American Monsters

american-monsters

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments of this series. You can read my reviews for these novels [here] and [here].

American Monsters was written by Derek Landy and first published in 2016. It follows the continuing adventures of Amber and Milo as they try to find a way to finally stop Amber’s twisted parents. The book forms the final instalment of The Demon Road Trilogy, and is preceded by Demon Road (2015) and Desolation (2016). I’d strongly advise that you read the books in sequence if you want to have any idea of what’s going on.

Amber is struggling to come to terms with her new role as the Shining Demon’s representative on Earth. She’s stronger than ever, her demonic side fuelled by vials of her benefactor’s blood, but using these is starting to come at the cost of her sanity. And then there are the things she must do – things that enable serial killers to go on killing. She knows that she needs to find a way to break her contract before she completely loses her soul.

And then there is the problem of her parents. Bill and Betty are still on the run and know that they’re living on borrowed time. When Amber finally catches up with them, they cut a deal. They know that they won’t live long while the Shining Demon is still in power. They want Amber to deliver the monster to them so that they can devour him and take his place. If Amber can do that, they promise that they’ll leave her alone to live her life.

Amber knows that her parents can’t be trusted, but there is one small problem. They’ve taken Kelly hostage and will kill her if Amber doesn’t deliver the goods within six days. With Kelly’s life on the line, Amber and Milo have no choice but to hit the road to find chains powerful enough to bind a Lord of Hell. However on the way they will encounter many old friends and enemies and, now that it’s known that Amber is the Shining Demon’s lapdog, it’s difficult to know who they can trust…

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Five Nights At Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes

five-nights-at-freddys-the-silver-eyes

Five Nights At Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes was written by Scott Cawthon and Kira Breed-Wrisley and first published in 2015. It’s a horror story set in an abandoned family restaurant and is loosely based around the video game franchise of the same name. The novel stands alone and at the time of writing no sequel has been announced.

Charlie didn’t have a happy childhood. Her mother left, her father committed suicide and, most horrifying of all, one of her closest friends disappeared without a trace. Michael was believed to have been snatched while eating at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza – a popular local restaurant – yet no trace of him was ever found.

Ten years later, Charlie and her friends return to the town of Hurricane for a memorial service for Michael. Reminiscing about the past, the group of teens decide to take a look for the old pizzeria. When they arrive, they’re disappointed to find that a mall has been built in its place and immediately abandoned. Yet as they explore, they make a shocking discovery. Freddy’s is still there, bricked into the wall of the mall but still entirely as they remember it. Even the animatronic mascots that it was known for seem to be in full working order.

The group return on subsequent nights to explore the abandoned restaurant, but as they do so things start to grow increasingly weird. Electronics malfunction, pictures seem to move and the robots begin to behave erratically. When one of the teens disappears, apparently dragged away by a mascot, the rest search frantically for him. What they discover sheds light on what happened to Michael all those years before…

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Dew from a Dark Mourning

dew-from-a-dark-mourning

Dew from a Dark Mourning was written by Brenda McGee Holdsworth and first published in 2012. It is a Christian horror story which focuses on a group of teenagers who are targeted by a faceless entity. The novel stands alone, so you don’t have to have read any of the author’s earlier work to fully appreciate it.

Jessica is fifteen years old and wants to fit in with her friends. They’re all good teenagers but there is only one problem. None of them are Christian like she is and Jessica is worried that they won’t take her seriously if the find out. She is also nervous about whether her boyfriend, Maurice, is really into her. All her friends seem to be in close relationships with their partners, yet Maurice hasn’t even held hands with her.

However, Jessica’s worries turn out to be very small when she and her friends are stalked by a strange creature. The sinister being takes the form of a man but its face is oddly blurry and indistinct. When the being causes their car to crash on the way to the beach, Jessica awakes to find herself trapped in a shadowy world. The creature plans to take more than just her life and Jessica and her friends soon find themselves battling a monster with the power to turn their fears and insecurities against them.

Yet the being isn’t content in tormenting Jessica alone. It soon turns its sights on her family and other members of her community. Their enemy isn’t the kind that can be defeated by brute force, but is their faith enough to save them?

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Labyrinth Lost

labyrinth-lost

Labyrinth Lost was written by Zoraida Córdova and first published in 2016. It is a fantasy novel about a teenage bruja who is forced to travel across a hostile spirit world to save her kidnapped family. The story forms the first part of the Brooklyn Brujas series, though at the time of writing no further instalments have been announced.

Alex has grown up hating her family’s magic ever since an encounter with her Aunt’s reanimated corpse. Although her sisters – Lula and Rose – take pride in their abilities, Alex wants nothing more than to be normal. However, Lula is certain that her sister’s power is just being blocked and will try anything to get it to surface. What she doesn’t know is that Alex has been hiding a power so terrible that it scares her. She has kept her magic a secret for years, praying that it will go away.

After an incident at school, her secret is revealed. Naturally, her family is thrilled. She is an Encantrix – the rarest and most powerful of brujas – and her mother rushes to arrange Alex’s Deathday to call upon their ancestors to bless her powers. With no one listening to her fears, Alex finds herself confiding in a young brujo named Nova. Nova reveals to her that there is a way to ask the gods to remove a bruja’s power and Alex sets about obtaining the items to sabotage her Deathday. However, that’s when things start to go wrong.

As her spell backfires, she summons a terrifying apparition who drags her entire family into Los Lagos, the place where spirits wait after death. Alex learns that the being – known as the Devourer – will only hold on to her family until the next eclipse and then will feed on their souls. With Nova at her side, she travels to Los Lagos to rescue them. But Los Lagos is a world of hidden dangers, especially for one as powerful and untrained as Alex…

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The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier novels in the series. You can read my reviews of these books [here], [here] and [here].

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner is a short spin-off novella which forms part of Stephenie Meyer’s massively successful Twilight Saga. The story was first published in 2010 and describes Bree’s experiences over the three months that she spent as a vampire. The book overlaps with the events of Eclipse (2007), therefore I would strongly advise that you read the first three novels in the series before picking up this one.

For Bree Tanner, every day is marked with uncertainty and terror. Ever since she was first created by the vampire that she knows only as Her, she has spent all of her time trying desperately to stay alive. The other Newborns in her coven are vicious and uncontrollable – prone to tearing off each other’s limbs or lighting each other on fire. She’s smart enough to know that she needs to keep to herself if she wants to live.

Things change when she meets Diego. He’s been a vampire far longer than she has and is rumoured to be Riley’s right-hand man. Although she’s reluctant to trust him at first, she soon discovers that he is genuinely nice and could become her first vampire friend. When disaster strikes and the two of them find themselves stranded at daybreak, it’s only Diego’s ingenuity that saves them both from facing the rising sun.

Yet in doing so, the two of them uncover Riley’s lie. He’s been keeping the Newborns in check by telling them that all the myths about vampires are true but now Bree and Diego know that sunlight can’t harm them. Believing that Riley might be unaware of this himself, the two of them head off to tell him of their discovery. However, they quickly discover that they are pawns in a larger game and that the vampire known as Her has sinister plans for them…

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Hell is Coming

Hell is Coming

And now for something completely different.

Hell is Coming was written by N.P. Martin and first published in 2014. It’s an urban fantasy novel about a teenage girl who discovers that her parents were demon hunters. The story forms the first part of The Watchers series and is followed by Hell is Here (2015) and Hell and Back (2015). There are also two companion novellas – Bad Grace (2015) and Lucas (2015) – which expand on the backstories of the secondary characters.

Eighteen year old Leia Swanson has been in and out of foster care since the death of her parents. While most people believe that her mother was responsible for the gruesome deaths, only Leia knows the truth. She saw a pair of demons slaughter her father and drag her mother to Hell. Although she knows that no one believes her, she studies the occult in her free time to make sense of the demonic visions that still torment her.

As Leia begins to research her parents, her past suddenly catches up with her. Her foster mother is brutally slain and her brother Josh is kidnapped by a powerful demon. With no one left to turn to, Leia is forced to seek out Frank – the uncle that she never she knew she had. It is from him that she learns the truth. She is one of the Nephilim – a half-angel – and it is her duty to fight the forces of darkness.

As Leia trains with Frank, she learns that her brother wasn’t the only one taken. The demon has been targeting Nephilim children all over the world. Leia knows that it can’t be a coincidence – the monster must have plans for them. However, as she investigates further, she discovers that the demon responsible is one of the most feared of them all. Without the right weapon, she has no hope of defeating him. Trouble is that obtaining such a blade might cost more than she’s willing to pay…

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Desolation

Desolation

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for its prequel, Demon Road. You can read my review of this novel [here].

Desolation was written by Derek Landy and first published in 2016. It’s a horror novel that follows Amber’s continuing escape across America as she tries to avoid both her parents and the Hounds of Hell. The novel is the second part of the The Demon Road Trilogy and follows on directly from the events of Demon Road (2015), so you really need to read the novels in sequence to fully appreciate them.

Amber and Milo are on the run. The Shining Demon hasn’t taken Amber’s treachery lightly and has now pulled out all the stops to claim her soul. Not only has he made deals with every serial killer in America, promising them their heart’s desires in return for Amber, but he has also unleashed the Hounds of Hell. The demonic biker gang exist to follow his orders and will never rest until they have tracked Amber down.

The only safe place for them now is the Alaskan town of Desolation Hill, a place surrounded by a magical barrier that blocks the Shining Demon’s power. However, the town is not without its secrets. Everyone who lives there seems to be a little too friendly with each other and unwelcoming to outsiders. Amber also soon learns that a festival – Hell Night – is about to take place and no strangers will be allowed to stay in the town over that period.

As Amber and Milo explore the town they begin to uncover a sinister mystery spanning two hundred years, one that hinges on annual child disappearances and the presence of a sinister figure called the Narrow Man. They also join forces with a team of paranormal investigators who have come to Desolation Hill to investigate the same happenings. They only have a few nights to discover the true secret of the town and how it ties back to the Shining Demon because, once Hell Night falls, they might never be able to leave the town again…

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The Saga of Darren Shan 4-6

The Saga of Darren Shan 4-6

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments of this series. You can read my review of these novels [here].

The Saga of Darren Shan was written by Darren Shan and ran for twelve novels. It is a horror series aimed at middle grade and young teen readers that focuses on the adventures of half-vampire Darren Shan. The novels have been collected into four trilogies: Vampire Blood (2000 – collecting Cirque du Freak, The Vampire’s Assistant and Tunnels of Blood), Vampire Rites (2001-2002 – collecting Vampire Mountain, Trials of Death and The Vampire Prince), Vampire War (2002-2003 – collecting Hunters of the Dusk, Allies of the Night and Killers of the Dawn) and Vampire Destiny (2003-2004 – collecting The Lake of Souls, Lord of the Shadows and Sons of Destiny). For the purpose of this review, I’ll be looking at the Vampire Rites Trilogy only.

It is time for the Vampire Council and Darren and Mr Crepsley must leave the safety of the Cirque du Freak to embark on a dangerous pilgrimage. Their goal is Vampire Mountain, the remote stronghold of their clan, where they will present Darren before the Vampire Princes and celebrate the Festival of the Undead with the rest of their kind.

On the way there, they discover undeniable evidence that the vampaneze are also heading towards the mountain. Afraid of what their sworn rivals are planning, Mr Crepsley hurries to make the Princes aware and Darren learns of an ancient prophecy which speaks of the vampaneze eventually wiping out the vampires. Many of those gathered at the council are fearful that those days are close at hand.

However, Darren has more pressing concerns. It is unheard of for vampires to blood someone as young as he is and the Vampire Princes are not happy. To save Mr Crepsley’s honour, Darren agrees to undergo five trials to prove his worth as a vampire. It sounds simple enough but the Trials of Death can easily prove fatal for a true vampire. With the disadvantage of his human blood, Darren must work twice as hard, especially when failure carries an automatic death sentence…  More

Rush

Rush

I’ve reviewed quite a few fantasy novels lately. Now for something a little different.

Rush was written by Eve Silver and first published in 2013. It blends horror, paranormal romance and science fiction elements to tell the story of a teenage girl who is dragged into a war against an invading alien race. The novel forms the first part of The Game series and is followed by Push (2014) and Crash (2015).

Miki Jones has been living a half-life. Since her mother’s death, she’s been forced to deal with the fact that her father has turned to alcohol and her depression has driven a wedge between her and her friends. However, everything changes the day that she pushes a little girl out of the path of a speeding truck. The girl lives but Miki is not so fortunate, dying instantly in the crash.

However, Miki doesn’t stay dead. She wakes up in a mysterious lobby in the company of four other teens. Their leader, Jackson, quickly explains to her that she’s been pulled from the brink of death to take part in wargames against the Drau – a beautiful alien species who want nothing more than to wipe out humanity. Every time Miki survives a game she’ll be allowed to return to her normal life until she is summoned again. If she dies in battle, this time she’ll die forever.

Although Miki finds it difficult to comprehend what Jackson has told her she soon sees the truth when she is sent on her first mission,  finding that she possesses instincts and reflexes that she never knew she had. On returning home, she struggles to keep it together. How can she live knowing that everyone she loves is in great danger? It’s not long before she finds comfort in Jackson’s arms but he just keeps pushing her away. What is Jackson’s secret and can Miki really trust him at all?

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Courting Death

Courting Death

Courting Death was first published in 2014 and is Livia Hardy’s debut novel. It’s a short horror novella about a teenage adrenaline junkie. The book is a stand-alone story and is only 63 pages long in its paperback format so therefore makes a light, quick read for teenagers.

Alex has always been addicted to the thrill that comes from dodging traffic in the road but his need has grown worse since the death of his best friend, Jay. His parents have grown distant from him, believing him to be partially responsible for her accident, and now Alex only feels excited when he is cheating death. Unfortunately, Death has plans for him.

Seeing no challenge in taking someone who is suicidal, Death decides to find a way to give Alex the joy of life back. He knows that he needs to find something that Alex can’t live without – something that will make him rethink his actions and realise that death is something to be feared. Once that happens, Death will claim him.

But Alex will not be easy to convince. His lust for danger far outweighs his fear. In order to convince him, Death will need to call on favours from some of his most trusted allies…

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