Reviewed by Shona Kinsella
When a group of live action role-players perform a ritual as part of a game, they unwittingly unleash an ancient evil that tears their world apart. The reanimated corpse of a long-dead magic user, corrupted by powerful dark magic, offers a promise of unlimited power, but at a terrible price. Having helped open this Pandora’s box, Mark and Elizabeth must race against time to close it again – before it’s too late.
I really enjoyed the fact that this book was about a group of role-players and gamers – a category of people often left out of fiction. The book opens with this group out in the woods, gradually transitioning from role-play to real life. I think I would have liked to see a little more character work here. One of the group has been seduced by dark magic and goes through a descent into madness. The difficulty, for me, was that we never see this person before the change to their personality so it’s difficult to raise any sympathy for them, or feel Mark’s pain at losing an old friend.
There were a couple of old horror tropes throughout the book, for example the couple who get a bit amorous outside and don’t make it home, but overall it still managed to feel fairly fresh, which is very pleasing to someone like me who has been reading horror since discovering R.L. Stine as a child!
At points the time line seemed a bit muddy and there were one or two scenes that strained my suspension of disbelief but the fast pace kept me racing though the chapters for more. A very enjoyable read.