Plot: Nora has seen her fair share of craziness. But when a trip with friends turns into a battle for survival, it takes things to a whole new level. Sucked into The Demon’s Grave – a realm that can only be described as hell – Nora must battle against her nightmares if she wants to make it home again.
She isn’t alone. But mistrust was building long before the Challenges begun and Nora isn’t sure she can rely on her friends to get home safely. Nora must face demons – both from her past and future – to battle against the odds to survive.
Quote: `Hungry spiders crawled through my dreams. Just like they’d done when I was five. Though it wasn’t them I had to watch out for, there was something bigger and meaner out to get me.`
Opinion: For the majority of this book, I wasn’t sure whether I was enjoying it or not. The characterisation seemed weak and confusing at the start and the plot had so many creepy elements to it, I was too on edge to enjoy it. But as it progressed, I noticed I was gripped and that eventually, I couldn’t put it down. When it came to the ending, I realised I wanted to read the second book. Something must have been done right then.
This is not to be read if you have arachnophobia. The book was advertised as fantasy – which is true. But I had the shivers for a vast majority. Answers were withheld and the demons the characters had to face were every-day fears. The descriptions, however, brought those fears to life and truly drew the reader in. Effectively done, but better if you have some sort of warning about the book.
Nora’s characterisation is good. All of them are, in fact. But the start of the book has a growing “feeling” – not of a positive kind – between her and another character. It doesn’t get noted on by her friends and is dwelled on for too long without explanation at the start. Nora’s past is clearly traumatic, but it is not apparent which characters know her backstory. Elements of the supernatural are introduced early on and it needed to be made more apparent who believes and who is a sceptic and why.
Once the characters had passed from this world, the plot became stronger. The descriptions of their fear was well written – Nora was clearly terrified but wasn’t depicted as weak. However, some of the descriptions were repetitive – Damien’s “obsidian gaze” is a constant fixture throughout the whole book. When you notice a phrase repeating, it becomes an annoyance. This weakened the writing when the rest was strong and worked to engage the reader with unfolding events.
Despite it taking time for me to be convinced by this book, I enjoyed it. I would like to read the next one as it ends on a cliff-hanger with unanswered questions. If a book can grip me that way, then it has been written moderately well.