Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Book Review: Fearscape by Simon Holt


The Vours: evil, demonic beings that inhabit human bodies on Sorry Night, the darkest hours of the Winter Solstice.

It's been a year since Reggie first discovered the Vours, and the Winter Solstice is approaching once again. It will be another night of unspeakable horror for those unlucky enough to be taken by the Vours, because this time, she won't be able to stop them. The Vours have imprisoned Reggie in a psychiatric hospital, where she is subjected to a daily routine of unfathomably sadistic experiments. Her life is a living Hell, but she won't give up. They attacked her brother. They killed her friend. And Reggie will never stop fighting back.


The Short Version:
Keeping in line with the first two books, Fearscape continues Reggie's struggle in new and shocking ways. There is an almost constant note of terror weaved throughout this book, and the full scope of things is genius in nature and almost unbelievable in scope. Though Reggie's character continues to be battered and tested, she pushes herself beyond even the limits she thought she had. With some new characters, but a cast centered around the same ones we know, Fearscape kicks things up a few notches with flawless and bold, detailed writing.

The Extended Version:
Reggie finds herself lost in the aftermath of Soulstice, being tested in almost unimaginable ways and struggling to find reasons to keep pushing through it. Her battle is painful and twisted, but her inner strength shines through in equally astonishing ways. As this book progresses, Reggie faces plenty of other events and trials, some surprising and some much needed. The way she handles everything, even when she comes off as bratty, is understandable and her motivations clear.

Aaron makes some new strides in this installment as well, having already changed in some ways but steps up in other ways now. His loyalty to Reggie is so intense it's almost a detriment, and his dislike of Quinn has a similar effect. Now deeper into everything related to the Vours and trying almost anything to save Reggie, Aaron makes some interesting decisions and pushes the plot in new ways, now grown into a character as dominating and important as Reggie herself.

Quinn, too, makes some interesting changes in this installment and the reader finally gets a much closer look into him and his life. There are some poignant scenes involving Quinn, and he has a stunning role throughout this book. Quinn and Reggie find some common ground between them, bonding them in a way many can't understand, and this particular facet is handled delicately and smoothly.

The new fearscapes the reader sees are intricate, and Holt's ability to create them and weave Reggie through them is as on point in Fearscape as with the previous books. This plot really pushes things forward, having a surprising overall scope that is impossible to predict and almost gutting to realize. The subtle similarities to real life kick up the emotion and terror as well, and though some parts of the book were slower than others, it was clear Reggie needed those slow times.

Still written in third person, the connections between the reader and the characters remain strong. Holt's writing is flawless and attentive to details, weaving a strong picture for the reader. From the fearscapes to the action, everything is brought to life. The events of this book are pretty much all tied up, leaving the reader in a good place but also leaving things open for another book. The almost impossibility of defeating the Vours continues to drive things, as does the strength of humanity and goodness, all tying up to be yet another hit and fantastic read.

Source: Purchased
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (October 5, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 031603570X
ISBN-13: 978-0316035705


  1. Oh my gosh... that makes me want to rush out and buy. Nice!

  2. I need to read this one. I love his writing and the first two books where totally amazing. Great revieW!

  3. Wow, I really want to go out and get this one now. I loved the first one. If you want to try a little short form fiction (like two sentences!), BooksOnBoard is running a neat contest and it's addictive! http://www.booksonboard.com/index.php?F=009989_20_word_story_halloween_writing_contest

  4. I loved the first book. I must finish this series.

  5. I have not read this series, but loved your review, which is making me quite curious about reading these. Thanks!