Full disclosure time. I never used to be a reader of Y.A. adventures, that all changed when I read my first, as a favour to an author friend who needed a fresh, unbiased pair of eyes on their work.
Since then, I’ve read quite a few and even written one myself (The Syk’m, in case you’re interested). Mine’s a coming-of-age fantasy, set in another world.
Fortunes Well, Hangman’s Revenge is set in the here and now, and is a lot darker, verging on the horrific, which is a genre that I’ve not read much of. This story was so well written, as it progressed the tension was wound up and events started to spiral. With alternate chapters from each of the main players, you got a real sense of the development of the narrative from both points of view. The emotions are beautifully described, getting us into the heads of the main characters, JJ and Darcie, who each have their own problems, that’s before we even get to the premise of the book. This makes them so relatable, their reactions so realistic.
In the town of Fortune’s Well, a dangerous storm is brewing, and two unsuspecting teenagers are standing right at the heart of it.
For JJ Carson, life has not been easy. His father is dead, his mother arrested for the murder, and he has been forced to live on the farm with his alcoholic uncle, Henry. Just when things could not get any worse, JJ discovers his living situation is not the only thing that makes him different from the other kids. A dark, swirling mist has made itself at home inside him and it is slowly changing him from the inside out.
Enter Darcie Duffield. Beautiful, popular, and incredibly misunderstood. Darcie is sick of the status quo and wants to make a difference. After a chance meeting with a strange boy at the river, she becomes tangled in a web of lies and deceit as she tries to help save him from the darkness lurking within.
Why is this happening?
Where has it come from?
And why is Darcie the only one who can see it?
An expertly written story that sucks you in.
A very enjoyable read, initially full of teenage angst that draws you in as it gets darker and darker until you’re fully immersed in a story that will have you looking over your shoulder.
JJ Carson is the loner who everyone likes to bully, the strange boy with a weird family. Darcie is the one who is on his side, the only one who can see past his outward appearance to the person within and as she gets to know him, understand the burden he is forced to bear, because of history, family and so much more.
Events in JJ’s life awaken forces in him that his family have been burdened with for a long time. They’re all centred on the house that was his family home and what occurred there in its past.
As more and more is revealed, the mystery deepens and the inevitable confrontation starts to loom over everything. Tension is expertly raised, JJ and Darcie can see what’s coming but are powerless to stop it.
There are so many things going on here, with input from a supporting cast of friends and relatives all adding to the suspense, because you can never really be certain what part they’re playing.
Not wishing to give too much away, Darcie and JJ join forces to combat evil, will they succeed is open to question. The end was a shock, certainly not what I expected.
This is the first part of a series, there’s an extract from the second part at the end, tantalisingly short and tangentially connected to part one, just enough to make you realise that you will have to read more.
As if you couldn’t tell, I’m excited to see where the next instalment might lead us.
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