So the only other book I’ve tried by Seanan McGuire was Every Heart a Doorway. That book was fascinating — it had a lot of really neat ideas and was well-executed. I remember that my main complaint was that it was too short. This book also had some really cool ideas, about ghosts and witches and the dead. But I thought the execution was poor and again, it just wasn’t long enough to really support the story.
So this is about a dead girl named Joanna. She died in an accident, running in the rain after her older sister died. The whole premise of the world that Joanna inhabits is that if a person dies at the right time, then they just go away. But if you die before your time, then you’re trapped as a ghost. It’s possible to get closer to your actual death day by stealing time from people who are still alive. When you steal time from those people, you actually extend their own life time. You basically make them younger. A ghost can do this by just touching a person. Witches in this world take advantage of this by using the ghosts to remain young forever. Joanna feels guilty about her power and doesn’t like to extend people’s lives without their knowing, so she works off this guilt by answering phones at a suicide hotline. If she helps save or extend a life in a normal way, then she’ll take that time from someone else. So it’s a pretty cool concept, even if it’s a little confusing.
But there’s just not much story to go along with it. All the ghosts disappear from NYC, and Joanna teams up with a witch to figure out why. It’s not enough to turn me off of this author, but I definitely didn’t enjoy it as much as I did Every Heart a Doorway.