My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Seventeen-year-old Miranda Wolford was born Deaf, though it took her years to realize it. She thought everyone could hear the cacophony of voices that surrounded her—but those voices belong to the dead, and they are the only things Miranda can hear.
When a ghost leads Miranda to a missing child and his murderer, she tries to enlist the police; but between the communication barrier and the insane story, she can’t make them understand.
The murderer is on the loose. To stop them, Miranda will have to take matters into her own hands.
The Ties Eternal is the third Web novella, and unlike the first two, it does not feature the Fletcher siblings at all. Instead, it introduces us to Miranda Wolford, a young Latina who was born Deaf but has the intriguing ability to see and communicate with the dead. We’re not talking Ghost Whisperer style, either. No, Miranda sees the dead in all their gruesome glory and is surrounded by their cries for her help. One in particular becomes more incessant than the others, and Miranda soon discovers that hearing the dead isn’t the only ability she possesses.
This was definitely my favorite of the series, for two very distinct reasons. The first is how beautifully written Miranda is. Spivey has masterfully captured what it would be like to live in a world you can’t hear, but without making the story solely about Miranda’s Deafness. Instead, it’s simply part of her identity, and we are given a glimpse into everyday, subtle things, like the worry over injury to her hands, which would affect her ability to sign, her frustration when her cousin resorts to words Miranda can’t hear in order to yell at her, her isolation when surrounded by a room full of boisterous family that isn’t translating anything into sign language. All of these things held the essence of truth and painted an eye-opening picture for those of us who otherwise have no way to understand. That’s always been the brilliance of Spivey’s writing, to me, and this novella showcases that phenomenally.
The second thing that really elevated this installment above the others was the opportunity to see how events overlap. I can’t reveal much without giving away spoilers, but there is definite cross-over between this novella and certain scenes in both of the previous ones. The resulting effect is impressive realism. These characters feel real; the world they live in feels real. Lives intersect all the time without those involved realizing, and Spivey mimics that perfectly.
We still aren’t given resolution in the traditional sense, and none of the questions from the previous installments are answered in this one, but that’s okay. Because somehow, Spivey manages to continually build on these origin stories, moving us ever closer to a fully realized, highly intricate world. I did find this one to be the most satisfying in terms of overall plot arc, but Miranda’s story is clearly just getting started. I can’t wait to see where the series goes from here.