So I received this book in my Go Indie Now! October box. I’m always a fan of receiving books in general, and with this subscription I get to explore books I might not (let’s be real, definitely would not) have heard of otherwise. This is Beverley Lee’s first book and it was an exciting read for the month of October!
Why it appealed to me even though it’s a not well known book and published by a small company:
-It was not super scary! I love October, my birthday is 3 days before Halloween. I love orange and black together. I love costumes, candy, halloween snacks, the dark music, and black cats. I don’t however like scary movies or being scared in general. This book is dark fantasy, but it is not overwhelmingly scary. It has scary elements, but not ones that make you want to lock the front door and huddle under the covers with a flashlight all night.
-It had an interesting premise. Gabriel is trying to figure out what happened the night of a big snowstorm when his mother lost all her marbles, and his dad died in a car crash that might be more sinister than we think.
Now onto the spoiler riddled review. I always write with spoilers, so if you don’t want to have the plot spoiled for you I suggest reading this book. I personally give it 8/10 stars, 4.5 out of 5 for good reads sake. I feel there’s more room on the 10 star rating system to still like a book, but not feel like you’ve given it a failing grade by giving it 4 stars haha.
The beginning of the book starts with our main character as a baby. His mother, Beth, is home alone waiting for her husband Stu to come home from work. They have just moved into a renovated farm house in the countryside of England. Recently they went to an antique store and Stu gravitated towards a box that the owner was very happy to rid himself of. Beth feels freaked out with the box upstairs, especially when it starts to snow heavily. Stu calls to say he can’t make it back home. Beth freaks out and throws the box in the snow, but not before accidentally opening it. That is when Aka Maga creeps out.
He’s apparently a demon that has been in there for centuries waiting to wreak havoc upon the world, and has set his sight on possessing Gabriel. He can’t possess adults. Just animals and children. The demon starts making the lights go out and moving the furniture around. Beth starts to get extremely worried, and attempts to call Stu. Unfortunately her cell phone shatters and then this smoke comes from her fireplace. But not the nice smoke you get from firewood. Instead it’s a choking, evil smoke.
A priest, Noah, attempts to drive in the snowstorm on his way back home from visiting a parishioner. Unfortunately his car ends up in the ditch near Beth & Stu’s house. He walks to the house to find the back door open and Beth staring blankly into the distance. She is in shock. He immediately notices things are not quite right when he finds the furniture piled together in a haphazard way in the living room. He begins to dismantle it, and put Gabriel in a crib, when he sees the lion stuffed animal with no head. Aka Maga begins to attack the priest, but he pulls out his psalms book and starts praying with the word of God. The demon is wounded and runs away. The house is peaceful once more. Then a neighbor shows up and he calls back home for his wife to call for an ambulance. Beth is taken to the hospital, Noah calls Stu and leaves a voice message saying that his wife is in the hospital, and then we learn that he apparently tried to rush home in the snowstorm and ended up crashing his car. It is implied that the demon could have caused the car crash, but it is never focused on again, so we don’t know completely. Noah takes Beth and Gabriel to the mansion where Carver, Olivia, and Ollie live.
Carver is an explorer of all things supernatural, and teaches children with abilities to explore and uncover things with him. Olivia and Ollie are twins that the foster system failed. They went from home to home, due to their strange abilities. Olivia could see ghosts, while Ollie could levitate items. Gabriel is now 15 years old. His mother lives in a room in the house, barely functional and with the brain of a small innocent child. She bares the scars of what happened to her through the premature white hair.
Olivia has destroyed Gabriel’s house. She decided to set fire to it, so that there would be no connection for the demon to come back to. Carver is impressed with her thinking, but also is now fearful because…
Carver has a secret that he wants Noah to know about. He has not destroyed the box Aka Maga lived in. He thought it interesting and kept it in his vault to study. But he fears that it is now going to be their downfall, and asks Noah to take it back to the church with him.
The housekeeper, Ella, is missed at breakfast. The gang goes looking for her and finds that she has had a stroke. They send her away to the hospital to hopefully recover.
Beth is then noticed to have disappeared. Carver and Olivia go searching for her. They find her at the burned up old house. Olivia sees Stu’s ghost there. Beth apparently followed him to their old house. He doesn’t say anything, and disappears as quickly as he appeared.
When Noah goes into the basement to collect the box he is distracted by Gabriel falling down the other side of the basement’s stairs. He falls due to a bird luring him to the basement with noises and then swooping into his face. When Carver goes to look at the vault the box is gone! The bird is Aka Maga in disguise. He is let into the house by Beth. With no one to look after her, she has opened the window for this creature and given him the name: Secret.
Carver begins to question people about the whereabouts of the box, save Gabriel, because he had no idea it was there. Olivia leaves the house in a rage after Carver accuses her of stealing the box. She drives away while throwing her phone out the car window. Carver continuously tries to contact Olivia throughout the whole affair, but to no avail.
We then pan over to a group of vampires led by Clove who has under his care Moth & Teal, younger vampires who are not in full control of their powers yet. Clove tells them to keep hidden in the shed while he goes to check out the manor. He has a slight run in with the demon and is threatened to stay away from Gabriel and the others. Clove does not like to be threatened, so he tosses his hat into the ring.
Then a big thunderstorm rolls in. Carver wants everyone to stay in the house, but can’t reach Olivia. Beth ends up missing yet again. They believe she’s out in the storm, but Noah advises against searching for her because he feels that the demon wants them separated. Gabriel is worried that his mother won’t do well in the storm though, because it is a winter rain.
At some point Noah goes out in search of Beth, in the guise of fixing a salad for dinner. He trips and is attacked by the bird. A cross is burned upside down into his forehead.
Beth is seen traveling to the lair where Moth and Teal are holed up. She is bleeding. Teal is tempted too easily and he attacks.
Olivia is at the house when Stu appears again. He tells her about the demon and to find something at the church that will save her family. She goes racing off down the road, the bird causes her to crash her car in a ditch.
Gabriel runs out into the storm begging for the demon to take him and leave his friends alone. Clove finds him and tells him he shouldn’t give up life so easily. He tells Gabriel he will help fix everything. They travel back to the shed to find Teal and Moth missing and human blood on the ground. Gabriel works it out pretty fast that his mother was the one attacked. Clove says that she won’t last long once she has been fed upon.
Noah makes it back into the manor. Ollie and Carver are worried about Gabe, until he shows up with the vampires. They are concerned, but decide to make a pact to face this thing. Ollie goes off alone and has a sexual fantasy about Gabe. Up until this point I personally had no idea that he was into Gabe whatsoever. While I think this book does well with the plot and descriptions of the setting, there is a lack of character background that would have been useful.
Now Gabe goes to check on Ollie, but is attacked by him. He is possessed by Aka Maga. Apparently having gay sex fantasies lets one be susceptible to demons?????? I’m going to go with it’s because he dreamed about fucking Gabe until he bled and that’s why he was possessed, rather than being gay leads one to the devil 🙂 Moth attacks Ollie, but in the process goes too far and Ollie is now dead. Although he kind of had to be killed since he was possessed….
Meanwhile Olivia survived the car crash!! Here I thought both twins were dead for good. She makes it to the church with the help of the Davenports old neighbor. She grabs whatever it is she needs and then they set off to the manor.
Beth also gets a nice little scene where she and Stu go off to the other side together. So 2 characters down, who’s next?
We also learn that Aka Maga didn’t used to be a bad guy. He was a boy sold into slavery to a priestess who used him for sex…Creepy…Pedophilia…..Then the Catholics? came and told him he was evil for worshipping a priestess and they locked his soul in a box along with his heart they cut out of his chest. Seems a bit overboard for a young boy….And now I can’t truly hate him, because he has a sad backstory 😦
When it comes down to the wire Clove bites Gabe just as Olivia rushes in with some homemade crosses she throws at the demon. The demon is both destroyed and Gabe is dead. Well that was a surprising ending.
But wait, there’s more! Clove is seen carrying Gabe’s body. He places him on the floor. And then Gabe wakes up..dun dun dun!!!!! Gabe is a vampire. And there’s a part 2 coming soon to a theater near you.
So while the characters were enjoyable I feel that this book loses a point for hardly any backstory whatsoever. We get Stu and Beth, subsequently some on Gabriel. A bit on Noah and Carver. A smidgen on Ollie and Olivia. But nothing really on what they’ve been doing for the past 15 years….Then I’d say the love story was a bit random. There was no indication that Ollie liked Gabe, unless we count the fact that he was going to help Gabe get into the vault. But that seems like something a friend would do irregardless of repressed sexual feelings. Ollie is also 19 and Gabe is 15. Idk how it works in the UK, but in America we call that statutory rape 🙂 While I’m all for love knows no bounds, it’s still a bit creepy. Especially the part where he want to fuck Gabe until he bleeds. Such a lovely relationship. So minus .5 Then the other .5 comes from the misleading synopsis. It tells us that Gabriel is looking for answers to his mysterious past. Leading me to believe that he actually lived part of the mysteriousness when he could form memories. And that he was going on a mystery hunt, when in all reality his ploy to go into the vault was foiled by a demon that came back to him 15 years later. Why the lag dude? It also says the people he trusts are harboring secrets…Well Carver has the secret of the box. And Ollie his love. But Noah has nothing, unless we count his diminishing faith over his ability to fight the demon. And Olivia doesn’t unless we also count the 5 seconds of secret she had about destroying his family home. From the synopsis I thought I would be reading a mystery book. Instead I read a dark fantasy. Now there’s nothing wrong with this. I really enjoy this book! But being misled by inside flaps and back of the books is something that angers me just a little.
Overall I highly recommend reading her book. I’m sure she would love any support from you patronizing her material. There will be 3 parts in total, and I can’t wait to give you feedback when I read the next book. It’s slated to come out sometime 2017!!