A teen ‘Supernatural’ set in a tiny country town…
Genre: Y/A, horror, paranormal
No. of pages: 272
Hendricks discovers that even though Steele House is gone, the hauntings in Drearfield are far from over — and it’s up to her to stop them.
Following the devastating blaze at Steele House, Hendricks and her friends are trying to return to normal. Prom is coming up and the school is in full preparation mode. Hendricks tries to pitch in, to mimic Portia’s enthusiasm, but the events of the last few months still haunt her. Steele House. Raven. Eddie.
Hendricks believes Eddie is still out there. She just has to find a way to reach him. Together with her friends, she forms a circle of seven and attempts to summon his spirit. Suddenly things start happening again. Flickering lights in the school library. Mysterious girls roaming the halls. The same song playing on a loop wherever she goes.
It all culminates in a violent attack and Hendricks realizes what they summoned may not be Eddie at all. The one thing she does know is that Steele House was only the beginning. And whatever they’ve unleashed is more dangerous than anything they’ve ever seen before.
Danielle Vega has quickly become one of my cherished authors – an auto-buy – with her spooky and suspenseful stories that play out like campy horror flicks in your mind’s eye. I just can’t get enough of them. ‘The Unleashed’ is book two following ‘The Haunted’ where we wonder are ghosts really laid to rest, or is there more to the story…
A few frustrating things that are common sense that didn’t happen in the plot… why weren’t parents or another grown-ups told/involved. If my child was behaving the way the main characters were, I’d be inserting myself into the drama no matter what. The other thing… why didn’t anyone search how to protect yourself from ghosts? A circle of salt, or iron filings? Hendricks felt a little too dumb – then just as I was thinking that, she got herself some protection. But I felt like I’d been arguing with the characters for the last five chapters.
After the halfway mark the pacing ramps up big time. I read this book in two sittings anyway, so it is a quick read, but it was hard to put the book down. Danielle knows how to write a YA horror that feels like you are watching a Netflix movie. It has all the same notes as what is typical for this genre. It’s like a cult favourite read of mine. But in saying that, some readers might find this formulaic. It’s just a matter if you want some campy, scary fun, or an original dark tale that will leave you unsettled for months. Either way, Danielle knows how to craft action, an eerie vibe, and moves the story along without getting side-tracked with indulgent prose. Perfect for this demographic.
It was fun meeting the characters again from ‘The Haunted’ and the aftermath of the events that took place in that debut for the series. But I didn’t get the sense of a lot of character development. It didn’t feel as emotional. We do get some great arcs and practical handling of the surviving teens from ‘The Haunted’ which I appreciated.
Some of the side characters did not rally get the chance to shine in the narrative, which was a shame, I was really getting into the book and wanted to see a variety of reactions to the events that take place. Sometimes their actions were a little too convenient… and others, just plain stupid; which is a trope in this genre.
Danielle has become an auto buy author for me, she has a great writing style that is generally not that predictable and told with a tongue-in-cheek sarcasm I find appealing. Definitely recommend even if it did not feel like the strongest novel in her catalogue.
There were a number of grammatical issues that were overlooked where it appeared like an AI had auto-corrected the spelling of a word, but it was the incorrect one in context, disappointing for me. Razorbill really dropped the ball on this one with Danielle because it was more than just a few instances.
On a side note the Epilogue for ‘The Unleashed’ was totally endearing and well worth the read. I hope there is more of this series to come in the future.
Overall feeling: Spooky-ooky goodness!
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