My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Victoria Menard has never been alone, even when her mother died of cancer and her father committed suicide, she has always had a peculiar friend. Or so she thought. Now sixteen and questioning the motive of her long-time mentor, Victoria has many decisions to make, including where to put her trust. Chester, the spider with all the answers, seems to be hiding something.
(WARNING: This review contains MAJOR spoilers.)
I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I thank Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi for giving me the opportunity.
Last year I was introduced to Parent’s What Hides Within, a story revolving around a man and a pesky little arachnid living inside his head. I really favoured the dark humour, grim atmosphere and subtle horror of that title, and so I was excited to delve right into its sequel. Despite relating to What Hides Within in terms of characters, this one can be treated as a standalone; that fact became increasingly apparent the further I progressed. Whilst I believe I was the target audience for the first, Victoria was a different sort of beast; something I wouldn’t consider horror for the most part. Focusing a great deal on action, it lacked several aspects that made What Hides Within so engaging for me. The humour wasn’t there, the banter between host and spider almost non-existent, and although the violence was plentiful, the overall tone leaned toward young adult. I’m not against YA, it’s just not my usual cup of tea.
The plot initially centred around two people both serving conflicting entities, each with differing agendas. Over the course of the book, their journey of self-discovery brought independence and the moral dilemmas of right and wrong. I felt this was the biggest strength, the development of Victoria and Armani. They certainly weren’t perfect, nor even entirely likeable, but they seemed like real people in a world of secrets. Taking into account the YA quality, I half expected romance to shoehorn itself into the story – the saturation of such in the genre gets to me – I even said as much in an update, but there wasn’t much besides a hint of attraction. This, I was thankful for.
Light was brought to the mystery surrounding the she-spider, and I appreciated the lore aspect involved. I remember being so fascinated with her in the beginning, so I ate up all the information related to her and ‘X’. I can’t say I was disappointed, who would be when it comes to vengeful gods? I even rooted for her; sometimes you just want the villain to win.
Lastly, there’s one thing that didn’t quite add up in regards to Chester, and it bothered me a little. In theory, a parasite that can read the minds of its host is all well and good, especially for its survival, but in execution it can get messy. An example of this is when Victoria planned to get rid of Chester once and for all, but Chester had no idea of her ultimate scheme. Surely she would have known? Her ignorance just didn’t add up, and it felt almost like an injustice.
In conclusion: I didn’t dislike Victoria – I came to acknowledge it for what it was – but I preferred the first in the series. The lack of horror elements in favour of action scenes didn’t completely do it for me, but I liked the character development.
She knew true evil and could practically sense it, feeling the greed, wrath, and hate that coursed through the veins of mankind.
© Red Lace 2019