Mystery, Paranormal, Review, Young Adult

Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things by Martina McAtee


Wow. This one is a supernatural marvel. Just about any type of supernatural being you can think of is in this book. It’s incredible how the author keeps it all straight. One of the main characters says that he feels like he’s living in a real life version of Scooby Doo and that describes this magical mystery to a t.

First, there are a ton of characters and in the beginning I couldn’t keep them straight. The book contains more than a few heavy conversations with a lot of back-and-forth between more than two characters. I found myself going back a few paragraphs and reading those sections slowly, because it is vital to get the information, but it almost felt like a tennis match with multiple players. They are witty and had me cracking up constantly, but this book required my undivided attention. Don’t go into this lightly. Prepare yourself for a crazy ride.

So, to start off with an introduction to the main characters, the good guys in the Belladonna pack. The story revolves around Ember, but the others get a good deal of screen time. She is the individual who brings the story together, though. She’s sweet and trusting and has incredible abilities that she cannot control. Mace is the gorgeous dead thing that becomes her anchor. He’s a complex character that kept me on my toes. The relationship between them starts out hilarious, but morphs into something deeper. Next comes reaper Kai, who has a clever comeback for any serious conversation and is crazy about werewolf Rhys. Rhys is dark and broody. His relationship with Kai is strained and complicated. There’s so much more to their story than expected and they are a large part of the book. Reaper Tristin is Kai’s badass sister who never smiles and has an undying sarcasm that was a joy to read. She says the acrimonious thoughts that we all have, but would never have the guts to say out loud. Quinn doesn’t have any supernatural powers, but his intelligence is a huge benefit to the pack. His love for Tristin is another entertaining bit and pulled forth quite a few “Ahh” moments. Werewolf Isa, brother to Rhys, is the leader of the pack, inheriting the position at the tender age of sixteen. She is an important character, but she and her fiance Wren do not get as much attention. Most of the focus is on the three couples. Werewolf Donovan is more of a side note throughout the book, but he plays an important role. Elemental Neoma is adorable, spending her time barefoot and snuggling with a resurrected dog. That might sound yucky, but it’s actualy cute. She spends most of her time in the background and didn’t contribute a whole lot to this book, aside from being loveable. I have a feeling that Donovan and Neoma will have bigger parts in the next book. I definitely hope to see more of them.

That was just the main good guys. There’s a herd of bad ones. There’s nasty witch Allister, Quinn’s father who is shudder worthy. He’s one of those characters you love to hate. His daughter Astrid is a mystery unto herself. I couldn’t decide how I felt about her. Suffice it to say that she is a vital part of the story, even though she didn’t get as much attention. Stella is another heartless witch that you love to hate. The few times she showed up made me want to jump into the book and take her down. Then there’s the Grove. They are a mysterious entity supposedly made up of druids. This group holds everyone in the palm of their hands and rules through sheer terror. They are scary stuff, not to be taken lightly. Overall, the baddies were bad guys on steroids.

The major romance in the story is Kai and Rhys. At times it is bittersweet, at others it is heart-wrenching. Kai is open about his affection, but Rhys holds back for reasons unknown. I was frustrated reading it; I wanted them to finally connect. The lack of communication on one side led to a sense of rejection on the other. It’s a complex and integral theme of the story. Tristin and Quinn are similar in the aspect of Quinn half-jokingly teasing Tristin about marrying her some day, while she holds her emotions at bay, including love. Since both are such important and well-written characters, their love story was intruiging and kept me glued to the pages, hoping for more. Ember and Mace are completely different. He is a soulless individual who starts out as a man without a conscience, but develops into someone I rooted for. She loathes him, but they are held together by their magic. Their story has only just begun and I cannot wait to see more of it in the next book.

The story starts out with a seriously confused and lost Ember. She wasn’t the only confused one; I had no idea what was going on. It took a while for me to get a feel for all the characters and to figure out a bit of what was going on. When I call this a mystery, I mean it’s full of twists and turns and new information that wasn’t just flung at the characters, but at the readers. Each new fact and “Aha” moment left me reeling. I couldn’t put this book down, because I was dying to find out more, hoping to put some more of the puzzle pieces together.

The book is like a jigsaw puzzle with many little pieces that must come together and lures you in. Each of the main characters, and there are a lot, is beautifully crafted. I was drawn to the pack and the camaraderie. Since each one is a story unto themselves, they definitely kept me guessing. The inclusion of all the unique supernatural beings was interesting, as well. I loved reading about the author’s input and definition of each one. There are creatures I haven’t even heard of. The story is beyond most of the other paranormal books I have read, so I was disappointed to find more than a handful of typos. I must state that I read the kindle version, so others may not have the errors. I am a stickler for typos and grammatical errors, to the point that I will stop reading a book if they are constant. In this case, they were enough to distract me a little, but they couldn’t deter me from my desperate need to find out what was actually going down. They were the only drawback to this large, elaborate book. It’s written for young adults, but felt like an adult book in its complexity, both the storyline and the characters. I highly suggest this book for all lovers of the supernatural.

Now the rating:

  • Genre and general reading age – This is a YA book, but adults will love it, too. It’s definitely a supernatural story with all that that entails.
  • Level of sexuality – There wasn’t any sex, but there were some very hot moments between two of the couples.
  • Was there graphic language? Once. The rest is PG.
  • Did I cry? It’s very hard to make me cry, but I was seriously choked up and had to wipe a few tears.
  • Is this part of a series? Yep. The Dark Things series.
  • Level of character development – They were incredible and highly relatable. I didn’t find any characters lacking, just a few that didn’t play much into the story yet.
  • How hard did I laugh? Pretty darn hard.

This book was fantastic. It blew me away and it’s one of those reads that will stick with me forever. I’m so glad to be able to give it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 stars. If not for the typos it would have been a solid 5. So, go out and get a copy today.

Available here on Amazon


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s