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 Wolf (Keira Hudson Series Two Book 5) by Tim O’Rourke

Dead Wolf by Tim O'Rourke‘Dead Wolf (Keira Hudson Series Two, Book 5)’ draws the reader in from the very beginning, especially for those of you who have followed this series, as it picks up from where we left off in ‘Dead Seth (Keira Hudson Series Two, Book 4)’. However, for those readers that are not familiar with the Keira Hudson series yet, the beginning of this novel is well-explained, easy to follow and provides the background knowledge that is needed to follow the story.

As a fan of the series, I would urge those readers that haven’t already done so, to read the entire Keira Hudson series for the stories of each of the characters. This is because they all have their own story to tell in-between the main focus of their adventure and these stories are written from each characters point of view. It is amazing how Tim O’Rourke places himself in the mindset of each of his characters and describes every emotion that they are feeling intensely.

So, ‘Dead Wolf’ is told mostly from Murphy’s point of view. However, it does begin from Keira’s, after she has found out a great deal about Jack Seth’s history and about herself. Keira is still at a crossroads when it comes to choices and the information she has learned will not make her choice any easier to make, if she makes one at all.

Keira and her friends are in a world that has been ‘pushed’ from the one that they knew before, there are statues that appear to be sending them signs and, without making a decision, it is highly possible that Keira herself will turn to stone. The only lead they seem to have at the moment between the world they knew and this new ‘pushed’ version is that of a mystery photographer who has managed somehow to go from one world to the other, leaving photographs for some of them to find.

Meanwhile, Murphy, Kayla and Sam have an ordeal of their own in Chapter 2. This chapter really excited me due to its intensity, passion, action, violence and gore. There are moments where I found myself cringing, but loving every word. I truly feel alive as I visualise every movement as if I am there when reading this series, and this scene was no exception. My heart is racing as I am hoping for a positive outcome. I worry for the characters and long to be of assistance. The reader is completely gripped as the story then moves on.

Shortly after, ‘Dead Wolf’ becomes Murphy’s story, as he narrates his history of family, friends, relationships and his career. Murphy’s story throughout is full of emotion. The reader finds out how Murphy became a police officer, how he feels about the Vampyrus and Lycanthrope, who has touched his heart and, on a lighter note, why he wears his beloved slippers! Although Murphy’s story is emotionally intense as it is full of sorrow, lies, deceipt, betrayal there are also some lighter moments and I found myself laugh out loud on a few occasions.

The emotional rollercoaster that Murphy has been on does not seem that different in one way than that of Jack Seth’s. They have both seen their fair share of deceipt and lies and they have both lost people that are dear to them. They are two sides of the same coin in one way: they have both been through great ordeals, they both care about family, they have both been deceived. However, one is Vampyrus and the other Lycanthrope. They are possible enemies under most circumstances.

Tim O’Rourke always brings something new and fresh to each instalment of the series. ‘Dead Wolf’ introduces the reader to different characters that have played parts in Murphy’s life, such as his mother, Pen, Chloe, Marc, Steve and Annie. We are also made aware of how much Rom, a character from earlier in the series, has supported Murphy and helped him with his career and his ordeal.

It was lovely to read this book as it was snowing out of my window, as was the setting for some scenes in ‘Dead Wolf’. This assisted me even moreso (not that it needed to whatsoever) to relate to the scenery in the story. We are taken on a scenic journey as well as an emotional adventure in regard to the scenery, as always with this series, as we go deep in the caves at The Hollows to the forest and the lake.

The end of this novel is written from Keira’s point of view, which I feel wraps it up really nicely and brings us back to the here and now with Keira and her friends. The reader has travelled a long journey with Murphy, but then returned to the present situation that the characters are in. Will they find the photographer? Will Keira turn to stone? How are Potter and Keira going to be with each other? Will they all return to the world they once knew as their reality/home?

The next instalment is ‘Dead Water (Keira Hudson Series Two, Book 6) which should be out soon! I really cannot wait to see where the characters will go from here, on their next adventure, to try and get their lives back on track.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

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 Night – Potter’s Secrets (Kiera Hudson Series Two #1.5)

Dead Night - Potter's Secrets (Kiera Hudson Series Two, #1.5)I have read at least one review that says that this novella is as good as a full novel and I have to agree. As with the regular Keira Hudson novels, there is a great storyline with plenty of mystery, action and emotion. Not to mention intense characters, be they human, wolf or Vampyrus. In this novella the world has been ‘pushed’ and not as we know it: the wolves are living among the humans and the Vampyrus do not exist!

The main focus for this novella is Potter’s search for his first love, Sophie, as she is the only person from his last world that he thinks may exist in this ‘pushed’ world. He is hoping that if she exists here and he can find her, then maybe she will hold some answers to help him understand how the world was ‘pushed’. His aim, ultimately, is to ‘push’ the world back to how it once was.

When we are introduced to Sophie she has problems of her own. She has been ‘pushed’ with the rest of the world. Sophie is running from the wolves and police, desperate to seek out answers to her own questions. Will she get caught? Will she discover the answers she needs? It becomes clear that Potter’s role is to find out as much about this world from Sophie as he can, at the same time as trying to keep her safe from the wolves. Will this rekindle their original feelings for each other?

Even though we know from ‘Dead Flesh (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 1)’ that this novella is completely about Potter and the twenty-four hours he went away from Hallowed Manor, I missed Keira. This surprised me as Potter is my favourite character, but without Keira it wasn’t quite the same. That said, we must not forget that she is part of the reason for him tracking down Sophie, so that everybody can go back to the world as it were and maybe their curse from The Elders will be lifted in some way.

The world in ‘Dead Night – Potter’s Secrets’ does not seem to be set in the past or the future but more like a parallel universe. As there are no Vampyrus in this world it is uncertain that Potter and co ever existed. However, if there is anyone from their previous life in this new ‘pushed’ world advice is given that it would be best not to track them down, meet them or engage with them in any way to ensure that circumstances are not changed. This reminded me of the ‘Back to the Future’ movies, that I have been watching recently with my son, where the ‘Doc’ is advising ‘Marty’ to not interfere with his family or friends in the past in order not to meddle with the time space continuum. I had to smile when beginning ‘Dead Angels (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 2)’ as Michael J. Fox is referred to and he plays ‘Marty McFly’ in the ‘Back to the Future’ movies. However, please remember that this novella is not set in the past or the future as far as we know, just a different version of the world we are used to.

As Potter reminds me of ‘Gene Hunt’ from the ‘Life on Mars’ tv programme, this novella and previous novel ‘Dead Statues’ felt that it was like ‘Gene Hunt’ waking up in a different world rather than the character ‘Sam Tyler’. ‘Gene Hunt’, just like Potter, would be grouchy, aggressive and temperamental on the outside, but on the inside would be confused and in search of answers in a similar way to Potter. These types of characters do not wear their heart on their sleeves, and in many ways this supports their mysteriousness and their dark side, thus making them unpredicatable but so loveable.

Throughout the Keira Hudson novels, the iPod is a regular mention and a favourite of mine. For me, it helps me connect more and adds a little reality to the fiction. In this particular book, there is a scene which uses the song ‘Fix You’ by ‘Coldplay’ which is more than appropriate. It completely sets the mood and atmosphere of the feeling of the character and where their head is at. Perfect.

In between the emotions and action that the reader is taken through this novella did hold a few nice surprises, which help keep the hope alive for Potter, Keira and co to ‘push’ the world back to how they once knew it. However, that is not to say that all is well. After reading, I am left wondering whether Potter will keep his secrets or not. How will they affect Potter and co in future novels?

As with all of Tim O’Rourke’s Keira Hudson books this novella is fast-paced and adventurous. It is written from Sophie’s perception as well as Potter’s. This enables the reader to connect with the characters more by understanding them and knowing more about each one. This style allows the reader to feel like they are a part of the story. It is truly amazing.

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

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 Breed (Kiera Hudson Series One #4) by Tim O’Rourke

If you liked, or in my case – LOVED, the first three books of the Keira Hudson series you will not be disappointed with this fourth instalment. With Keira captured and no sign of Potter or Luke the beginning of this novel appears very bleak for all of the characters. ‘Where is everybody?’ was the first question I asked myself, in fear of what may have happened to them.

However, over time we find out how Keira is and how she has been treated and as the book unfolds we are taken on an incredible journey that is both horrific and exciting. This novel, like the previous, is action-packed adventure with more beings to fear with the Lycanthrope, Vampyrus, vampires and half-breeds. This book holds many revelations for Keira and her friends, however it is difficult to be more detailed without spoiling the plot. But take it from me, this is a must-read!!!

Tim O’Rourke certainly knows how to engross his readers with passion, rage, fear, friendship, loyalty and love. The characters are amazingly strong and definitive in their own unique way. Keira is a strong heroine, whilst at the same time retains her feminine qualities. Whilst Potter, on the other hand, is still the masculine, strong-silent type with a great deal of rage and passion within. He keeps all of the characters on their toes as well as the reader and I absolutely love him. He is still dark and mysterious with his own plans of action.

There is still the use of the iPod which, certainly for me, aids in keeping the story current and more believable, especially with the song choices and their purposes/uses within the scene.  The music connects this fictional fantasy with real, everyday life and therefore brings the story alive.

I also love the connections I personally make between these novels and various tv shows and films, although I’d like to make it perfectly clear that this is in no way a copy of any of those. This series is absolutely original and unique but with just tiny similarities. For example, I like the Lot 13, which is Tim O’Rourke’s version of True Blood. There is also a strong survival aspect to this novel and Keira must survive. She has to endure thirst, hunger, being preyed upon from all walks of life with doubt on who she can trust. Mix all this up with gore and action and some specific scenario’s in this book and I am left thinking about ‘The Walking Dead’, ’28 Days Later’, ‘Survivors’ and ‘Last Train’, although remembering that this series is focused on the Vampyrus and vampires. I started questioning at some points of the book, ‘Are the characters left the only beings left alive in the world?’

Some may wonder about the gore that I have mentioned above. Yes, there are horrific moments with human flesh being torn apart, blood flowing, biting and fighting. However, the use of this is not over stated or ridiculous but believable and appropriate for the scene it has been written into. It is all very direct but understandable and quick-paced as you sense how much danger the characters are in. Will they make it though?

In contrast to the above, there are also those scenes when during capture or in hiding and shelter the characters have a chance to engage on a more intimate level and refresh themselves and reveal what course of action they are planning and maybe why. It truly is a captivating read that is highly addictive and very powerful with it’s highs and lows.

I am off to read ‘Wolf House (Keira Hudson Series One, #4.50)’ followed by ‘Vampire Hollows (Keira Hudson Series One #5)’.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker