Book Review

Book Review: The 100 Society by Carla Spradbery.

The100SocietyFor sixth-form student Grace Becker, The 100 Society is more than just a game; it’s an obsession. Having convinced her five friends at Clifton Academy to see it through to the end, Grace will stop at nothing to carry out the rules of the game: tagging 100 locations around the city. With each step closer to the 100-mark they get, the higher the stakes become. But when the group catches the attention of a menacing stalker – the Reaper – he seems intent on exposing their illegal game, tormenting Grace with anonymous threats and branding their dormitory doors with his ominous tag.

As the once tight-knit group slowly unravels, torn apart by doubt and the death of a student, they no longer know who to trust.

With time running out, Grace must unmask the Reaper before he destroys everything she cares about for ever…

The striking cover art for this book grabbed my attention, when I then read the blurb I thought it sounded like exactly the sort of thing I’d have picked up as a teenager. I started reading expecting a tense, twisty read – that’s exactly what I got.

This book definitely has a strong feel of the Point Horror titles I devoured as a teenager, the sinister creepiness starts early on in the book and just keeps growing. It is a fast paced read, diving into the action from the very beginning and keeping it up over the course of the book. I liked that there were some quieter, more character driven, moments – they were a good pause from the driving plot. These moments also reinforced the fact that whilst the teens in this book are dealing with this terrifying threat they’re doing it at the same time as they’re trying to navigate being teenagers and the difficulties this brings to life in general.

Grace, the lead, is a really interesting character. She’s highly driven and motivated, particularly in her bid to join The 100 Society and achieve something her highly successful older brother didn’t manage. I would have liked to get to understand Grace a little more than I did, whilst I could see how driven she was I didn’t feel like I entirely understand what was behind this. As I’m typing this I’m realising that actually I feel like this about most of the main characters, I did get to know them but would have loved to get to know them a little more deeply.

The plot twists and turns throughout the book. Very quickly I realised that everything was pointing towards one person being behind the reaper tags and unpleasantness, this made me think that it was perhaps all a little too convenient for it to fall at their feet. This meant I was then increasingly suspicious of everyone, looking at the notes I made whilst reading I managed to have almost all of the core characters in the frame at one point or another! The reveal when it comes is satisfyingly explained, it was entirely believable and the explanation behind it worked for me.

This is Carla Spradbery’s debut novel. It’s an accomplished start, I look forward to seeing her grow with each subsequent book she writes.

The 100 Society will be published by Hodder Children’s Books on 4th September. Whilst I was provided with a copy of the book by the publisher all opinions expressed are my own.

Book Review

Book Review : The Kult by Shaun Jeffrey.

People are predictable. That’s what makes them easy to kill.

Detective Chief Inspector Prosper Snow is in charge of an investigation into a serial killer called The Oracle who turns his victims into macabre works of art. But Prosper harbours a dark secret of his own. He and his old school friends were members of a group called The Kult who made a pact to dish out their own form of vengeance on bullies. Now a member of the group puts their friendship to the test when he makes a far darker request: that they murder someone that raped his wife.

To get away with murder, the friends decide to blame it on The Oracle, but events take a chilling turn when the instigator turns up dead, his body fashioned into a disturbing work of art. Now, one by one, the members of The Kult are being hunted down.

Just when Prosper thinks things can’t get any worse, his wife is kidnapped and he knows that if he goes to his colleagues for help, he risks his dark deeds being unearthed. If he doesn’t, he risks losing all that he holds dear.

When I was in my teens and early twenties I read a lot of thrillers about serial killers but in recent years I’ve found myself drawn to them less and less. When I read the synopsis for The Kult though I was intrigued, I liked the sound of a group of childhood friends coming back together as adults, so I thought I would give it a go.

The book starts by introducing The Oracle and giving the reader an insight into him and what he does. I found parts of this a little grizzly, but kept reading and was pretty quickly hooked. It then introduces Prosper, first as an policeman investigating The Oracle, but then as a member of The Kult – a club he and his friends set up as teenagers to right the wrongs they suffered. The other members want to carry out one more act but for Prosper it’s not an easy decision any more, he’s responsible for upholding the law but their plan will break it a few times over.

The decision to carry out their plan and frame The Oracle for it seems as sound as any plan to get away with murder does, but as is to be expected things don’t go to plan and the book quickly spirals into a tense thriller. The reader certainly gets the sense that time is at a premium for the characters, it’s not at all clear who is going to survive by the end of the book.

Prosper is an interesting character, he’s certainly drawn in all shades of grey. I found myself wondering at times what I was actually hoping for by the end of the book. I didn’t want for The Oracle to kill The Kult but I wasn’t entirely sure they deserved to get away with their crime either. I found this added to my enjoyment of the book, the sense of unease I had about the activities in the book meant that I became more involved with what I was reading.

In general this was a good read and I found myself eager to get back to it when I had to put it down. It is pretty grizzly in places, I don’t think I could recommend this to anyone who’s a little squeamish. I’m not sure it’s entirely reignited my taste for the genre, but I do think I’ll probably find myself reading more in it again.

The Kult has been filmed by independent film company Gharial Productions, the trailer can be seen here.

The Kult is published in eBook by Deshca Press in the UK priced £0.86. Whilst I was provided with a review copy of the book all of the opinions expressed are my own.