Horrorscape by Nenia Campbell

Horrorscape - Nenia Campbell

Second book syndrome strikes again. Fearscape was one of my favorite reads 2014 and I've been meaning to read this for a while. It'd been sitting on my shelf for a while and, not bothering to read the blurb, I began.

She hated the way her heart seized when she looked up from the lamp she was steadying with a shaking hand and saw him smile, because it wasn't entirely due to fear. 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.

Horrorscape is not like Fearscape. While Fearscape read like a realistic story about Valerian and her stalker, Horrorscapereads, more than anything, like a slasher film. What made the first book so good was the realistic element to it. Not saying the second is devoid of realism, but it's not quite the same. Horrorscape takes place at a party in a mansion far away from the public. Valerian and her friends are invited to a party on the property by a stranger that is yet to reveal who he is. But alas, they go, and soon find themselves fighting for their lives.

This reading like a slasher film would not necessarily be a bad thing, but it adds little to the overall story. With the ending, it is clear what the purpose of this installment is, but during this story there is little character development. Mostly, it's sitting around waiting for Gavin to be creepy (which he is in spades, by the way) and waiting for someone to die. Also, given what the characters went through in the first book, especially Valerian, it's hard to understand why they make the choices they do. Having been stalked, and yet agrees to go to a party where she knows no one, as well as the invitation signing with the same initials as her stalker? That's quite a stretch at what is believable.

Plot aside, Gavin's character and Campbell's writing is enough to make this an overall okay read. From the go, we know that Gavin is crazy. In this book, there's no holding back. Gavin goes on the hunt, and he is good at it. Gavin is full of surprises. He might be a villain, but I love reading about his character. Which brings us to Campbell's writing. Did I mention that I adore it? Well, I do. It's just so sharp and rich, full of great descriptions on both setting and characters.

All in all, not the strongest plot, but engaging writing and a great setup for the third book!