ARC Review: Compulsion by Martina Boone

CompulsionSeries: Heirs of Watson Island #1
Genres: Magic, Paranormal, Young Adult
Release Date: October 28th, 2014
Publisher Simon Pulse
Source:  eARC from Edelweiss
Check out on GOODREADS

Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead–a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family’s twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.


Compulsion is a hard book to review just because I felt so many different things for it. At times, it was definitely a one star read, but at other times, it blew my mind and was exciting enough to be  5 star read.  Which leaves me confused as to whether I enjoyed the book or not.However, the fact that I want to read the sequel may be an indicator that I did enjoy it enough to want to know what happens to these characters.

The book has its pros and cons, obviously, but they are almost extremes so they kind of cancel each other out. What works in favor of the book is the atmosphere and the setting and just the general set up of things, the characters on the other hand make the book a lot harder to read.

I personally saw Barrie as a silly girl. She is going through a hard time in her life and that is understandable. Her pain is clear and the author doesn’t undermine it. The problem is that she is so SILLY. For starters, she already likes a guy she just met. She  also decides that even though all these people are warning her against hanging out with her dad’s side of the family, they must clearly be wrong because they aren’t willing to give people a chance. That had me rolling my eyes. She was in this completely new place yet she was already taking the side of people she didn’t know. I liked that she wouldn’t let anything stop her from trying to get what she wanted but there is a certain line between stupidity and doing things your way and she crossed it.

Eight, her love interest, on the other hand confused me. I was never really his biggest fan. He was too pushy for my tastes and while he seemed to have Barrie’s best interests at heart, the fact that he was never really straight forward with Barrie bothered me. If he had been more straight forward with her, perhaps she might have made better decisions since she would have had more information at hand. I mean telling someone to stay away won’t really help, you got to give more reasons! And really, he just seemed to be there to move the plot along and play love interest rather than for any other ‘real’ reason.

What also bothered me was the relationship between the two but what also bothered me specifically about their relationship was the fact that I wasn’t too bothered by the insta love. Have I confused you yet? That’s how I feel. I am so confused about their romance and my ability to not be too annoyed by it. I mean there was the L word floating around a couple days after their first meeting so yeah, their romance has insta-love written over it. Their romance definitely has cheesy moments and made me roll my eyes plenty of times yet at the same time, the weird thing was that I kept forgetting they had only met a couple days ago since it seemed like they had known each other for a while. There was a certain chemistry between the two characters that made the romance seem a little more real.

What I liked best about this book was the idea it was built around. I liked the world building and I loved the interesting elements the author weaved in to make her world more interesting to the readers. The characters may not have blown my mind and there was definitely some stereotyping in terms of the fact that this book was set in the south but the way the author weaved in these layers of suspsense made me happy. It made the book fly by and I read it a lot quicker than I thought I would.

I mean we’re talking secret curses, pirates, magical abilities and things that have been lost. Of course this book sounds like it’ll be amazing and while all these little bits did make it amazing and fun to read, the characters and the romance definitely brought the book down for me.

On top of that, while there were all these interesting things going on, a lot of them ended up being brushed under a rug when the author kind of had to choose a specific thing to focus on.  I feel like some of these ideas will be better explored in the sequel which is why I am looking forward to reading it.

My advice would be to check this book out if characters aren’t as important to you and you’re up for dealing with a lot of stereotyping and annoyingness for the awesomeness that lays within.

Rating Report
Overall: 3.3
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Rashika is a mysterious creature who likes to hide in the shadows. It's impossible to get to know her but if you must know, she is a huge bookworm. She also happens to have a huge sweet tooth so you can always lure her over the dark side by offering her something sweet (or bribing her with books).


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  1. says

    Ah, I was so looking forward to reading this. My feature co-host is sending it to me for Christmas. I am hoping it is at least a four star for me because I want to review it on my blog, so I can have a little giveaway for some of the boat load of Compulsion swag I have that seems to have been included in not only swag packs I have won, but in other author’s book giveaways as well. I could start a Compulsion store! Lol. I adore witch stories and maybe that will save this story for me. Thanks for the review. :)
    La La in the Library recently posted…IT’S A PAPER FURY PARTY TAG!!!!My Profile

    • Rashika says

      I still hope it’ll work out for you!! :) And even if it doesn’t, SWAG is always awesome so you could still have a giveaway! :D

      You’re welcome! :)

  2. says

    *sighs* It’s always hard to review a book you have such varying thoughts on, but you did so wonderfully Rashika! :D It sounds like the romance and characterization overall weren’t the book’s strong points, but I do enjoy the sound of the wonderful pacing and world-building. I’m not sure whether or not I’ll read this, but, either way, wonderful review! ♥
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  3. says

    This book was a 4 star for me, because even if Barrie was a bit irritating on occasion, I simply adored the setting and the creepiness of the book!
    Cannot wait for the sequel too, hopefully Barrie will be a lil less silly and won’t go head first into everything!
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    • Rashika says

      I am glad to hear that!!! :D I definitely enjoyed the creepiness although considering this book was marketed as gothic I kind of expected more on that end .-.

      YESSS! I feel like the sequel will be a lot better! :)

    • Rashika says

      I did thin it was creepy but not the kind of creepy it promised to be considering that it was marketed as a southern gothic book.

      Exactly! I didn’t get their connection either. I had no idea why they had any feelings for each other and it just popped out of nowhere.

      yeah :(

    • Rashika says

      Oh definitely. Not raging necessarily since I didn’t care enough to rage all that much but it was just disappointing. :/

  4. says

    Eeeh, characters ARE super important for me, so I don’t know if I’ll try this. >.> I’m not 100% opposed to insta-love because it’s not that unrealistic IRL and I’ve seen plenty of real cases amongst real humans BUT. Sometimes I think insta-love is done in books just to lazily not write the romance well. That I don’t find okay. >.> I kind of want to try this, but it doesn’t totally grab me. *sigh*
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    • Rashika says

      Yeah no. If characters are what make or break a book for you, I’d definitely say skip this! Yeah see that’s my problem too! I mind insta-love but I’ll forgive it if the relationship afterwards is developed but most of the time that doesn’t happen which is why I have such a problem with it.

    • Rashika says

      I’ve seen that too! This is definitely a hit or miss book… although it wasn’t really either for me so I kind of stand out? :P

  5. Laila BC says

    okay now i’m a bit wary of this…this has been on my tbr for quite awhile now since i saw this a couple of months ago…and the premise sounds really promising…like it all sounds magical and mysterious…hoping for something gothic even…here is hoping it will still end up a good reading experience for me. thanks for this review…3.3 is still not that bad. something neutral.

  6. says

    I’ve seen this book floating around a lot, the author did some great marketing for it. Sad to hear that it’s full of the usual YA tropes like instalove (NOPE!) and TSTL characters (GAH). At least the world-building redeemed it somewhat? :P Wonderful review Rashika, I’m not sure whether I’ll pick this up at all to be honest.
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    • Rashika says

      It did! :) But not nearly enough for me to say that it was anything more than an okay read which is disappointing since I had really been looking forward to reading it.

      Thanks Joy!! :)

  7. says

    Rashika darling…this is a LOVELY review as per usual! ♥ Lately I’ve seen this book everywhere and the cover is beautiful buuuuuuuuuuuut I’m not sure that I can take the leap of faith until you read the second one and if there’s improvement, then I will. I just can’t handle the cliches in YA and I love YA a lot. I’m sorry this wasn’t everything you expected. Here’s to a better book… *raises coffee mug* :)
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    • Rashika says

      Dawww thanks Cristina <3 Yeahhhh the cover is GORGEOUS. I am half tempted to buy the book just so I can stare at the cover! Right? Cliches seem to be everywhere and that makes me sad too :(

      *raises mug with you*

  8. says

    I really enjoyed this book, but I also had problems with the characters. They weren’t really relatable or likable. The romance was so insta-lovey and I didn’t like Eight much either! I loved the setting, world-building, and the elements Boone weaved in as well :) Great review!!

    P.S. Your stunning review of Rites of Passage urged me to read it. And I LOVED IT. So thank you <33
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    • Rashika says

      Eight was just weird, to be honest. :P I don’t know why he was even there at all. Eye candy??? I don’t know. I totally agree! Boone had some really interesting ideas which is why I didn’t completely dislike the book! :)

      YAYYYYY! I am so glad to hear that Rachel! :) I am really glad you loved the book as much as I did! You’re welcome <3

  9. says

    She’s a prisoner and gets round the house in stilettos? That’s what I call one high maintenance girl. The setting and world building sounds lovely, but the characters themselves sadly sound more like a let down. How insta is insta? I think if they knew eachother for a few years and both danced around getting together that’s one thing, but having nothing much to do with one another then BAM, we’re in love. That irks me a little, especially if the storyline isn’t strong enough to back it up. It sounds promising though and as always, brilliant review Rashika <3
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    • Rashika says

      LOL Kelly! :PP Uh huh. I don’t how she does it though. That would kill my feet. The characters were a pain in the ass half the time to be honest…

      It was more like, day 1 — they meet, day 2— mushy gushy feelings, week 1- WE ARE IN LOVE.

      Thanks Kelly <3

  10. says

    Pirates vs stereotypes? I don’t think I’m up for it right now. But you know, there are times when I crave stereotypes and annoying-ness. I don’t even know why. Maybe Im a masochist. Or whatever. But the cover is so nice except for those two on the road so maybe. Heh. Somebody please run them over. I mean there’s forest (kinda) around you with beds of grass and you choose to romance in the middle of the road. Idiots.
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    • Rashika says

      No I totally see it. Sometimes I just want some cliche book that’s written well enough you know??? Although that hardly happens any more. I gotta look out for the old gems and what not.

      WHAT??? You’re not supposed to make out while lying down on a road? I didn’t know that! Drivers should have the sense to drive around them. DUH. They are having a moment :PPPPPP

  11. says

    Grr! I hate when this happens. I have read so many books where I loved the setting and the story but then the characters annoyed me. I mean I do appreciate the great world building but if there isn’t a character that will get me through it then well it’s hard. But I’m so happy that you enjoyed this story despite the issues with the characters. Great review, Rashika :)
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    • Rashika says

      I definitely feel you! Sometimes I think it just depends for me. In some cases the characters will be so bad I’ll have to give up but in others some other element in the story will sustain me long enough to finish the book?

      I wouldn’t say enjoyed…. I’d say more like I kind of liked it? So I didn’t hate it :P Blergh. It’s so hard to express yourself sometimes :P

      Thanks hon! :)

  12. says

    LOL Rashika. I’ve wanted to read this one for some time but I keep hearing either really good things about it not so great things about it so reading that at parts this one wasn’t working for you and that during others it was blowing your mind has me laughing. I’m going to give this one a shot since i’m curouis enough about how I feel in regards to this one and any book with great world building is a must for me.
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    • Rashika says

      I hope you enjoy it, Lily! :D This book definitely has it’s pluses and hopefully those will be good enough for you! Or maybe you might now have the same problems that I did and that’s even better! :DDD

    • Rashika says

      yeah.. the atmosphere was great but the characters not so much.. I guess it just depends on what you want out of your book and if you are more of a character person, this book won’t turn out so well for you..

      Thanks hon <3

  13. says

    I can definitely see where you’re coming from, Faye. I once read this book “Don’t Fall” and the romance aspect was almost the same as the one in Compulsion. There was insta-love, but I was OK with it, because THE CHEMISTRY.

    Its good to know that you’ll be picking up the next book, and thanks for sharing, this book isnt’t getting off my radar anytime soon.
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    • Rashika says

      Yeahhhh :) Sometimes that’s all it takes? Although I didn’t really enjoy the romance either way :P

      Glad to hear that! :)

    • Rashika says

      Right??!??! I felt so let down especially since I had been really looking forward to it! I feel like the sequel will be better though since this was the author’s first book (or at least I think it was?) so she has time :P

      Thanks Danielle! :)

  14. says

    I know that conflict between one and five stars all too well! I usually settle on the in-between three too ;D Anyways!

    Characters can easily make or break a book, and if you don’t like the characters chances are the romance isn’t going to work either. That plus insta-love? Definitely off-putting. Although if it works… I can totally see how you are conflicted now xD

    The rest sounds pretty great though, there are some amazing elements at play and it seems like there is a lot of potential. I’ll have to wait and see what you think of the sequel eventually before I pick this one up ;)
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    • Rashika says

      Yeahhh :P That seems to work best :D Unless you really have no idea. That happened to me with another book just recently.. Life.

      It’s not that it works? It’s just sometimes I can be very world building oriented so I feel like I was able to stand the annoying characters because of that! :D

      Let’s hope the sequel is amazing! :D

  15. says

    This book seemed tailor-made for me as I love Southern Gothic stories and suspense. It wasn’t all I hoped — I agree with your review completely. But, I also can see from the comments (and from GR) that a lot of people weren’t bothered by the same things (insta-romance and slow pace and lack of characterization) that bothered me. And that’s what makes discussing books fun — we don’t have to agree.

    PS Get on those violin lessons ;)
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    • Rashika says

      Have you read The Graveyard Queen series by Amanda Stevens? It’s the best! It’s southern gothic and it’s got suspense and it’s urban fantasy and it’s all around awesome! :D

      Ahh it’s fun seeing that everyone doesn’t have the same opinion but it also makes me feel better when I don’t like the book!

      I wish.. I so wish! It’s hard to find the time for these things though *sigh* I figure at some point in my life though, I’ll definitely take lessons. :D

    • Rashika says

      I know!! I saw her review for it and that’s what made me a little scared diving into the book!!! I didn’t despise the book so that says something. I am seriously hoping the sequel will be everything I had wanted from this book though.

  16. says

    Okay, YES to this post. This book confused me as well. I liked Barrie and Eight’s banter, but I didn’t LOVE their romance, although it also didn’t bother me. There ARE so many great elements in this story, but I though it was maybe too much at times. Exactly THIS: “On top of that, while there were all these interesting things going on, a lot of them ended up being brushed under a rug when the author kind of had to choose a specific thing to focus on.” I’m still interested enough to read the sequel. But that cover is just TO DIE FOR. I would own the hardcover just for that.
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    • Rashika says

      YESSSS. You just said it better than I did! I’ve been having pin pointing exactly how I feel about their romance. I don’t like their romance, I like their banter though which kind of made it easier for me to ignore my intense dislike for it.

      Right?!?! I mean there were a LOT of interesting things but I think it got to the point where they were TOO many so she just had to pick one and move on.

      I actually saw a cheap copy of the hardcover when I went into the bookstore the other day and I wanted to buy it but I got other books instead :P

  17. says

    The review for this are kind of all over the place. I’ve seen so many reviews where people didn’t like it and so many reviews claiming it to be the best book they’ve ever read. I like that you pointed out both your positive and negatives and while I’m not sure if I want to read this, I wouldn’t mind listening to the audio. Too bad it’s not out yet…
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    • Rashika says

      I figure this is something that you can listen to on the audio and not mind if you didn’t like it as much since not a lot of time was wasted :P

      Hopefully it will be soon! :)

  18. says

    Hmmm it really does sound like the book was all over the place, and even though the romance seemed to be convincing, I’m still not a big fan of the insta-love especially where the L word is used so soon. I don’t really like love interests who are pushy, because it often sets an alarm bell for the heroine to stand up for herself more. Great review Rashika!
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    • Rashika says

      Yeah, me either. It’s not that the insta-love was convincing… I just think there were some parts of their relationship I didn’t mind which is why I wasn’t all ragey about it? YESSS. I don’t like pushy love interests either :/

      Thanks Jeann!! :)

  19. says

    Brilliant review, even if you do have me totally confused about whether I want to read it or not. I think the fact you had moments where it was a 1 star read should tell me to steer clear. I am also not a fan of insta-love at all and the romance between the two characters sounds like it would really bug me. Barrie also seems like a character that would have me rolling my eyes and making me want to shake her. Great review, but I think I might be avoiding this one myself.
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    • Rashika says

      HAHA ! I am sorry! :P The romance is definitely not something that makes the book shine out… and Barrie is definitely the kind of character you’d want to shake :P

      Thanks Charnell!! :)