Dead Water (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 6) by Tim O’Rourke

Dead Water (Kiera Hudson Series Two, #6)It is such a treat to read a Tim O’Rourke story. As it has been a few months since I have read Dead Wolf (Keira Hudson Series 2 Book 5), I was beginning to think I’d forget where I left off! Oh no, not with Tim. His writing allows for the reader to easily carry on the Keira journey, with reminders throughout where the story has been to. Therefore also allowing a fresh reader to the series to settle into the story. With Vampyrus, Lycanthrope, Skin-Walkers and more, this paranormal series will grip you like no other!

Dead Water largely follows half-breed Keira and Vampyrus Potter and Murphy travel to the Dead Water, in search of their friends, Kayla and Sam. During their journey, in the ‘pushed’ world they have found themselves in, they are gradually turning into statues, cracking and slowly turning to dust. However, during moments of ingesting a little blood they are able to keep going until they reach their destination. Upon finding it a little too easy to have reached their destination, Keira fears that not all is as it seems!

After reading the subsequent novel, fans of the series are absolutely desperate to know how Keira and Potter’s relationship will fare. In Dead Water we follow the story from Keira’s and Potter’s points of view. It is more than fair to say that at the beginning of Dead Water Keira is quite hurt and upset. After finding out who she really is, and that her lover and friend, Potter and Murphy, have been lying to her she doesn’t really have much to say to them. Potter, in particular, has a hard time from Keira especially as Keira feels betrayed by him in more ways than one. Unfortunately for Potter, Keira doesn’t want to hear that he was only trying to protect her and spare her feelings. She can’t possibly give in to him as she knows she would only get hurt again.

Poor Potter was actually betrayed himself, with the idea of upsetting and manipulating Keira. It is so clear why fans of this series love Potter. His feelings are so strong but not always transparent to Keira. However, reading his point of view the reader does understand him and the reader wants to pull Keira aside to explain this to her. There have been moments when Potter has been a little too trusting of others, especially of the female kind, and has ended up in some messy situations!

Even though there are some pretty intense moments between Potter and Keira, on the other hand there are some really great scenes with Potter and Murphy. In regards to Keira, Murphy is a little overbearing in an observant and protective manner. However, some of Murphy’s remarks to Potter about her are obvious, annoying or over the top. It’s almost like Murphy is trying to get a rise out of Potter. To which Potter replies brilliantly in his sarcastic manner which made me laugh out loud at times. This provided a great relief in between the overall tense feeling.

I also thought it was fantastic to read about Keira using her investigative skills, trying to find Kayla and Sam, as she returns to the snow-covered field where they had been involved with a wolf attack with Potter and Murphy in Chapter 4. (This is where many of Potter’s sarcasm comes to the fore with Murphy!) This scene, as well as how Keira carefully works out what has happened as she illuminates certain possibilities, really took me down memory lane to the first instalment of Keira when she first visited the Ragged Cove and met Potter and Murphy in Vampire Shift! Here Keira was taken to her first scene where a body was found just within the tree-line of a field and Keira used her ‘seeing’ abilities to spot the smallest of details! This scene is very fresh in my mind, especially after having read the Graphic Novel of Vampire Shift a few weeks ago.

The excitement grows with each chapter. There is a great use of dialogue, as in many of Tim’s books. This makes it a fun and quick read, even though the plot itself is very rich in intensity and depth. The scenery changes so much, along with the weather conditions, as the story moves on. This again is typical of Tim O’Rourke, especially in the Keira Hudson series. We begin with snow, fields, the blood red Dead Water, the upward current of the Fountain of Souls, forestry and the town of Wasp Water. You can also gauge from some of these names that Tim’s imagination takes you to a completely different ‘pushed’ world of your own as the stories remain alive and strangely real. It is also regular for Tim to introduce new characters and in this instance it comes in the form of statues, which have strangely been following Keira and her friends to the Dead Water.

The ending of this one will certainly shock many fans. On the one hand I am thinking, ‘Tim, what have you done!?’, and on the other I am quite excited of the possibilities that it could bring. I do have my own theories so I hope I am right. I personally believe that if an author does surprise you, even in a negative manner, that it is a work of brilliance. These days I don’t think it takes much to shock people, especially open-minded people. And I also like an author that isn’t too predictable!

The following instalment, ‘Dead Push’ is available now and I will hopefully be reviewing it very soon. In the meantime, come and check it out on Amazon US and Amazon UK.

Please check out all of our Tim O’Rourke reviews (below).

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Vampire Shift (Keira Hudson Series 1, Book 1)

Vampire Wake (Keira Hudson Series 1, Book 2)

Vampire Hunt (Keira Hudson Series 1, Book 3)

Vampire Breed (Keira Hudson Series 1, Book 4)

Wolf House (Potter’s Story) (Kiera Hudson Series 1 Book 4.5) – novella

Vampire Hollows (Keira Hudson Series 1, Book 5)

Dead Flesh (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 1)

Dead Night – Potter’s Secrets (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 1.5) – novella

Dead Angels (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 2)

Dead Statues (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 3)

Dead Seth (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 4)

Dead Wolf (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 5)

Moonlight (The Moon Trilogy #1)

Moonbeam (The Moon Trilogy #2)

Vampire Seeker (Samantha Carter #1)

Witch (Sydney Hart #1)

Vampire Shift – The Graphic Novel (Volume One) (Keira Hudson Series One) –  illustrated by Craig Twyman

Dead Seth (Kiera Hudson Series Two, #4) by Tim O’Rourke

Again, Tim O’Rourke has left the reader completely shocked. I do not usually begin my review with the end of the book, however, it is the end which unravels some serious revelations, after many twists and turns. I love how these novels surprise the reader. They are unpredicatble and yet still believable and in line with the whole series. Hence, the five stars that it truly deserves.

The writing is excellent, as in ‘Dead Seth (Keira Hudson Series Two, Book 4)’ we are subjected to the history and background behind Jack Seth, the Lycanthrope, the cursed killer wolf. This novel is written from mostly Jack Seth’s point of view as he narrates to Keira his story of how he became cursed and detailing the life that he led growing up. As in most of the Keira Hudson novels there are many twists and turns, especially on the emotional scale. This book is no exception.

We realise the many corners that Jack Seth’s life turned, how he was mentally tormented and how unstable his whole family life was. It would be wrong of me to reveal anything more without spoiling the story as this is a must-read. There are moments when the reader hates what he is doing and other moments when we feel compassion and understanding for him. Once the reader is engrossed in the thick of the story it is easy to empathise with Jack and I must admit that, apart from the paranormal/fantasy side, there are elements that feel very real. The mental torment, lies, betrayal, and the instability are all elements that real people, real children have lived through and are living through.

Keira’s point of view is also told in ‘Dead Seth’, as she is desperately wanting to escape in order to save her father and Potter. However, as Jack is telling her his story she does feel for him. At the same time she is gradually turning to stone which proves difficult for her to even talk to him at times. During the whole read I kept asking myself; will she escape, will she rescue her father, Potter, or both or will she turn into a statue?

Throughout the first half of the book I did feel the need to know exactly what Potter was doing and how Murphy and Kayla were. This is no different to when reading the novella, ‘Dead Night – Potter’s Secrets (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 1.5)’, and ‘Dead Angels (Keira Hudson Series Two, Book 2)’ where we are told Potter’s story and in the latter, Isidor’s. As these books focus on the one character mostly I did terribly miss the others and was desperate to know what they were going through and what they were thinking.

However, in hindsight, I think that this is a fantastic way of writing as it allows the reader to get up close and personal with each character, good and bad, and become fully aware of them and understand their point of view. It also makes it the more exciting when we are reunited with the other characters in the following books as we have waited with eager anticipation and cannot wait to sink our minds into the next adventure.

All of the Keira Hudson books are interwoven and provide a great backbone for all of the others. I would strongly recommend that any reader of this book, along with ‘Dead Statues (Keira Hudson Series Two, Book 3)’, should read the earlier books and novellas of series one and series two. This would really assist the reader in understanding the whole picture: where these characters have come from, their adventures together and also their connection between each story and the other characters.

I simply cannot wait for the next instalment, ‘Dead Water’. However, I am glad that I am finally up-to-date with the series.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Dead Statues (Kiera Hudson Series Two #3) by Tim O’Rourke

Dead Statues (Kiera Hudson Series Two, #3)This novel has left me feeling utterley shocked and impatient to find out exactly what is going to happen next. Keira Hudson is definitely back and the main focus of this book, along with Potter. The story is told from both points of view and is completely filled with mystery, emotion, action, adventure, fear and dread.

At the beginning of the book is an Author’s Note. This is a short account of what ‘Dead Statues’ has in store for the reader, i.e. the areas and characters it will be focusing on. It also explains the connections between the previous novellas, ‘The Wolf House’ and ‘Dead Night – Potter’s Secrets, and this novel. I, personally, would take notice if you haven’t already read the previous novellas as they do provide great background information and knowledge of certain characters that will help the reader understand the emotions behind this novel.

Keira and her friends have just escaped a huge attack from the Skin-walkers, however it did not end well. They are all contemplating what had just happened and are trying to rest before they figure out what to do next. Before much can be said we find that they are in the thick of it again with the Skin-walkers. When events begin to calm, Keira is made aware of secrets that Potter has kept from her. Keira is hurt, angry and confused. How could Potter do this to her? She thought that he loved her.

Because she feels deceived and has found out that her father is alive in this ‘pushed’ world, Keira decides to leave her friends behind in search of her dad. Her friends, in the meantime, have problems of their own. And Potter has a great deal of making up to do. Potter goes in search for Keira, hoping to explain himself to her.

Throughout this novel it is easy to sympathise with Keira as she is the one that was kept in the dark and deceived. However, for those that have read the two novellas, Potter is also easy to sympathise with as the reader will understand the how’s, where’s and why’s. On saying this, I do believe that Potter should have explained all to Keira, for at least then she would know the truth firsthand, without becoming more paranoid and having more questions and doubts.

Throughout this series we have been introduced to the statues. These statues seem to appear from nowhere and when unseen they change positions. Some appear to whisper, but without their lips moving. They are eerie and it is the whole mystery surrounding them that make the reader fear for what or who they are, at the same time as wonder whether this will end up being Keira’s fate.  These statues remind me of the Weeping Willows in the ‘Doctor Who’ series. And, likewise, they make me feel all goose-bumpy as they are strangely ghostly. Who are these statues, where are they from and what connection do they have to Keira and her friends?

The setting for this main novel is largely at a cottage where Keira’s friends are holding out for her, a graveyard near Keira’s fathers’ house and Keira’s fathers’ house. The atmosphere is very moody, very emotional, scary and terrifying. The snow is falling all around, in contrast, creating a more calm background, especially as the last novel was very stormy with thunder and lightning.

The ending of this novel is a complete cliffhanger and it is an absolute must to read the following novel, ‘Dead Seth (Keira Hudson Series Two, Book 4)’. Keira and Potter both seem stuck in at their own dead end and it is impossible to know what will happen next. Will their enemy succeed? Will Keira or Potter be saved? I hope both, but the chances are slim.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

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

Dead Flesh (Kiera Hudson Series Two #1) by Tim O’Rourke

Another truly great read from Tim O’Rourke. ‘Dead Flesh’ is told from Keira’s perspective as well as one of her friends. Keira and her friends initially seem to be in limbo after the rollercoaster of previous events. They need to come to terms with everything that has happened and all that they have been through, at the same time as trying to understand their own personal changes and the changes of the different world that they find themselves in.

Again, we have a different type of species with the ‘skin-walkers’ being introduced. Once I completely understood these beings, they became quite fascinating creatures, but also very scary too. I could elaborate here, but would not want to spoil this novel.

The setting, a small town with its main focus on a local boarding school, takes me back to Enid Blyton with the Famous Five. As here we have a group of young people being adventurous and daring in order to seek out solutions to the mysteries surrounding them. The atmosphere through the most part is spooky and eerie, and with Scooby Doo references too,I couldn’t help but think of those great characters and storylines. However, childhood fun aside, Tim O’Rourke adds his own twist by making this novel much more terrifying, gorey and adult-themed.

That is not to say, however, that this novel is completely without any humour. On the contrary, I laughed out loud a few times when reading this book, with one of the characters rifling through woolly knickers, ideas on who ‘The Wolf Man’ may be and the general bickering between certain characters.

On a more serious note, it is obvious from the beginning that Keira and her friends are concerned for their own well-being and are uncertain of a great deal to begin with. Throughout the book the reader is hoping that the characters will focus on each other and there are compassionate moments in there with some intense scenes which will delight the reader.

One of my favourite aspects of Tim O’Rourke’s writing is that he provides enough description for the characetrs and the setting to be understood and connected with. However, there is always room for the reader to use their own imagination for some details, thus making it their own fantasy.

This series is fiction come to life as you envisage and feel whatever the characters are feeling at the time. For example, with the action scenes, you can feel the gore, the blood, the flesh. So much so that it makes you squeamish. It is absolutely fantastic. You feel that you are Keira, or at least a part of her or with her, as she deals with horrific situations and action scenes.

Of all the books in the Keira Hudson series, there are scenes here that truly belong in the ‘horror’ genre. There are spooky, eerie happenings and later on scary, gorey, pulse-throbbing scenes.This is definitely a novel whereby the reader is perched at the edge of their seat.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker