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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Defiled is a delightfully creepy work of young adult fantasy and horror, penned by author Michael S. Vassel. Written as the opening book to the Castle Chronicles, we meet the series’s hero Mark Castle when he is just a high school student. Mark has had powers from farther back than he can remember, honing his strange abilities with the hope that one day he’ll put them to good use. So when he dreams of a young woman who wants him to find her, Mark sets about asking his school friends to help him contact the world of the dead. They meet their would-be spirit guide, and the adventure is just beginning from there.
Irreverent, spooky and very, very fun, Defiled by Michael S. Vassel is certain to be enjoyed by all lovers of playful macabre fantasy tales, mysteries and spine-tingling stories. It reminded me of R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps series a lot during reading, with its seemingly average hero revealing strange gifts and quite unsettling powers as the novel goes on. The plot around Mark and his discoveries is well constructed to believably convey the adventures of him and his high school friends, and the experimentation with magic and the Netherworld is represented sensitively, to be taken with a pinch of salt. Overall, Defiled marks a fantastic start to what promises to be a really exciting and enjoyable young adult series, and I would highly recommend it to all fans of pop horror and slightly more grown up Scooby Doo mystery fun.