Dead Angels (Kiera Hudson Series Two #2) by Tim O’Rourke

Kiera Hudson, Kiera HudsonAfter reading ‘Dead Flesh (Keira Hudson Series Two, Book One)’ and the novella, ‘Dead Night – Potter’s Secrets (Keira Hudson Series Two, Book 1.5)’, the reader is aware that Keira and her friends are existing in a different world, almost a parallel universe. A world that they once knew but has now been ‘pushed’ and life is not quite the way it was before.

The beginning of this novel carries on from ‘Dead Flesh’ as the gang are at Hallowed Manor with the addition of Sam, who, since leaving the chapel at Ravenwood Boarding School and almost being matched with a wolf, is ill and feverish. With Kayla looking after him she hopes he will make a full recovery but this is uncertain. It is not known how far the matching went. Will he die? Will he be human? Or, will he become a skin-walker? He does show some signs of this, however it is not absolutely clear.

Kayla will do anything in her power to try and save Sam. He is in-between stages of turning and he is very ill. So when he asks to be taken to the Fountain of Souls, this is exactly what Kayla wants too. After a discussion the whole gang prepare to leave Hallowed Manor. However, during the beginning of their journey they are followed by skin-walkers. Hopefully, without spoiling too much, there is a great deal of intense action in these first few chapters and the gang are on the run from the skin-walkers and Berserkers. They manage to find an old train station to rest in whilst the reader is given more insight into Isidor’s character.

As the story unfolds the reader discovers that this particular novel, even though written from the points of view of Keira and the points of view of Isidor, has it’s main focus on Isidor. Isidor is a character, until now, that the reader knew little about – especially about his past. This book opens up Isidor’s soul as we begin to understand his character and some of his reasons for the way he is. The action of this novel dies down and becomes more emotional, focusing largley on the storyline and using Isidor as narrator to his own past. There are questions that previous novels have left me asking about Isidor, and here the answers are revealed.

We are introduced to a new character, Melody Rose. I absolutely took to her from the first time we hear about her. She is a beautiful, kind human girl. She is treated differently by some of those around her as she has been brought up in a strange manner. But, as she is different it allows her to understand others that are different and, therefore is more accepting and treat them more as an equal. It would be cruel of me to go into any more detail regarding Melody or the storyline without giving any more away. I am, therefore, hoping that if you have not read this novel yet to please do.

I must admit that this is not my favourite novel of the series for a few reasons. However, bear in mind that I have read all of the books to this series, up to this point, including the novellas. As this book focuses on Isidor and the last novella ‘Dead Night – Potter’s Secrets’ focused on Potter I have missed Keira terribly. Her character has not been featured as much and I would like to hear about her ‘seeing’ ability again in solving mysteries and crimes – a return of her investigative side. Also, Potter did not feature too heavily in this book either. But, as said above, I do understand that the reader needed to be more connected to Isidor and understand his past and character.

I was missing a little action in the middle of Isidor’s story, however this did pick up a little towards the end of the novel again, knowing that the following book ‘Dead Statues (Keira Hudson Series Two, Book Three)’ will begin with more adventure to come. I felt that this novel was a little short and towards the end we are given the chance to read some short stories that the character, Isidor, had written after being influenced by humans and the world above ground. I wasn’t too sure about these, however, after reading some other reviews I should have guessed myself that Tim O’Rourke certainly does not write these stories without having an underlying meaning to them. As the series continues to grow the reader will discover their meaning and connection and I am excited to be on this magical journey. I would love to become Keira just so I could piece it all together myself!

One of the things I love about Tim O’Rourke’s writing is that he always sets each scene well. He never overstates anything, allowing the reader to visualise for themselves, however he does give us enough atmosphere to create our emotions and connect with the characters, storyline and scenery. I have noticed, especially in the more recent books, that the weather plays a huge part in this. It is either night time or dark and cloudy, with stormy weather, i.e. wind, rain, thunder and lightning.

The use of music, usually playing on the iPod, also means a great deal. This also sets the mood of the scene that we are reading. It helps to tell the story of the characters. There is no iPod in this novel, but a radio. There is a song that is referred to more than once, regarding two of the characters in this book and it does help everything connect beautifully. The song is not for me to name, but for the reader to discover. The song choice initially surprised me but it does fit perfectly well.

At the time of writing this review I have begun to read the following novel, ‘Dead Statues (Keira Hudson Series Two, Book Three)’ and although I have only read a few pages I am gripped!

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Vampire Hollows (Kiera Hudson Series One #5) by Tim O’Rourke

Well, ‘Vampire Hollows (Keira Hudson Book 5, Series One)’ is certainly full of surprises. It has been a rollercoaster ride of good and bad, highs and lows and the impact it has on the readers’ emotions is extraordinary.

Tim O’Rourke’s writing is as descriptive as ever regarding the scenery, so much so that it feels like you are actually there, spectating the events that unfold. I have never experienced a book that captures the soul as the Keira Hudson novels do. It is an experience that makes you feel so alive, like you are a part of the story, like you are a character in the story, assisting Keira on her journey.

Keira has gradually been changing and becoming slightly more like a Vampyrus throughout the series and because of how gradual this has taken place the reader does not disconnect with her in any way. Keira was as human as you and I during the Ragged Cove adventure (with the exception of her being able to see the most obvious and piecing it together very quickly) and it is only when looking back at the first novel that we realise how far she has come. And yet we love her, perhaps even moreso than when we were first introduced. I love the fact that she can control her new features and how she flies. The description on how she flies through the air, with the skin on her face rippling, due to her velocity and the wind blowing at her, is just exhilarating and makes it all the more realistic. Also, her seeing ability is still present as we are taken back and forth into her mind’s eye. Some scenes here are graphic and remind me of the tv programme ‘Silent Witness’.

Wherever Keira seems to end up her prize possessions never leave her: Murphy’s crucifix and her beloved iPod. The use of this iPod and the song choices, as mentioned in earlier reviews, have a very stronghold in connecting with the characters and the scene that they are used in. It does not disappoint!

Potter is by far my favourite character, even above Keira I have to say. He is like, to me, a younger version of the character Gene Hunt from the ‘Life on Mars’ and ‘Ashes to Ashes’ series. Even though he is meant to be young, he is witty, sarcastic, moody, stubborn, etc, with oldskool phrases suchas “easy, tiger” and “sweetcheeks”. He is a man of mystery and darkness, and yet he is very moral and loyal. We are constantly kept on our toes wondering if he is the traitor or not.

There are so many twists and turns that absolutely nothing is obvious. This series truly is an escape that feels so real. There are also many questions for the reader to seek answers to: is Luke still alive; will Potter resuce him; who is Elias Munn; will Keira decide to end all human life or end the Vampyrus’?

The Vampyrus truly are incredible creatures and the description of their wings sounds breathtakingly beautiful. I imagine the movie ‘Michael’ with John Travolta and the more recent ‘Legion’ with Paul Bettany when picturing their wings. They sound heavenly even though some are cruel creatures. Which leads me again to reiterate some of my earlier reviews of this series that the characters are very believable. They all say and do both good and bad, making it near impossible to find out who the possible ‘traitor’ amongst the group is.

Again, there are different types of beings to look out for with Vampyrus, Lycanthrope and half-breeds. The Lycanthrope character, Jack Seth, is a large guy, reminding me of Alcide Herveaux from the ‘True Blood’ tv series but with the moodiness and, for me, a slight disconnection like that of Jacob in the ‘Twilight Saga’.

We are also introduced to new characters, such as Coanda and The Elders. The Elders seem to hold the authority in the Hollows and nothing seems to get passed them. They cannot be fooled.

Even writing this review now I cannot escape the atmosphere of the book. The Hollows are a mix of caves and dark tunnels with some open spaces. The rocks are mostly red, like you would imagine on Mars, however some areas within the tunnels are grey and dark. Some areas are mountainous while other areas are wooded. Then there is the light from the Lighthouse, the lava, the ash and dust and the murky fog in the tunnels. If you would like adventure, action, mystery, love, and excitement this series will completely blow you away.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Wolf House (Potter’s Story) (Kiera Hudson Series One #4.5) by Tim O’Rourke

I was very excited to read this novella to understand Potter’s character more as all of the main feature novels are written from Keira’s point of view. In this novella, we have an insight into Potter’s thoughts. We find out about Potter’s history and his relationships with Luke and Murphy; his feelings on Keira; and also, we learn a little about the Lycanthrope’s character and how murderous they have and can be.

Potter maintains his dark, mysterious, moody self and behaves in an awkward manner to those around him, which I absolutely love in his character. It is rarely that his softer emotions are revealed, making him more exciting and believable. He does not suffer fools gladly, however there are moments when he should work as part of a team without being so stubborn.

Even though this novella is very informative, well written and has a good story I couldn’t help but feel that something was amiss in comparison to the main feature novels. I felt that Potter was missing some passion and rage somewhere. I didn’t quite connect emotionally to the character as I have before. This may be due to how tired I was when reading or perhaps Tim O’Rourke was holding back for the main feature.

Either way, this novella does help us understand Potter as it gives a great background of his character. I would have liked more mention of Keira but I suppose there is nothing more for Potter to think. He is very black and white with his outlook and as he admits himself, he is not a romantic.

The actual story of this novella is set in a dilapidated house in the woods, which gives it a dark, eerie feel and Potter cannot trust anyone. His investigative skills are highlighted and amid the twists and turns there is some action. This novella is still a little treat for fans of Potter and the Keira Hudson series.

I cannot wait to get my head into ‘Vampire Hollows (Keira Hudson Series One, #5)’. Will Potter find Luke? I’m off to find out!

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Vampire Hunt (Kiera Hudson Series One #3)

I am writing this review after reading ‘Vampire Breed (Keira Hudson, #4)’ as I didn’t get chance in between due to being ill. First things first, I’d like to congratulate Tim O’Rourke on this captivating series. It is a thrilling, exciting adventure that is written to the point but with tremendous depth of storyline, characters, action and gore. Each scene creates a different atmosphere and shows great imagination and throughout the series I have been visualising different scenes to be that similar of those from various tv programmes and films but with their own unique twist and originality.

The characters of this series are very strong and unique and keep to their own personality. They are decisive with their own feelings of rage, passion, loyalty and trust. And together, as a team, they work beautifully even when having their own personal issues to deal with.

The main focus of book 3 is to find Kayla. Where have the Vampyrus taken her? What are they going to do to her? With the leadership of Murphy they set out and have an enormous amount to deal with on their journey. Can Keira trust everybody who is with her? Where does her heart lie? How will the change affect her?

The group have to travel over uneven terrain in all weathers, trusting Murphy and coping as survivors. They need shelter during the day, they need food and they need to find Kayla. The vampires come out at night, the Vampyrus will be on the hunt and we are introduced to the Lycanthrope. Do they all pose a threat?

With the change happening gradually to Keira we are all surprised at different points of this book as Keira is able to deal with situations differently than she could before. But the reader is constantly kept on their toes and nobody knows what is coming around the corner.

The scenes at the monastery are dark, eerie, scary and exhilarating all at the same time. But do they find what they seek? I hope I’ve asked enough questions for you to want to read this series of brilliance. Right, off to write my review on ‘Vampire Breed (Keira Hudson, #4’).

Reviewed by Caroline Barker