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Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani

 Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani Twelve powerful people are kidnapped and imprisoned in an empty hotel. Each one of them has three choices: Live out the rest of their days peacefully in the hotel, Die by suicide so the rest of their companions can go free, Or murder one of their companions so they alone can go free. The Only Way Out is Death follows the story of these twelve people from the perspective of a young lawyer, Kiriaki, told as the events unfold. She has to forge messy alliances, navigate complex relationships and feuds, and, above all, try to stay alive. Meanwhile, the mastermind of this death game is lurking just out of view, watching them closely, making sure they are primed for murder. Will Kiriaki find the mastermind before it's too late for her? Will she outmanoeuvre the cutthroats before they cut her throat? There are twelve selfish lives in the hotel. Will it end in twelve selfish deaths? The Only Way Out is Death is a fascinating nov

Review - On Holy Ground by Louise Cole

On Holy Ground by Louise Cole

Everyone wants the heroine of The Devil’s Poetry.

They want her dead.

Callie, the only reader to have survived the magics of the Book, plans a wonderful future with the man she loves – only to have her life ripped apart by tragedy. Worse, a strange infection is passing through the population. An infection which leaves them white-eyed and terrifying. With the demonic Cadaveri increased a thousandfold, the world once again teeters on the brink of war.
Callie goes looking for answers, but since the Order of Sumer first recruited her to read its mysterious manuscript, the game has changed. As someone who understands the Book’s secrets, she is either a saviour or a curse to all who know her. Stranded in the US, hunted and penniless, she desperately needs allies. But the Order, the Cadaveri and the world’s intelligence services all have their own agendas – and all their spies are on her tail. 

Callie must put aside love and grief, and re-evaluate everything she knows about the Reading. And to do that she must find that Book, and escape. Or die trying.

I really enjoyed reading The Devil's Poetry, as you can see from my review, and I was excited to see where Louise would take the story next. It turns out the answer is America. Callie and friends (and foes) jet off to the States for some international thrills and adventure. This opens the series up beautifully. While the first book was set almost exclusively around Callie's home town and London, On Holy Ground jumps location several times, and with the expanding focus we get to see a lot more of the Order and the Cadaveri.

This is one of the highlights of On Holy Ground. When it shows us more of these two opposing factions, we get to learn alot more about their aims, their motivations, and what they are and aren't prepared to do to achieve them than we did in The Devil's Poetry. The distinction between good and evil and the choice between right and wrong become murkier than ever. This moral complexity is one of my favourite things about this book series, as it reflects the real world around us much more effectively than anything that has the good guys fighting the forces of evil.

Something else I loved about On Holy Ground was seeing Callie having to cope on her own. In The Devil's Poetry she generally had the Order around her, a team of highly skilled operatives protecting and directing her. In On Holy Ground she's cut off, she's on the run and she's brilliant! The chase sequences are well written, dramatic and exciting and have the feel of a Hollywood blockbuster to them as she changes disguises and tries to stay one step ahead of her pursuers. It's also very hard for her, or the reader, to be sure who she can trust, as every one has their own agenda. Despite this, it is nice to see Callie keep acknowledging the help she is receiving, whether from strangers or her support network back home, and that wherever she is, she's not completely alone.

On Holy Ground ramps up the action and drama from The Devil's Poetry, explains more of its world and gives the reader a realistically morally complex set of characters. I love it.

I'm giving On Holy Ground four and three quarter moons.



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