Monday, July 4, 2011

Fearscape by Simon Holt

Published October 5, 2010.

It's been a year since Reggie first discovered the Vours, and the Winter Solstice is approaching once again. It will be another night of unspeakable horror for those unlucky enough to be taken by the Vours, because this time, she won't be able to stop them. The Vours have imprisoned Reggie in a psychiatric hospital, where she is subjected to a daily routine of unfathomably sadistic experiments. Her life is a living Hell, but she won't give up. They attacked her brother. They killed her friend. And Reggie will never stop fighting back. (

Like all horror sequels, this one is a bit more watered down than the others simply because the horror factor that existed in the original, the thing that made the books scary, is something we're already used to. We've been desensitized to it over the course of three books. That's not a matter of storytelling. It just happens. It's very hard to maintain true horror through multiple sequels because of that. And that's across the genre, not just in FEARSCAPE.

The tension was still there, though. The notion of 'would Reggie make it out or wouldn't she' kept me turning the pages to find out. While I wasn't afraid like I was for the first book, I still wanted to get to the end and find out how all of this resolved itself.

The major twist of the story I kind of saw coming but it didn't hamper it down for me at all. It still kept its creep factor and that's the important part. Even though I could see it coming, what I couldn't see was the characters' reactions to it. So reading for that alone was worth it.

The ending provides the story with a nice resolve without it being all fluffy bunnies and rainbow farts about it. There's still a major threat out there when the story ends but there's enough hope running through everyone that the future doesn't look totally dismal. That's what I really liked about FEARSCAPE - it provided me with a nominally happy ending without it being illogically so. There's nothing I hate more in horror than a happy ending that just doesn't fit the rest of the story.

I went into FEARSCAPE with the reservation that it might be a bit of a turd. I hadn't heard too great of things about the final book in THE DEVOURING series but I didn't mind it. By the way of horror, it could have been a hell of a lot worse. Nothing can shit the bed more like a bad horror sequel and this one didn't do that. It kept the tension up, it maintained its spook factor and it royally screwed with the characters. I really can't ask for more. I wouldn't get your hopes up too high. I wouldn't call it fantastic but all things considering, it was pretty decent. If you've read the other books in the series, I don't think this would disappoint a fan. And if you haven't read the others, I'd highly recommend them. YA needs more horror like this.

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