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Lying Season - Karina Halle
A while back, I fell across a new series by an author I had not come across before. It was a series which held fantastic reviews previous to me reading the books, and came well recommended by many different people on a site I am apart of; Goodreads.com - a site which people can share their love of books absolutely free.
Talking of that brilliant word; Free, the very first book in this series; Darkhouse, continues to be free to download on Kindle at Amazon.co.uk. So if you have not already started the series then you have no excuse! If you do not have a kindle then that is not a problem - Amazon allows you to download a PC kindle free also! I really do love that word!
The first book was completely different to most books I have read in this type of genre, and the realness of the writing kept me hooked from beginning to end. I was eager for more, and luckily I had already got hold of the other books in the series, once again on the Kindle, though it is also available in paperback form.
My review on the first books in this series can be found on Ciao.
Lying Season is the fourth book in the 'Experiment in Terror' series. To date, there are six main books in this series, with another one due out later this year (2013) and a further two books (at least) in the future. There are also a number of novellas which fall in between certain main books. These you do not have to read to enjoy and follow the series, though if you are like me and fall in love with this set then you will want to go back and fill in the blanks with these novellas. The main books so far include;
Dead Sky Morning
On Demon Wings
Into the Hollow
Come Alive (Expected out 2013)
Ashes to Ashes (Not yet published)
Dust to Dust (Not yet published)
With all this said, I will now take you on to my review of the first book of the series...
NO LIES HERE
"If you don't deal with your demons, they will haunt you for the rest of your life..."
There are so many vampire, werewolf and faerie books out there, and I admit, I have read a large share of these, though after a while, supernatural and fantasy books along these lines can quite often look the same and make you become almost numb to all things in this genre. This book, and the series as a whole, deals with the supernatural, and in the main, ghosts, though it covers this genre like never before.
The Experiment in Terror series takes the supernatural on to a whole new level in more ways than one. The main focus is upon ghosts and the supernatural, though this book reads so 'real' that you almost forget that you are reading fiction. The author throws in so many twists and turns and throughout the whole series as well as this book, the story takes it one step further and provides amazing entertainment.
In this fourth installment, Perry gets a lot more than she bargained for when she takes a trip to Seattle on the lead up to Christmas to not only attend the internet companies Christmas party, but also take hers and Dex's show to a haunted mental asylum where they come up against a rival show out to ruin their show. To top it all off, Perry is spending the weekend with Dex at his apartment, which would have been alright except for the small matter of sharing the weekend with Dex' girlfriend, Jennifer.
After a couple of days in Seattle, it becomes obvious to Perry that more than one person is lying, though who can she really trust? And what lengths will she go to to find out the truth?
As the weekend draws on, Perry gets further entangled with the lies that surround her and soon finds herself in a dangerous web which puts her love for Dex, as well as their lives, at risk.
Lying Season takes on a slightly different chain of events in comparison to its predecessors. It still continues with the same amazing style, complete with a high sense of 'reality' both within the story as well as with the characters, though in this instalment we really get to know more about the wondrous characters, not only the main ones but the minor characters also.
Although these books center on the supernatural, mainly in the way of spirits and ghosts, we have also seen the haunted lives of both Dex and Perry from the very first book. We have seen their relationship grow and change, and seen their worlds collide as they deal with their every day lives as well as the supernatural hauntings which seem to follow them around. Readers have been cheering and crying whilst following the ups and downs of these two characters from the very beginning, and in this fourth installment, we see their lives and their relationship put through the mill even more so, and climb right to the very top. We find out aspects of their backgrounds that we had not learnt before, and we are thrown right into the middle as their feelings finally come to blows.
Although I have loved every single second of the supernatural parts of this series, it is simply perfect timing at this point of the story that Dex and Perry's relationship is explored further. Of course, in the true style of Experiment in Terror, the story does not leave the ghostly goings on completely alone, and in some ways, although it is more of a minor part in this book compared with the other books, it is almost a leading part of the story. The hauntings almost fuel the relationship changes among not just the main two characters, but others as well, and are written with such passion that you, as the reader, will be drawn completely in to everything about these characters and their story, even more so than before.
Due to the main focus being on the characters, the setting is not at all creepy as we have been accustomed to in this series, though there are times which I did feel a little jumpy. The main setting is that of the 'real' world opposed to the supernatural world, though the few times which we are taken back into this ghostly place continue to be written perfectly in the sense of a true ghost story excerpt, with darkness, weather, noises and more all coming together to create an almost spooky setting as you would expect from a typical ghost story. What is more, the characters themselves fuel this with their realism and although I did not find any scene scary in any way, the fear emanating from the characters does creep under your skin and you still may find yourself checking in those dark corners at night!
I have already mentioned how well written the characters are in this book, as well as the previous books, though I feel that I really need to push this aspect as I feel that it is mainly the characters and the way they are written which really make this story. Never before have I read a main character which I can relate to in many ways, and one which pleads for my full attention to completely. Neither one is fake in any way, and both seem to jump from the page with such perfection - I was absolutely amazed with their characterisations, personalities and the way that they are both written into the story. The minor characters, mainly ones we have not met before, are also perfectly written and you will find that you can easily relate each character to someone you know in reality. They are all so well rounded and you will either love or hate their personalities, though I guarantee that you will not hate their style!
The story, once again, flows perfectly and with the past sub-story growing to all new heights, the style and flow represent more of an urgent prose, with the action reflecting this perfectly.
Have I said 'perfectly' too often in this review? In my opinion, no, as the writing style, story and characters are simply that! I have high praise for the author here!
Unlike the other books, the main story takes off pretty much straight away. It is perhaps a slower story due to the fact that there is less action on the supernatural front, though this does not mean there is any less love for the book. As mentioned, the style may be slightly different, though it matches the storyline as it has grown and developed.
The story did have a small sense of predictability, though enough twists and turns happened which were surprising that the aspects which I did predict did not matter in the slightest.
The story probably best falls into the paranormal romance genre, with more emphisis on the romance part during this book, however backhanded it may be!. The genre, though, is not that easy to place as there are also aspects of amazingly funny humour, supernatural, mystery, thriller...you name it, this book has it all and everything is incorporated into the story in such an amazing way that you don't really concentrate on what genre this should rightfully fit it - you just fall in love with every part of it!
The story is written from the first person perspective as already mentioned, and this is from Perry's perspective. This is a fantastically written viewpoint and we learn just as much as the author wants us to about this character, with the story opening up before us as it does to Perry. We see and feel her insecurities about her life, her body and her thoughts and feelings. We feel her fear. We cry out in shock the moment she does. It is possibly one of the best third person points of view I have read as there is nothing unreal about this character, and although I can not relate to everything about her, there is bound to be something with this person that everyone will be able to relate to.
The following warning is written in the blub of the first book and still applies here;
"The Experiment in Terror series is a horror/romance for mature audiences only. Readers who are easily offended by harsh language should think twice about reading it."
This is something to take note of. I am not one to love reading harsh languages within a book and often feel that it is put there for no good reason other than the way younger readers tend to speak these days, though I do admit that most of this language within this book feels right to be there. Perhaps it is the 'real' feeling of the characters and storyline which makes these words seem in the right places? Perhaps it is something else, though either way, I was not offended by it in the slightest and it became as part of this story as the characters themselves were. There is a lot of this type of harsh language, though, so do be warned.
Other aspects to be aware of are such things as violence, sexual tension and mental health. All of these pop their heads in and out of the pages throughout the story, with the sexual tension going a lot further in this book than ever before.
So what makes this book any different to other books along these lines?
Everything makes this book different from other books along the ghostly/supernatural lines. Yes, it does have elements from other books and films, a couple which spring to mind is the US television series of Supernatural and also X.Files, though still, I find that this book goes even further. The fact that it is a continuation story from the previous books also build on the originality. It is certainly not a book to be read if you have not followed the story right from the very beginning in the Darkhouse.I think it is the perfectly written reality of it all which keeps it grounded whilst allowing the mind to roam free which creates such an amazing read. The story is not overly unique in many ways, though there are a number of surprises, and again, the way it is written creates the feel of something until now, left undiscovered. Also, due to the element of truth in the story of the island, it makes the whole story become that much more real.
One thing which I find very important in a book is the ending. A story can be written perfectly, though if the ending is wrong, then it gives me a really terrible feel to the whole book, almost as though I feel my time was wasted reading it, even if I did enjoy the rest of the story.
So how does the ending of this book compare?
One word: 'Wow!'
The ending is something which astounds, shocks, invites and brings so many different emotions that you are going to want more immediately - even more so than in any of the previous books and that is saying something. The almighty cliff-hanger is probably one of the best I have ever read, so make sure you have the next book ready as you will certainly not want to wait.
"For once, I felt everything. And the biggest thing I felt was the way I felt about you. That was like a hammer to the heart."
There were a few moments in this book in which I felt the pace slowing down too much, though on the whole, this was a fantastic fourth book in this already fantastic series, and if I felt at any moment during reading this book that my star rating was going down, the ending surely brought it back up again with flying colours.
If you have not read the first three books then I would certainly recommend doing so now. This is not a book to be read before entering this world from the very beginning and so much in this book depends on what you already know. Without this information, the power and emotion of both the storyline and characters will be lost on you, and you really need to read this and feel everything there needs to be felt.
Will I read the next book?
I have already read the next book! I just could not stop reading, and therefore I am a little behind on my reviews of this set, though I will get there! Trust me, if you like this type of genre then you will fall in love with this series. On the other hand, my friend is not usually one to read this type of book though she, like me, has fallen for the story and characters.
This story is approximately 349 pages depending on which format you are reading.
The price of this book on Amazon is slightly more than many books of this kind coming in between £7 to £10 for the paperback form. The Kindle book is a lot cheaper at only £2.49. That is my kind of price! Don't worry if you don't have a Kindle, simply go to Amazon.co.uk and download their Kindle app absolutely free to your PC and then download the Kindle book in seconds.
Do I recommend this book?
Without a Doubt!