Book Review: Horroscape by Nenia Campbell

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As with Fearscape, I could not bring myself to put this book down. There is so much suspense, and the readers are on their toes the entire time. Horroscape is much darker than Fearscape, and I loved it. I t made sense. These aren’t kids anymore, and the development of the characters from the first book is very well done.

Plot: It’s been three years since Val’s encounter with her stalker, Gavin. She’s damaged but trying to move on with her life. All is well until her friends get invited to a party. This party is not like any other. Their host plays games with them, and they are dangerous. The stakes are high and their time limited. The key to the game is to survive.

“The game you have elected to play is a very dangerous one… There is no time limit – except for the one on your lives.”

I love the whole concept of this book. I love the games and the dark tension underneath it all. There are a lot of twists and turns that had me wanting more and kept me turning the pages. I will say that I would have liked for it have been more of a psychological thriller. I wanted the characters to doubt themselves, and I wanted them to be conflicted inside during the game – make them rethink their values. This was very well done with Valerian throughout the book, so I would have liked the other characters to go through something similar. Overall though, the plot is fantastic.

Characters: As with the first book, I love Val. From the start, I can see that she is not the same person that she was back then. She is no longer as naïve and innocent and trusting as she was back then. It completely makes sense considering the circumstances, but what made this book great is the fact that Val is still recognizable. There is still that light inside her – that innate goodness that I loved from the first book.

But he did. And you liked it, you know you did. Because deep down, you’re fucked-up.

And she shook her head, recalling even as she did so how right it felt to have him on top of her, walking a thin line between dangerous and deadly. How he could do things with this mouth she only thought possible in books, and how she had never imagined that pain could exist apart from agony, and oh, if he could do those things with his mouth, what could he do with the rest of his body?

The best part of this book is Val’s emotions. They feel so utterly real. I understand her feelings. I understand why Val is conflicted, and I can feel it in myself.  She is attracted to this man, but it’s overridden by her fear and rightfully so. She is so very well-done, and I absolutely adore her character.

The villains were always ugly in books and movies. Necessarily so, it seemed. Because if they were attractive – if their looks matched their charm and their cunning – they wouldn’t only be dangerous. They would be irresistible.

“You needn’t look at me like that. I’m not going to attack you.” Val went rigid and the smile became a sultry grin. “I might bite you a little, though.”

She had seen it once before – a cold, determined look incapable of mercy.

Gavin is such a great antagonist and character. You fear him, but there is a luring quality about that fear. However, I love the fact that Campbell has not romanticized him. He is primal, and the readers’ ultimate reaction to him is fear. Underneath that is appeal, yes, but that is quickly buried with the fear for this emotionless and cruel man. Gavin is charming and alluring, but he is also cold and psychotic. This is not about love for him. It’s about control and submission.

I also love that this book doesn’t simply have characters thrown uselessly in the background. It feels as if they are a vital part of the story. They are not one-dimensional. They are brought to life. They have backgrounds and emotions, and I really enjoyed seeing things from their points of view. It made the book complete and more real. It’s not all about Val and Gavin. There are other people that have been thrown into this unfair and dangerous situation, and I love that we get to see that.

The Writing: Fantastic as always. There is so much tension and danger throughout the book. You can’t let your guard down. The writing is dark and so very well done. It’s perfect for this book, and I loved it. Campbell really knows how to get into the minds of her characters and make the reader a part of the story. She allows us to connect with these characters, and we root for them.

Overall: This is a great read. As I said, I would have liked to see more struggles from the characters and see exactly how the game was affecting their psyche, but there are so many great aspects of this book for this to overshadow them. I would recommend this book in an instant. It is riveting, intriguing, and brilliant. I am very much looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of the next book in the series.

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