Title & Author: Matthias: The Ghost of Salvation Point, Jodi Auborn
Genre & Publication Date: Middle-Grade Paranormal, December 1, 2014
Book Description: “Ten-year-old Dylan is excited when his father inherits an old lighthouse and cottage in Maine. Dylan and his family get to live there all summer! He goes sailing on the bay, explores the small town down the road, and searches for a legendary pirate treasure that was said to be buried nearby. After mysterious things start happening at the cottage, Dylan meets Matthias, a gruff lighthouse keeper who had died in a storm one hundred years before. A ghost! Dylan is startled to find Matthias living in his bedroom, but he is glad when they become friends. It’s the best summer ever! Things change when they learn that the lighthouse is threatened by a greedy treasure hunter who also knows about the pirate legend. He will do whatever it takes to find the treasure…even kidnapping! As Dylan and Matthias team up to protect their home, they begin an adventure that changes Dylan’s life forever.”
First Line: As the wind whistled past the lantern room windows, Matthias knew that he had never seen such a blizzard in the twenty-five years that he had worked at the lighthouse.
My Take: This book was provided to me by the author for review.
Set in a small town in Maine, ten year old Dylan and his family take up residence for the summer at the cottage by the lighthouse they have just inherited from an eccentric uncle. Hailing from New York, Dylan’s mother and sister are reluctant to embrace this new home in the childhood town of Dylan’s dad. Throw in a ghost and pirate treasure, adventures ensue…Yet, I had a difficult time getting into the spirit of things.
I did love the fact that the story revolved around the lighthouse and that this portrait of American history was given its due. As a kid I visited Split Rock Lighthouse in Minnesota and found it both beautiful and mysterious. What better locale for a story to take place?
The trouble I had was with the characters that moved in this unique landscape. While they each had characteristics that distinguished one from the other, these seemed more like surface traits rather than personalities. The sister, a teenager, found everything lame and boring, and she was predictably mean to her little brother. The mother was constantly in a ‘fed up’ state of mind. The dad inspired Dylan’s love of sailing and was an ally with him against his mother and sister. The villains were such stereotypical “bad guys” in the way they talked and acted, they did everything but twirl their moustaches.
The ghost, Matthias, was a loveable curmudgeon that both did and didn’t understand his current celestial predicament. Although I must say, for a dead guy, he had a pretty good gig. He could eat, drink, pick things up, appear and disappear at will, be heard and not heard at will, not to mention be able to physically touch people if he wanted. For me, this took a lot of the mystique away, especially since he served as a kind of plot armor for Dylan if trouble appeared. That in turn removed much of the suspense during climatic scenes because I wasn’t really worried about Dylan’s safety.
The Magical: The lighthouse and the setting in a small town in Maine was great. I love it when middle-grade fiction includes not only an adventurous story, but something of history to learn as well.
The Mundane: The stereotypical personas of the characters made them bland and predictable. And as an aside, did the mom have to be depicted as such a pill in every scene and line of dialogue? She didn’t want anything bad to happen to Dylan but it also appeared like she couldn’t stand her own son. It often seemed like this family had more issues than just a ghost in their house.
Summary of Thoughts: As I’ve said, the premise and setting of this story were wonderful, but the characters seemed a touch recycled. Dylan didn’t really have a character arc either, which made my journey with him feel less than full.
Curious what others thought? Check out Barnes & Nobles’ reviews here
Many thanks to Jodi L. Auborn for providing a copy of the book to review.
For more information about the author, this book, additional reviews and her other works, check out her website here