by Killion Slade
What an opening chapter!!
This novel has a great opening premise three sisters who run a horror based gaming site; Cheyenne is the main narrator however she is scared of all things scary, especially haunted houses! Dakota is her baby sister and basically the wild child. Counter that with Sheridan the older sister, who is the brains of the outfit, stir in lots of love, giggles, a traumatic matriarch death and a kooky father and you have a fabulous set of characters ready to love.
Then the gaming side of things kicks in, but this really gives a good edge to the story chiefly as Cheyenne’s avatar is basically her alter ego who just happens to be in a two year virtual relationship with Roxas, and boy oh boy does he have a whopper of a secret!
I adored the dogs Beano and Stormaggeddon! They do play an integral part in the story in keeping our heroine sane! As for PADME, Cheyenne’s holographic PA system, she is brilliant and I want one, now.
Up until the haunted house chapter it was all quite pleasant and whilst you could feel a gentle build up of potential horror, even if it was just the fancy dress outfits (the ravenous bush had me in stitches) and I was ready and expecting some gore and splatter but then all hell broke loose and I think I fell into a different novel.
The sudden intensity of the writing and sheer horror of what was going on gave me goose bumps but I was now hooked and needed to get through the terror to see if Cheyenne made it out alive.
On a negative note, there was quite a lot of online gaming speak at the beginning and if you are a total non-player like myself, you might get a bit confused; but it soon pans out and you get used the phrases. I totally loved all the little added extras (links to secret pages), almost like secrets, not sure how a print version would cope with that concept but rock on the e-version!
Also, after the haunted house scene there were so many fabulous ideas, new worlds, new characters and such that it was very intense for a little bit in the middle there and could have almost done with some more filler or at least a slower explanation of everything.
However, when Cheyenne finally heals and her new self is revealed from all the scarring and wounds, a whole underworld is opened to her. The real and the virtual world soon integrate to become a novel of hide and go seek with monsters, kidnapped sisters and plots of world domination.
From this point I could not have put the book down had my house been burning down, thankfully it wasn’t, although my hubby had to fend for himself AND feed the cats!
I loved all the snappy telling, pokes of humour, brilliant supernatural characters and adored the romance element and what women doesn’t want a man to rub her feet!
All the other members of the ExsanguiNation gaming company all come with their own little secrets and make for any interesting lunch and day out at the super spa! (and that’s super as in supernatural! Does your dragon need a manicure??).
Riveted until the final words, which bytheway were cruel in their temptation of the next in this series (and I hope it’s a long one!), I found this to be a whirlwind roller coaster ride of fun, surprise and bottom clenching moments.
I thought the reference list at the end was an amazing way to finish as it really gave a little jolt of reminders of special places in the book.
Killion Slade is a brand new author and wow what a way to start.
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