning to her family's plantation in South Carolina now that her mother has passed away and the man who has always taken care of her is dying also.  She is moving in with her aunt Pru and quickly realizes her family has some amazing history and even more unbelievable secrets.

The Watson plantation is on an island along with three other plantations: The Beauforts and the Colesworth.  The curious part is why the families are still there, each connected to their home for generations, each with their own secrets that intertwine...

Eight Beaufort quickly becomes friends with Barrie as she starts to unravel the secrets of Watson's Landing. Barrie has known that she has the ability to find lost objects, a "skill" that her mother also had. What she never realized is where that ability came from, and why her family has it.  Luckily, Eight patiently joins her as she starts the journey of discovering her heritage and the legacy of Watson Island.

Personal Likes

I greatly enjoyed the pace of this story.  It begins right as Barrie starts her journey back to her family home, a home she has never seen.  The mysterious actions of the plantation, her aunt, the Beauforts and Colesworth kept me glued to the pages of this book much longer than typical in a sitting.  I just had to figure out the whats, whys, and hows.

While Barrie, Eight and Cassie are fairly typical teenagers, with insecurities and fears, the added aspect of mystery and magic add a new level.  Luckily Boone was able to bring these characters to life, creating complex characters that you want to know more about.  It's hard to pick sides with the three families because no one is perfect, rather they are all real. While I really loved Barrie and Eight, I was equally impressed with the supporting characters, Pru, Seven and Mark are all wonderful characters that demand attention.

Compulsion by Martina Boone  a Book Review on Reading List

Personal Dislikes

As my husband thought about this book, I was ready to say my biggest dislike of the book was going to be the voodoo mystic elements - and he was right & wrong at the same time.  There are parts of this book where the mystery, folklore, and magic are too much to handle.  I do not personally buy into that kind of ideology and tend to avoid it in literature.  And yet, the way Boone writes this book, the mystic ties are a reflection of a belief system and reality for some even within the American culture.  So this personal dislike was worth reading about just to have some awareness of (yes I know fiction liberties... we do not have to discuss that).

I also had an issue with the Colesworth side of the story.  Their curse seemed to be lacking in reason. I wish it would have been more developed. While I understand that this is the first in a series, Cassie does some fairly deplorable acts, although they pale in comparison to the older generation of her family.  If the curse is the root cause, it needed to be developed more.

Reasons to Read

The idea of knowing where lost things are and knowing what other people want all the time are concepts that most of us can get.  It would be great if, as moms we knew exactly what our kids wanted, of course, the issue of knowing when to provide it and when to withhold would come up.  The magic of the characters of Compulsion struggle with these life questions and challenges - seeing how they deal is a great way to start a personal reflection on how you treat other people, what you expect from the, or you can use this to start a conversation with someone on how we as people should interact with others.  When we know what someone really wants, how do we respond? Do we provide for all their wants?  Why, why not?

Reading List Rating

Four heart rating on Reading List

I am going to surprise myself and give this book four hearts.  I really did enjoy it and can't wait to share my thoughts on the second book of the series. However, I probably won't be reading this one again, there is just not enough time and a few too many dislikes. 

My Suggested Audience

I would probably suggest this book first to Teens, better yet girls 15-18 because the main character will probably resonate well with this audience.  However, if you are a fan of the Raven Boys or retellings of Romeo & Juliet, then you will probably enjoy this one no matter your age.  As far as a younger reader, well there are some cultural points made that you need life to help you truly comprehend, and there are some violent scenes and other more mature content that younger teens might not be ready for.  

Should parents provide for every little desire their kids have? Should all of our desires be given to us? @Reading_List1

What are your thoughts on the modern fiction that pulls in aspects of history to create mystery? Have you any experience with the concepts of magic in the deep south?  What was last book you picked to read that was completely out of left field for you? 

I'd love to hear from you, please leave me a little note!

Marissa @ Reading List

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