Review: Trem by Alex Baxter Scott
About the Book
When she was a little girl, Gabby Morgan entered a strange manor house on a dare. Inside, she saw a ghost. Years passed, and now the older Gabby finds herself drawn to that house once again.
Inside, she finds new ghosts, odd creatures, and a mysterious woman who is responsible for it all. Her name is Trem, a Manzazzu, an ancient cult of ghost summoners stretching back hundreds of years. Trem shows Gabby a world like no other and as their journey continues, they begin to form a bond.
Meanwhile, sinister forces dwell within the manor, a conspiracy reaching back decades and something dwelling within the Styx, the passageway between the world of the living and the afterlife.
For Gabby Morgan, nothing will ever be the same.
“Trem” starts out on a high note as college-aged Gabby discovers an old mansion populated by a cast of unique characters, most of them ghosts or “Etemmu”. We first meet the charming horror starlet, Jenny and her partner Skye, a feisty pirate gal, as well as the Manzazzu who summoned them into being, Trem. It’s an engaging start, face-paced and full of unconventional characters and world building.
The writing itself is simplistic, making it a quick read. There are some grammar issues and cliches in the text itself, so if you read for story and character, you’re in the clear, but if you read for exquisite word choice, this won’t be the book for you. The plot is interesting and certainly unique, but the pacing a little off at times. Really, the characters are what I’m here for. Jenny is an absolute sweetheart and Gabby and Trem have a wonderful relationship.
This book has a lot of fun in it, it feels earnest, like was truly written to be enjoyed. You’ve got light-hearted dueling ghosts, snappy dialogue, and of course puns: "She was not a morning person, but considering what happened yesterday, she wasn't exactly a mourning person either.” There are great horror elements mixed in with urban fantasy and adventure. I mean, look at this: "He was on all fours, his spine having burst free from his back and a chunk of flesh hung from the top of his head.” Body horror? Check, check, check. It’s gross. It’s gruesome. It’s great.
All this coupled with just the right amount of romance. It’s a good slow burn, you really feel like these characters are friends first, you understand where the attraction is coming from and it’s delightful.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the sequel!