I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: The Demon's Grave #1
Published by Smashwords Edition on May 31st 2015
Genres: Horror, Fantasy, New Adult
Source: ARC from publisher
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When strange shadows and messages plague Nora's daily life she fears for her sanity. To escape questions from her family, Nora joins her friends on a weekend getaway. Despite not liking Aidan Birket, Nora finds his remote, Victorian house charming. Until they discover the marble doorway on the third floor and, against Nora's better judgment, they open it.
Drawn into an unfamiliar place called the Demon's Grave, the group face a charismatic demon and a set of Challenges. Six nightmarish realities for the six of them is the punishment. Those that make it to the end can go home, but those that don't will be his forever. Friendships are tested, secrets revealed and sacrifices will be made.
Nora battles zombies, doppelgängers, eyeless bikers, and the demon--whose interests are more than just a game of cat and mouse. If it's all in her head, then it should be easy. But, if not, it means the demon knows everything and her past and the death of her twin sister.
This book was very trippy. It felt like one long nightmare. (Not as in reading it, but because of the plot.) Honestly, that’s the best way to describe it. Some parts were confusing because we weren’t given all the details. Most came to light later, but I still thought the ending was confusing. It wasn’t an epic, violent cliffhanger, but the adventure was far from over.
So the gist is that they have to face these “six” challenges. (There were actually eight, for Nora and Aidan at least.) A few are based on their nightmares. Once they pass one, they can move on to the next. Their group separates and changes throughout. I will admit, it did read like a frightening mix of reality and dreams. The situations were 100% nightmare material, but most of the time things weren’t as easy as getting yourself to wake up. Most of the challenges were in fact really difficult. People got injured. One or two of them dragged on forever to the point where I was sure that they wouldn’t have made it if I didn’t know they had to. I myself would definitely not have gotten as far. A couple challenges were a bit confusing and didn’t seem explained at all, but others were pretty relevant.
It was sort of uncomfortable dealing with Nora and Aidan. Their relationship was confusing as heck. Sometimes it was awkwardness, sometimes mistrust, sometimes suspicion, sometimes exasperation. Sometimes they actually seemed to be getting along. (But not most of the time.) It was kind of exhausting. I didn’t think anyone was really very understanding of Nora, even Phoebe, whom she confided in more than the others. I didn’t really grow to like many of the characters. The beginning especially was very awkward, when everything was normal and they were still at college. They seemed like they would be a close group, but they really weren’t. Too many fights. Cody didn’t speak at all and Robin spoke too much. The closest seemed to be Nora and Phoebe but even then they still kept things from each other. As a huge fan of awkwardness, I appreciated this, especially because it made all the later hardship a lot more bearable. If you’re writing horror, please don’t make me fall in love with the characters.
Anyway, yeah, I enjoyed it. I’m always up for a good nightmare. Some of the more mysterious aspects of the plot were frustratingly elusive, even until the end, but I thought it was entertaining enough to focus on the main problem of the Challenges. However, I think the bigger overarching plot will become more apparent in the rest of the series.
reaction upon finishing
Huh. That was an interesting ending. Can’t say it was entirely unexpected though.
this book in one word