Cannonball Read V: Book #48/52Genre: Horror
I loved Ryan C. Thomas' The Summer I Died and I had no idea there was a sequel until recently. I picked it up despite the mediocre reviews and unfortunately came to the same conclusion: disappointing.
This books takes place 10 years after the horrifying events in The Summer I Died. ***SPOILERS FOR THE SUMMER I DIED*** Roger ended up surviving after watching his sister and best friend die at the hands of a maniac. ***END SPOILERS*** He's obviously still very traumatized and barely functioning after he moved to southern California to be an artist. He's out painting at a lake one day when his co-worker at the galley he works for, Victoria, and her boyfriend mysteriously vanish. After finding their car still there with blood on the ground, Roger goes all detective to track down a suspicious SUV that was there earlier and that he thinks might be the kidnappers.
***MORE TSID SPOILERS***I loved seeing Roger come back and how he was dealing with the events from the first book. I also thought it was interesting to fast forward to 10 years later when he's 30 years old instead of it taking place weeks or months after the first book. ****END SPOILERS***
Now for the bad: I wanted to like this book, but it was just no where near the caliber of the first. The relationship between Roger and Victoria was virtually non-existent. One of the best parts about TSID was the close relationship between Roger and Tooth.
Also the whole wolf cult thing was terrible. The "bad guys" had kidnapped Victoria to sell her to a cult of cannibals. Yes, it's as bad as it sounds. It was also completely unnecessary because the cult was never really explained that well. Crazy guy in a house in the woods who tortures people in his basement = much more believable than rich people in a wolf-worshiping cult who buy people to eat them. It was just so ridiculous that it ceased to be scary.
The ending really made me mad because it almost ruined the first book as well. In it, Roger escapes most of the torture due to constantly winning a dice game. It almost always went in his favor and caused Tooth to lose and get most of the punishment. I liked just leaving it as extreme blind luck, but in this book it's kind of explained at the very end. I won't spoil it, but it did not make me happy.
Apparently there is going to be a third book in this series as well. I just hope that the author took some of the critical reviews into consideration and makes it more like the The Summer I Died than Born to Bleed.