Review: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Amy Rae Durreson
As an orphaned child, Leon owed his survival to his school. Now an adult and a teacher at that same school, he’s determined to repay the debt. When an old boy leaves them a ruined orphanage in the Scottish Borders, he heads north to assess the mysterious old building, Vainguard.
But Vainguard’s history is more terrible than he could imagine. As Leon explores, he discovers that his own tragic past is entwined with Vainguard’s, and with the stories of all the children who have died there over the years. Joining forces with local blacksmith Niall, who is still mourning his own daughter, Leon starts to peel away the layers of secrets that hide the truth about Vainguard.
But something is watching his every move—something ancient, bloodthirsty, and ready to kill again…
Content Warning: This book deals with issues of historic child abuse
PLEASE DON’T MISS THE WARNING IN THE BLURB.
Dear Amy Rae Durreson,
I enjoy your writing but I am scared of ghost stories and that’s why I have not picked up any of your work for some time. Actually I avoid horror stories, horror movies, etc, etc. I can tolerate some horror elements if the story has other plot developments to keep me occupied with, so I decided to bite the bullet on this one hoping that romance will be prominent enough to make scary things less scary so to speak :).
I am happy I read this book and the romance for me was indeed a major story line (for the first half of of the book anyway) and quite satisfying throughout the story. I am not even sure if I can call this book truly scary (and as I said it does not take much to scare me) where the supernatural element is concerned.
I would say that the author wrote the suspenseful *atmosphere* very well – basically the sense that something scary is lurking behind the corner when Leon is investigating his surroundings. I was ready to jump from my seat a couple of times. However I did not find the ghosts scary in the slightest, and when we know what the evil supernatural element is I did not find it scary either. Probably because human born evil was much scarier to me.
I found both Leon and Niall to be incredibly appealing characters. They may have wounds from the past (the death of parents for Leon and the death of his daughter for Niall), but they both are doing their best trying to live their lives, even if Niall’s wound is too recent and Leon just had a painful childhood overall when he became an orphan till the school he now teaches in took him and helped him to figure out how to move on at least somewhat from the past.
As blurb tells you, Leon comes to the town to check out the empty orphanage that the charity he works for inherited. He needs to see whether it will be a good home for a second school for the kids. Unfortunately, it turns out that the place just does not have a good feel and he has his own connections with the town he was unaware of.
The good thing is that he meets Niall. They snap at each other a bit when they meet the first time but really the bickering goes away very fast, because Leon sees that Niall’s initial rudeness was caused by good intentions and the recent death of his child. When it matters, Niall helps him to get out of a tough situation and pretty much saves his life.
““New owners,” he repeated, and then his scowl deepened. “You don’t want to buy Vainguard. There’s no good in it for anyone.”
“We’re not buying,” I said and offered my hand out the window. “Leon Kwarteng of Becky’s Children’s Trust. And you are?”
He didn’t take it, but snapped out, “Niall Forster. I live in the lodge. Why the hell would Becky’s have an interest in Vainguard?””
“So far in our brief acquaintance, I’d inadvertently taunted him about his dead daughter, provided him with a spectacular display of mental instability, then had a go at him after he rescued me.
“What my brother means to say,” Kasia put in, “is thank you very much for coming to his rescue. He is profoundly grateful.”
I groaned, dropping my head against the wheel. “Yes, yes. Of course. Sorry. And for earlier. Sorry. Shit.”
“Believe it or not, he’s also an English teacher and usually more eloquent than that.””
I really loved them together and separately. I thought they were both decent people who were ready to help fellow human beings around them whenever help was needed. Really, their attraction to each other made sense to my brain, in addition to my heart. Note that all sex scenes are fade too black. We see kisses and some other foreplay but that’s it. In all honesty I didn’t miss sex scenes at all.
The second part of the book becomes more fast moving where the suspense supernatural story line is concerned and it made sense to me that their romance took a secondary seat. What didn’t made a lot of sense was a break up part. Oh they don’t really break up and I thought that in the context of the story the author picked a perfectly good reason to keep them apart, but I guess I still felt that it was a little manipulative rather than organic to the plot unfolding.
Otherwise I quite liked it.