I'm really surprised by how divergent the reviews on this are, and what the criticisms are from the people who didn't like it. I thought it was great, through and through, high 4, really enjoyed it.
A lot of people seem to think the characters weren't believable. I didn't have any problems with any of the characters. And Miss Laracy is one of my favorite characters in any book ever. At first I wasn't so sure, with the accent and everything, but by the end I basically wanted to turn every sentence she said into a tattoo.
Liked the characters, like the story, loved the language, loved the mood and pacing. Very creepy and cinematic.
It's not perfect; there are a couple details that kind of get picked up and dropped. Or maybe it's more that it can feel a bit crammed with the creepy sing-song things the ghost-characters are saying. Actually most of the Claudia parts were hard to follow and even at the end I wasn't entirely sure what to make of her storyline (dry, sand, dog, burned daughter? wah?) And also the sciencey bits about the disc and gamma rays I didn't understand at all.
Also, I really like the central idea behind the story, but it is somewhat problematic. I mean it's just a story, but I couldn't help but think that this would feel like a rebuke if I was a Katrina survivor or something. I mean it's not, and I don't think the author intended that, but still. It's tricky stuff to be wrestling with, and the epilogue fell a bit flat for me for that reason.
But overall I really liked it. Especially Miss Laracy.