(Spoiler Alert: Do not read unless you’ve read the previous books in the series).
The end in of Vanished has full on annoyed me, so this review may just be on the rant side of things.
Book 12 of the Private series, starts with main character, Reed Brennan in a big mess. For those of you who have read the previous books you know that this is nothing new. She’s been smack dab in the middle of murder investigations, crazy roommates, friend problems, boy drama, left for dead on a deserted island all the while managing to keep her grades up. But this issue for Reed is bigger than the others, her best friend turned enemy turned friend (and repeat a dozen times), Noelle Lange has been kidnapped. The kidnappers have contacted Reed with the strict orders that she tells no one and completes the tasks they assign, or else Noelle dies.
So Reed finds herself completely tasks and waiting by the phone for whats next. All the while putting on a front that nothings wrong and Noelle’s just home for a family emergency. Kind of hard to do when you’re spending your days paranoid and freaking out. Not to mention heading the Billings Literacy Society. But after everything she’s been through, whose more capable than Reed to complete four tasks and save her best friend?
Now onto the rant.
The book ends with Reed finding out Noelle is her sister, that Reed’s mom had an affair with Noelle’s dad. Noelle-well their grandmother, sends the girls back to the BLS chapel where they find a spell book. Immediately upon seeing “spell book” I couldn’t help but think “REALLY!?” For an 11 book series, there’s no mentions of magic, ghouls, goblins or anything supernatural.
While the constant everybody-is-out-to-get-Reed theme is annoying, at the end of the day you could call it believable. The students at Easton are just the typical run of the mill wealthy teens in high school. The ones who go to tropical islands for Christmas vacation. So after 11 books of “normal” craziness and money spending, now Kate Brian throws in the supernatural?
It seems like an attempt to keep up with the ever popular supernatural craze going on right now. But at the end of the day it was nice to throw in this “real life” novel in between paranormal books. Seriously what’s going to happen in book 13? The boys of Ketlar are really werewolves? Thomas is a vampire back from the dead?
The supernatural throw in seems too far out of left field for this series. Maybe if the events of the first few Private books were condensed down to 1-2 books then Vanished was book 3 and supernatural references were tossed into books 1 and 2, then it would work. But no prep work was done to prepare the reader for the “oh-hey-by-the-way-you’re-all-witches” storyline.
I’d also like to point out how ridiculous the tasks were for Reed to complete. The girl has stolen a test from an academic building, proved her loyalty to all of the Billings girls multiple times and survived days on a deserted island, does she really need to shoplift a necklace or break up with her boyfriend to prove herself? Hasn’t she already done that time and time again?
Overall Vanished was a good book (with the exception of the lame tasks). The last few chapters had me flipping up to the very end, dieing to know what was going to happen to Noelle. The ending was a total let down and completely out of left field. I’m not too sure how well the ending will sit with long time Private series readers, it isn’t sitting well with me. I’ll check out book 13 and unless Kate Brian wins me over with it, I don’t see myself still reading the series.