Wednesday, October 24, 2018

13 Days of Halloween: Echoes in the Walls by V.C. Andrews

Pocket Books; 400 pages; Amazon

When I hear the author's name V.C. Andrews, I think of the word "Gothic," as her original Flower in the Attic and sequels had the perfect Gothic-vibe to them. However, when it comes to the ghostwritten titles written by Andrew Neiderman, the Gothic touch that I loved so much seems to have completely vanished. The once well-plotted novels have been replaced with generic young adult stories.

Like most V.C. Andrews' fans, I've been very critical of the last batch of ghostwritten titles, all of which were badly written with one-dimensional characters. Just when I was about to give up on all future V.C. Andrews books, I read House of Secrets and I didn't hate it. (Read my review here!). Yes, it had some writing issues, but the plot and characters were a major improvement.

Here I am today writing my review for the sequel Echoes in the Walls, which was published on August 28th. Pocket Books has sent an ARC copy a few weeks prior to the release date, but I held off reading it, just so I could feature it during this year's Halloween event!

It's a little difficult for me to explain the actual plot of the sequel without giving away the ending of House of Secrets. WARNING - THERE WILL BE SPOLIERS!

House of Secrets centered around Fern, a teenager who has lived her entire life at the Wyndemere mansion with her mother, who worked as a maid for the Davenport family. While Fern isn't supposed to have anything to do with the Davenport children, she has developed a close relationship with Ryder Davenport, who she has romantic feelings for. To make a long story short, towards the ending of the book Fern learns that Mr. Davenport is her real father and Ryder is her half-brother.

After barely surviving a boat accident, Ryder now has selective memory and he doesn't remember that Fern is his half-sister. Most of the time in Echoes in the Walls, Ryder has no clue who Fern is and has long forgotten his sexual feelings for her. Actually, the character has very little to do in the sequel. He's either shut inside his room or spending time at the hospital.

The majority of the sequel centers on Fern's relationship with her new boyfriend, Dillon, which is full of the typical teenage romance cliches. When she's not with Dillon, Fern has her mind on the upcoming school production of Dracula.

Let me start out by mentioning this book was a really quick read for me. The book is nearly 400 pages and I read it late last night in one sitting.

CONS: The first few chapters spends way too much time recapping the first book, House of Secrets. Trust me when I say this, most readers who will buy Echoes in the Walls have already read the first novel, so they don't need a recap!! There is absolutely no plot!!! The main characters spends 3/4 of the novel debating whether or not she should tell her half-brother about their previous relationship. The rest of the story is Fern's quest to sleep with her boyfriend, Dillon, who happens to be one of the most horribly written characters ever.

PROS: Similar to previous books, Echoes in the Walls is written a little better than the last handful of V.C. Andrews titles. The narration and pacing is pretty decent.

Echoes in the Walls might be a slight improvement in the ghostwriter's writing style, but there's no reason why this book needed to exist in the first place. House of Secrets should have been a standalone novel, as there's no more story to tell. Besides from Ryder's memory problem, nothing important occurs. In the end, I didn't like reading Echoes in the Walls!!

Note: A third novel, Whispering Hearts, is scheduled to be released next year. Why????

*I received a review copy from the publisher.
All opinions are my own.

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