'The Not-So Dead' by Isaiyan Morrison is one of those titles that seems really interesting from the get-go.
It's a pretty modern paranormal story about a group of undead who have been found along the way by their leader, Dusk, and kept together like a family. He and his girlfriend Salome are sort of the parental figures. Rounded out by Tristan.. the century old cowboy, Maddy.. the well.. bratty mean girl, and Faye.. the youngest of the brood, they arrive in a place where they hope to settle down with the help of a human friend, only to find danger lurking in the small town of.. wait for it.. Hueman. Now, if you winced at that like I did, let me just tell you now.. it never stopped being cringey.
I was actually pretty eager to get my hands on this novel because I love paranormal stories, but typically they're written about the more common figures.. vampires.. weres.. fae.. and what have you. What made this story stand out for me was the fact it centered on a group of wraithes and I'd never read a modern story involving them before. The idea that an author thought to tackle something so unusual implied to me that she probably wanted to be able to really define them herself.. what they were like.. what made them unique and interesting.. and so different from all the go-to supernatural figures out there.
Unfortunately, wraithes as a species really didn't get much attention. A couple minor differences are thrown into the story like tokens meant to support the theory they're something else, but it was a really minimal effort. And.. that seemed to be the tone of the book. Minimal effort.
Dusk and Salome have this long time love affair you get glimpses of every time they're in a room together. They barely part. But there's no substance shown to really support that relationship we can tell is there. Even their names imply they should be figures of fascination.. mystery.. sensuality.. something.. but they're as paper thin as everyone else in the book.
Faye, the main character, meets up with a human she finds herself inevitably attracted to. Unfortunately, they have very little chemistry, which I guess is less disappointing that the couple who does.. but never shows it. Carter is sweet though, if not a little reckless, I just found I didn't really care much about anyone but Dusk and Salome.. and having your audience more interested in side characters they barely see.. isn't a good sign.
In fact, the only things that did seem to get more than a cursory bit of development, were the.. let's call them artifacts. The artifacts in the hands of the enemies actually sound really interesting. Of all the squandered potential in the book, these suffer from that the least. But even the group that holds them is just a vague mention here and there despite having caused years worth of strife.
I can say it's a fast read, if you don't feel like you're tormenting yourself. Whenever I was able to push myself to continue it, the chapters went by quickly, but it was a chore. It's not a bad story, it's just not an interesting one either.. and it wasn't worth my time.