Series Round-Up: Experiment in Terror Series by Karina Halle

experiment-in-terror

One of my most favorite series of all time! I actually finished the first 6 books in a week or so, I think. I was that addicted to it right off the bat. But aside from the suspense and thrill of the stories in each book, what really drew me to this series was Karina’s writing. I just love her storytelling methods and how she wrote the main characters—Dex and Perry. The fact that they aren’t perfect to begin with kept the whole story grounded and it all the more made the series development more believable as well… I mean as believable as it can be with all the paranormal/supernatural action in the background.

Not all books were equally written and developed when it comes to the horror and suspense factor. Of course each had its own highs and lows, but overall, I’d say that all of the books are must-reads. I haven’t gotten around to reading some of the novellas such as ‘The Benson‘ and ‘Old Blood‘, but I’m sure I’ll love them just as much as I adore the rest of the other books.

Here’s my ranking of the 6 main books that I’ve read in the series so far. This is based on my overall perception of the main plot, character development, and of course the scare factor:

On Demon Wings —> Dead Sky Morning —> Lying Season —> Into the Hollow —> Darkhouse —> Red Fox

Okay so here are my reviews straight from Goodreads. I’ll just add a scare factor rating of 1-5 (5 being holy-shit-kind-of-scary) in order to have a firmer grasp on what to expect in each book.

1. DARKHOUSE [Scare Factor: 3.5/5]

11356211

Officially hooked on this series!!!

Just one question, though. I’m not sure if I read too fast and just missed it, but was there ever an explanation as to what happened to Dex on that night that he and Perry first met at the lighthouse? I was just curious why Perry never asked what happened to him after she managed to get out with the help of her cousins. Anyway, that’s my only concern.

Looking forward to the next books! 🙂

2. RED FOX [Scare Factor: 3/5]

SONY DSC

I think I like Dex minus the pills more! I’m really glad they’re (especially Dex) warming up more with each other amidst the chaos.

Still loving the narration and the flow of the story! I don’t know why but I do hope that Maximus would stick around, perhaps as some sort of extra hand with some of Dex and Perry’s cases. I found myself warming up to him all the more when he handed Perry one hotel room key for her and Dex to stay in for the night. He seems like a good guy who can actually be trusted. (Jennifer really has to go though)

“Dex,” I whispered.
“Mmmm?” he grunted.
“I hope you never stop feeling alive.” I could have sworn his heart skipped a few beats. He tensed. Then relaxed.
“As long as you’re around,” he said softly, “I’ll be alive.”
 

As for the story itself, it was still a roller coaster but definitely a crazier one compared to the first. I somehow predicted who the skinwalkers were thanks to some hints thrown in at the first half of the book, but I wasn’t completely sure. I like that it still remained pretty much unpredictable for me for the most part, but Perry really needed to be more careful with whatever drink is being handed to her by people she doesn’t really trust. Anyway, I’m a bit disappointed that the whole dilemma wasn’t completely resolved but I guess the truth would have to do in the meantime. Excited for more scare-fest with the next book! 🙂

3. DEAD SKY MORNING [Scare Factor: 5/5]

12322385

I’m really glad I read this book in broad daylight. This is without a doubt the freakiest book so far in the series. An isolated island filled with tormented ghosts of lepers and two missionaries—surely something was bound to go wrong during Dex and Perry’s stay, and indeed there were… a lot.

I instantly got freaked out with the first “heehee” of that damn undead baby/child. And then there were Mary, John, and the lepers. I’m really surprised that Dex and Perry managed to sneak in some sexy time even with a wailing ghost outside of their tent. Not that I’m complaining, it was about time they did something with all that pent up sexual tension.

I also liked that I learned more about Dex and Perry’s past, even if it was through huge amounts of Jack Daniels, some drinking games, and a know-it-all ghost named Mary. I just really wish that they could be more brutally honest with each other, but of course that would be too easy. Their little date before heading out to the island was also a good break from all the horror-fest, even if some Jennifer news ruined it. (She really has to go). But at least in the end, Dex and Perry have managed to seal a stronger bond between them even though the lines are still quite blurry.

“What if I really am alone?”
“Baby, you aren’t alone. I’m here.”

He put his hand on my face and looked at me with the most magnetic, impassioned spark in his dark eyes. “I’m real. This is real.”

P.S. I think I died a little bit inside every time Dex calls Perry baby. Please Jennifer, just go evaporate or something.

4. LYING SEASON [Scare Factor: 4/5]

13061289

Holyyyy mental hospitals!!! Ahhh this was one hell of a read. First and foremost, I liked how this did not follow the same formula the other three books did: Perry’s premonition/dream, actual case, premonition/dream coming true, then the conclusion, etc. NOPE! This was probably the story that’s most grounded in reality so far in the series.

So we finally meet Jenn and she did not fall short of my expectations when it comes to being a total and complete b*tch. I mean if she turned out to be genuinely nice and sweet, then that would make things harder but she did make it so much easier to hate her with her bitchiness plus the other major stuff she did. I was really hoping for a Jenn and Perry showdown though.

Which then leads me to the developments in Dex and Perry’s relationship. I’m somehow thankful that the author dragged the build-up instead of providing an insta-love story ’cause it made it all worth it and more relatable. Inasmuch as I’d like to give out major spoilers, I guess I won’t because it’s worth discovering for yourself. I mean… just wow—with all the little sweet moments, the stare downs, and that ending. Let’s just say that if I were in Perry’s position, I would’ve punched Dex’s nose again without hesitation. But then again, I do understand him… somehow.

“I want you to stay with me, and that’s the problem. Every time you leave me, I need you a little bit more.”

“For once, I felt everything. And the biggest thing I felt was the way I felt about you. That was like a hammer to the heart.”

“It’s not magic, Perry. You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever known and before you say anything, you’ve always been that way to me.”

“You’ve always been there for me, Perry. Even from the beginning, even if you never meant to be, even when you shouldn’t have been. You’re the light in all this madness. You’re my light. I should have been with you… Oh God, why am I not with you?”

Even though the scare-fest somewhat took a backseat in this book, it still gave me the chills. I mean come on, they were in a freakin’ mental hospital. I think what got me scared the most was when Dex and Perry was in one of the rooms and the ghost of the security guard was just outside the door. That and Abby’s random apparitions. I don’t know why but I wasn’t completely offended that Perry did some experiment with Dex’s medications, because I’m all for Dex without pills. And he said it himself that he felt more alive with those medications anyway, even if it meant that he’s going to see the vengeful ghost of his dead ex-girlfriend again. Speaking of, I also hope that I’ll get to read more explanation as to what ghost Abby wants in the next book. I felt that this story was more of developing Dex and Perry’s relationship and providing some sort of prequel and build-up to some huge shit that’s about to explode in the next book in the series.

5. ON DEMON WINGS [Scare Factor: 5/5]

SONY DSC

Wow. Just wow. Can’t this girl catch a break? And by this girl, I meant Perry of course. From having her heart crushed, to the heartbreaking miscarriage, to getting fired, to her parents not believing her, and oh… to being possessed and haunted by a vengeful spirit and a demon—things couldn’t get worse for Perry Palomino in this book.

I probably read the first 3/4 of this book as quickly as I could ’cause it was too heartbreaking to not have Dex there with her. I kinda thought Maximus could genuinely help her but I guess it was all about getting back at Dex for their college feud. Stupid douchecanoe. It’s a good thing Ada provided Perry with some much-needed help and assistance whenever she needed it, and boy did she need it. I’m just slightly scared for Ada since it seems like she’s starting to become more like Perry when it comes to the seeing paranormal shit situation. But more than anything else, I love their relationship and how Ada seems more like the bigger sister to Perry as well. Team Little Fifteen!

And of course, Team Dex to the rescue! My heart stopped the moment he spoke while standing at Perry’s door. It was as if I could finally breathe with him in the whole scenario. Even though I was still hurting ’cause of what he did to Perry, I knew he was the one she needed the most at that time as ironic as that may be.

Finally, the exorcism scene. My jaw dropped at how vivid it was to the point that I knew it was a bad idea to read that part at midnight, but I just couldn’t stop! It almost felt like I was the one being exorcised with how well it was written and I was scared out of my wits because of how clear I can imagine the whole scenario. Those scenes with Pippa and when Dex basically offered his life to get Perry back surely tugged at my heartstrings more than anything as well, especially with the “our hearts are magnets”moment. And man oh man, Dex still knows how to say the most perfect words when Perry needs to hear it the most:

“I don’t think I’ll ever be able to tell you how sorry I am. It doesn’t mean I won’t try, because you, Perry, you deserve a lifetime of servitude. Eons of groveling. Even then, I don’t think I can show enough, do enough to let you see. And that’s OK. You have every right to hate me for this lifetime and many others. You have every right to never see me again. To spit on my grave. But tonight, now, I’m not going to give up on you. I’m going to fix you or die trying.”

DAMN RIGHT, Dex. Team Dex all the way!

6. INTO THE HOLLOW [Scare Factor: 3.5/5]

13617933

It’s almost impossible not to dive in head-straight to this book after that crushing cliffhanger ending of “On Demon Wings”. I devoured this book so much that I didn’t even notice how fast I was actually reading it because it was that good and entertaining. It wasn’t even so much about the actual Sasquatch/Big Foot dilemma, but more of how Dex and Perry try to rebuild their relationship a.k.a. how Dex desperately tries to win Perry back. And the whole moving in with Dex in Seattle? That could probably categorized under one of “PERRY’S BEST LIFE DECISIONS EVER.”

“If you need me, you’ll know where I am. The room next door.”

“I was trying to be a better man, Perry. For you. And I’ll keep trying, until I get it right.”

And that damn tattoo that made my insides melt: WITHIN YOUR LIGHT, I LOSE THE MADNESS.

“I know it doesn’t matter to you anymore, but you’ve always been my light. When I’m with you, I lose this darkness, this madness around me. The madness inside me. But I had to go mad to realize that. I had to lose you to know it.”

“This is me trying, Perry. This is me taking my heart out of my chest and putting the bloody mess in your hands. I can’t give you much more than that.”

“I love you Perry. I love you so fucking much. And i’m losing myself. I’m losing myself to you and I don’t care anymore because there’s never been a better feeling in the whole fucking world. I love you. So much. Too much. Always.”

I fell head over heels with these crazy heart-wrenching words plus some crude and funny one-liners as well. TEAM DEX 2.0 ALL THE WAY BABY!!!

Okay fine, the whole beast/Sasquatch/Big Foot thing did freak me out a bit, but I think ghosts and demons were the ones that scared me the most in this whole series so I got over the scare-fest in this book pretty quickly. P.S. RIP Twatwaffle/Jackass/Apricot, you were loved.

Really hoping that Dex and Perry’s relationship would develop more for the better after this! ♥

6.5. AND WITH MADNESS COMES THE LIGHT

16159713

This kinda reminds me of Elixir by Jennifer Armentrout minus the whole gods scenario, of course. It’s similar in the way you see and feel how the guy deals with the grief, torment, and determination to save the girl they love even if it means they die trying. I really felt everything as if I was right there beside Dex with every single thing he went through in this book.

I was seriously blown away with the first few parts dedicated to his mourning and rehabilitation. Almost every single sentence spoke to me, since that kind of grief and loss is very relatable as well and especially since I myself have gone through a very similar ordeal. Who knew I would be able to relate more with the guy’s feelings than the girl’s?

“I love her, more than anyone should love anything. The kind of love that either fills you up or eats away at you. I love her at my own risk. I love her…dangerously.”

“I could feel it coming, swarming me from deep inside. That gnawing of your heart, like some little bug was devouring it before moving onto your lungs. You can’t breathe. You can’t do anything but sink as your chest caves in, and the despair, that fucking maddening sadness, eradicates every fiber of your being.”

This pretty much took the prize home when it comes to expressing how it really is with extreme heartaches and heartbreaks:

That was the ball-sucking thing about heartache. It didn’t follow logic or physics or any sort of rules. It wasn’t that you started off in absolute grief and then slowly better. It was a rollercoaster of emotions, from hate to love and back again. Each day was different. It was a roll of the dice, a turn of the cars.”

Another thing I loved about the first half of this book was the support that Dex’s friends gave him, especially Rebecca and Dean. Of course, I appreciate Bird’s help the most with how he helped Dex in saving Perry’s life.

And when I thought my heart couldn’t take anymore of Dex’s wallowing-turned-strong-determination to become a better man for Perry, my heart was crushed when he finally saw her again in the state she was in and when Ada not-so-gently broke the news of Perry’s pregnancy and unfortunate miscarriage. In the end, I’m really just very thankful to get inside Dex’s head during these crucial moments.

“You’re my light in all this madness, Perry. It all fades away when I’m with you. Everything fades until it’s just you and it’s just me. I’m Dex and you’re Perry and I love you. I won’t stop loving you, even when you won’t love me. I love you more than I can ever really tell you. I love you until the end.”

I would have loved the baby too, more than you’ll ever know.” AHHH DEX 2.0!!!!!!!!

P.S. I’m kinda itching for Dex’s POV during some crucial scenes of “Into The Hollow” though. Please?

Itching for the next book ‘Come Alive‘!!!

**Coming in JUNE 2013 – Told entirely from Dex’s POV**

Perry, Dex, Maximus.
Voodoo.
New Orleans.
’nuff said.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: