Posted in All Book Reviews, Horror, Science fiction, Thrillers

Book Review: Dead Silence (By S.A. Barnes)

I’ve always loved science fiction, especially stories set in space. Little beats the plot of space travel gone wrong due to an unknown enemy and a preceding crew that disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

So when I came across S.A. Barnes’ Dead Silence, I delved in expecting a lot! Read on to find out if this sci-fi met expectations.

Genre: 

Science fiction, Thriller, Horror

Length: 

343 pages

Blurb:

Claire Kovalik knows little more than her job. Team lead on a repair ship, space is all she’s known or wanted. But now, she’s on her last job, made obsolete by technology, and with no foreseeable future for which to return to Earth. So when her ship picks up a distress signal, she and her team decide to investigate. What they find is the Aurora – a luxury cruise spaceship that disappeared twenty years ago on its maiden voyage. Their salvage claim could solve the entire team’s problems and take away all worries about the future. But when Claire and the others go onto the Aurora, they find words scrawled in blood, strange movements, and horrors unlike what they’ve ever seen. What happened on the Aurora twenty years ago? What happened to the hundreds of guests and staff? And will Claire and her team escape facing the same fate… or will history repeat itself?

Overall Rating:

10 out of 10 stars

Plot:

10 out of 10 stars

Characterization:

10 out of 10 stars

Primary Element:

10 out of 10 for its thrill and sci-fi, 8 out of 10 for its horror

Writing Style:

10 out of 10 stars

Part of a Series: 

No.

Highlighted Takeaway:

A brilliant mix of horror, science-fiction, and psychological thriller, Dead Silence will keep you reading late into the night, while making you look over your shoulder at every sound and leave the lights on.

What I Liked:

S.A. Barnes does justice to the various genres that Dead Silence crosses. Some parts are absolutely terrifying, but the book eventually settles into a very intriguing thriller, with the suspense keeping you hooked until the last page.

What I absolutely loved about the book, though, was the characterization. Each character held their own, regardless of the size of their role. They were complex and very real, making them easy to associate with, even as they all existed across various shades of gray. And, the best thing about the characterization was how well the author handled the main character, Claire. In a lot of women-led books, the primary characters become difficult-to-care-about, frustrating people instead of the complex characters the authors are trying to portray them as. I found this especially true for The Girl on the Train (by Paula Hawkins) and Before She Disappeared (by Lisa Garnder) (among many others). S.A. Barnes, though, weaves an amazing character arc for Claire and the others, making you dislike, love, pity, and root for her all at once, and keeping you completely engrossed. She doesn’t attempt to be “strong”. She just is; a combination of all her faults, virtues, fears, strength, and good intentions. And that took Dead Silence to a whole other level.

What I Didn’t Like:

I found nothing to dislike in the book. Even negative characters that can often cause a disconnect from the story did quite the opposite, adding depth to the story because of how well they were created.

Who Should Read It:

While it’s not very heavy on the ‘horror’ element, it definitely has some very scary sections that will keep you up at night (or for a few nights if you’re a scaredy-cat like me). So if you enjoy the creepy-horror type of narrative, and science fiction + thriller books such as Michael Crichton’s Sphere or Obscura by Joe Hart, or movies in the same genre such as Alien, Prometheus, or Life, you should definitely give Dead Silence a try.

Who Should Avoid:

Dead Silence does become violent and graphic just pages in. So if that’s not something you can easily digest, I’d recommend proceeding with caution.

Read It For:

Excellent characterization, an intriguing storyline, and great mystery and thrills.

Although it did keep me up for a night or two, Dead Silence introduced me to an author whose work I really enjoyed. I’m definitely going to be looking out for more of S.A. Barnes’ work. Get your hardcover copy of Dead Silence (with free global shipping) here. Or get a paperback copy here.

Let us know what you thought of Dead Silence, or just drop us a comment to tell us about your favorite science fiction books and movies. And as always, thank you for taking a break at The Book Review Station!

This post contains affiliate links. The Book Review Station may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you use these links to purchase books. Thanks!

– Rishika

Posted in All Book Reviews, Horror, Thrillers

Book Review: The House of Twelve (By Sean Davies)

I received a free copy of this book from Voracious Readers Only in exchange for an honest review.

Genre:

Thriller, Horror

Length: 

146 pages

Blurb:

Twelve strangers wake up in a house with no memory of how they got there, nor of who they are. A set of rules awaits them. One, they will not be able to escape no matter how much they try. Two, there is limited food and water and no more will be provided. Three, the eerie music that plays non-stop will stop for one hour between 11 PM and midnight every night, and one person must die within that period. If no one dies, at midnight, they all will. Four, only one person can die and only when the music stops – whether by accident, suicide, or murder. If anyone dies when the music is playing or more than one person dies when the music stops, they all die. Five, there is one way, and only one way out – redemption.

And so begins the harrowing tale of twelve people pitted against each other in their fight for survival… survival at any cost.

Overall Rating:

4 out of 10

Plot:

7 out of 10

Characterization:

2 out of 10

Primary Element:

6 out of 10 for its thrill

Writing Style:

4 out of 10

Part of a Series: 

Yes, this is Book #1 in the Houses of Penance series, followed by The House of Thirteen.

Highlighted Takeaway:

An interesting concept, and a tale that does not shy away from showing the worst that people can offer.

What I Liked:

The House of Twelve is full of action – the story moves along fast, and can be read in a single sitting (or a couple).

What I Didn’t Like:

In its speed though, the book forgoes on character development, to the extent that you don’t find yourself caring too much or rooting for any character at all.

Who Should Read It:

Anyone who enjoys fast-paced thrillers and may not care too much about depth of character will find this an easy read.

Who Should Avoid:

If you don’t like gore or violence, I would strongly recommend avoiding The House of Twelve. There is no dearth of either.

Read It For:

A quick vacation or weekend read if you’re a fan of thrillers.

Although I found Sean Davies’ The House of Twelve interesting, the lack of depth adversely impacted the reading experience for me. I wouldn’t actively purchase his books, at least of the Houses of Penance series, and it may be a while before I try any of his other books.

Share your comments on similarly themed books or other Sean Davies recommendations below. And as always, thank you for stopping by and reading this review!

– Rishika

Posted in All Book Reviews, Horror, Post-apocalyptic

Book Review: City of Whispers (By Katherine Sorin)

City of Whispers Source: Goodreads
City of Whispers
Source: Goodreads

Length: 209 pages

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Life for Ailis Laurent changes almost overnight. Most of the people in New York, the place she just about manages to call home, have been affected by an epidemic. The result – only a handful of humans have been left human. The remaining have all turned into vampires. Cordoned off from the rest of the world to avoid the spread of the virus, the survivors are left to defend their lives against the growing number of vampires. But defending is not good enough. And as Ailis learns, sometimes, in order to survive, you need to become the hunter.

My take:

A gripping, edge of your seat read – that’s what City of Whispers is all about. I’m going to begin by saying that after the time of sparkling vampires (I mean… really??!) I’ve always been a bit wary of picking up a vampire based book. But Katherine Sorin managed to eradicate that tendency altogether with City of Whispers.

I couldn’t really put this book down and every time I had to, I could only wonder about what happens next. It moved wonderfully quick and didn’t have a dull moment. Every time you think ‘Okay, this has to stagnate now. What else is going to happen?’, something happens! I didn’t get a moment to get bored and the twists and turns were quite unpredictable. The style of writing itself is extremely engaging and it doesn’t take much to actually imagine what’s written. The words seem to paint pictures on their own with barely any help from your imagination.

The characters are really easy to associate with even though you don’t really know much about them from before the virus. And even though the exact beginning of the virus and its effects aren’t explained from the get go, there is no point at which you feel lost. Everything flows really smoothly and is intensely engaging. It made me stay up nights because I just couldn’t stop reading and put it away. And it was so captivating that it kept me at the edge of my seat, jumping at every tiny sound in the darkness of the night.

I got this book from pixelofink.com. And I have to admit that no book downloaded for free has been so interesting that I’ve gone right out and bought the sequel. But this one was. And the sequel is definitely next to read on my list.

If you’re a fan of anything post apocalyptic, vampire oriented (the ones that lust after blood) or if you like a quick, action packed read, you will definitely enjoy City of Whispers.

– Rishika