Old Blood - A Novella (Experiment in Terror #5.5)

Old Blood (Experiment in Terror, #5.5) - Karina Halle 4+ starsThis novella, while marked as 5.5, really should be 4.5 or 4.9. I'd advise reading it BEFORE or WITH [b:On Demon Wings|13442031|On Demon Wings (Experiment in Terror, #5)|Karina Halle|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1331704748s/13442031.jpg|18949847]. This is Pippa's story - FINALLY! While we have an idea that she's Perry's grandmother, we don't know much more than that she's got a relationship with Dex somehow.The CONFUSING THING about this book is that Dex is supposed to be 9-10 years older than Dex, but either Pippa's memories are more confused than we think, or the author goofed. Because in Pippa's memories, Dex is 13 before Perry's parents are married and she's born. Can't figure out if this is because we're supposed to be suspect of Pippa's memories? But that doesn't make sense, because SO MUCH is explained in this book....Pippa's story isn't an easy one. It's sad and dark and heartbreaking. So is Dex's story. We learn so much more about his home life, including the fact that Dex has an older brother, Michael, who was the "golden boy" in his home. Both Dex's mother and father preferred Michael, who could do no wrong in anyone's eyes, Dex's included. Dex was the one his mother beat up and destroyed all his belongings at every turn. While Regine is a drunk, WHY does she turn on Dex so, even as a small boy? Is it because Regine can see ghosts, too? Does she resent Dex because he's like her?In [b:On Demon Wings|13442031|On Demon Wings (Experiment in Terror, #5)|Karina Halle|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1331704748s/13442031.jpg|18949847], Dex's mother "comes through" the demon inhabiting Perry during the exorcism, threatening to tell Dex's secret - the one that we don't learn about until [b:The Dex Files|15746858|The Dex-Files (Experiment in Terror, #5.7)|Karina Halle|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1344824329s/15746858.jpg|21437922]. Yes I'm behind on putting in my reviews... I almost think that this book should have been before On Demon Wings except that as a reader I wouldn't have been able to wait. And The Dex Files is a MUST READ that you should undertake just after this book. And you'll probably be like me after reading this book and The Dex Files I had to go back to [b:Lying Season|13061289|Lying Season (Experiment in Terror, #4)|Karina Halle|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1323754445s/13061289.jpg|18226704] and On Demon Wings and re-read a few parts to put them all into context.Pippa's book is so personal... we learn about her early childhood, her cold distant parents, her forays into understanding her gifts to see and talk to ghosts and so much more. What Pippa has going for her that Perry is only beginning to understand and accept is that Pippa acknowledged and accepted her gift early on. Which means that Pippa found "acceptable" ways to deal with seeing ghosts early in life.The unfortunate part of it all is, that despite this, Pippa wasn't able to keep her sanity. Because the more she tried to separate herself from her gift and from the spirits that plagued her, the more she was drawn in. Enter the Jacobs...Jacob is a "boy" that Pippa sees when she finally leaves home and moves to Stockholm to embrace her dream of being an actress. Pippa is working at a local theatre company as the makeup artist, costume designer, and cleaner. (So now we see how/why the weird outfit and clown make up come in!) One night, Pippa sees Jacob sitting at the edge of the stage, and she follows him. She learns that Jacob is part of The Thin Veil, Otherworld, Black Sunshine - he's a ghost and a guide, supposed to be guiding Pippa. The problem is, how much can we trust Jacob? He's supposed to be Pippa's "guide", and yet he tells her too much about her future more than once, trying to "warn" her off. One could argue that by doing so, Jacob sealed Pippa's fate and her choices to head directly towards those things that Jacob labeled as disasters.Does that make it Pippa's choice or Jacob's pushing? Even looking back, Pippa's not quite sure. She doesn't push aside her own responsibility, she simply wishes she could have chosen differently.Turns out that Perry's mom, Ingrid, wasn't her father Karl's daughter. No, instead, Ingrid is the product of an affair with a vain, selfish actor that Pippa never quite got over - to the point that she carried on with the actor for years after she was married. Which doesn't seem fair to Karl, the gentle giant who tenderly wooed Pippa after her heart was broken and her dreams crushed. It's such a shame, because despite Karl being 10 years or so older than Pippa, he didn't seem to be the kind of man that ever fell out of love with Pippa. He even embraced Ingrid eagerly as his daughter and raised her as such.But Ingrid was vain, selfish, self-centered, and always looked down on her mother, Pippa, despite Pippa's coddling and spoiling. Pippa truly loved Ingrid - too much, it seems. And Ingrid picked up on so much of her mother's gifts, even though Pippa tried to keep them hidden. Which is why Ingrid's relationship with Pippa was so... awful. And Ingrid is the reason that Pippa ended up in a mental hospital and died there - abandoned and alone.But I can't leave out Dex's family... see, Pippa moved with Ingrid to New York when Ingrid was only 16 to pursue her modelling career. While Karl supported them both from Sweden, Ingrid was ashamed of Pippa and never wanted her around. So Pippa eventually moved out from living with Ingrid and decided to find a job to keep her occupied. The job was being housekeeper and nanny to the O'Shea family - 9 year old Michael and 6 year old Declan.Pippa could see, right away, that Dex took the brunt of his family's unhappiness from everyone; she also recognized a kindred spirit - she knew that Dex could see ghosts, too. Pippa tried to train Dex to ignore the spirits when others were watching. She tried to fill the hole in Dex's heart from Dex's father being indifferent and his mother attacking Dex in every possible way. To the point where, it's possible that Pippa caused Dex's father to leave: Pippa called the police to intervene with Dex's mother, Regine, one time too many. Dex's father was too class and social conscious. He didn't want anyone to see beneath the veneer of a "happy, wealthy family". So one night, he left and never returned. The only good thing he did was put money into trust accounts for both sons....While we're led to believe that Michael died, nothing in Pippa's story points to that or reveals it. So we have to believe that Dex's brother is still very much alive, even if he wants no contact with Dex. Dex changed his name from O'Shea to Foray (his mother's maiden name) after his mother died.Through Pippa's story, we have so many questions answered and so many more hanging. Can the Jacobs be trusted? Do they have their own agenda? How awful can Perry's mother really be - is it possible that she doesn't love Perry and never has because Perry reminds her too much of her own mother?Can't wait to find out MORE!!!