ARC Review: Verum-Courtney Cole


VERUM, the second book in Courtney Cole’s psychological mind-bending NOCTE Trilogy, is here.

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Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

cooltext1889161239 copyMy name is Calla Price and I’m drowning.

My new world is a dark, dark ocean and I’m being pulled under by secrets.

Can I trust anyone? I don’t know anymore.

The lies are spirals. They twist and turn, binding me with their thorns and serpentine tongues. And just when I think I have it figured out, everything is pulled out from under me.

I’m entangled in the darkness.

But the truth will set me free.

It’s just ahead of me, so close I can touch it. But even though it shines and glimmers, it has glistening fangs and I know it will shred me.

Are you scared?

I am.

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cooltext1889171582 copy5/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review and participation in this tour with BadAss Marketing.

For those who follow my reviews, when I read Nocte, I wasn’t sold on the story. In part, I think it was because of the curse of too much hype. Everyone was talking about Nocte, the tantalizing cover was haunting and beautiful and seemed to spam every social media source. I read the blurb and finally, read the story. I felt, let down, unsatisfied but I had to know what happened so I pushed and I read and my head spun. The line between reality and nightmare blurred and became one and the same. Nocte was a waking dream, plagued with a hellish landscape of regret and repressed memory. Verum takes the horror up a notch, painting a Gothic illusion mixed with trippy bursts of what could be hallucination, memory, or fact. Nothing is what it seems and the darkness reigns in an oppressive aura of terror and loss-loss of stability, of sanity, of hope for escape. Just when you think you have it figured out clues converge into a stark, dizzying new reality. 

PROS:

  • The twists and turns are a prison in a never-ending maze with no door. Mystery builds to mind-blowing climax as truths are revealed but the problem is, even truth is cloudy and can’t be trusted. Reading, I tried to pull together the terrifying little phrases that stuck out, poisoning the story, laced with acid and darkness. I speculated and second guessed and nothing turned out like I thought. I still hold out on my theory for book 3 though. I might be right yet 🙂 
  • There’s new scenery in Verum. Bleak and gray, Whitley is a Gothic hellscape of unknown and oppressive feeling. The emptiness overwhelms and seeps beneath the surface, suffocating and possessing. The walls close in and what seems like ghosts taunt and caress Calla, sending her into another spiral of maybe madness or finally truth. Whitley is very Jane Eyre. The dismal mood colors the whole story and as Calla’s hope dwindles, the need for answers surges to an almost uncontrollable frenzy. 
  • Calla’s mind is more fragile than ever before. The road to recovery is a minefield of explosive revelations that threaten to send her right back over the edge. Calla must save herself, she’s the only one who can, and in order to do that she must remember. But to remember, Calla comes face to face with her trauma and the emotional turmoil is too much to bear. Calla’s confusion is more pronounced. The struggle to understand, to free her memory, to learn the truth is an ever present mantra. Calla is frustrated and on the edge of giving up. Her search for answers seems fruitless and doing more damage than good. Calla pushes herself and as she taps at the glass castle of her mind, it fissures and cracks but holds. Calla’s grief is a veil over her mind, she protects herself in the best way she can and yet, is so determined to uncover the truth hidden beneath the lies she has no choice but to live. Entering the mind of this character is dangerous and that fear is all part of the ride. 
  • The cliffhanger. EVERY SINGLE TIME. I don’t think I’ve ever cursed at a book so much in my entire history of reading. As I pasted clues together into a haphazard collage of maybes, I got angry. The drive to KNOW, to figure it out is consuming, addictive, and seriously infuriating. Then THAT ENDING. 
  • Dare is sexy and foreboding. He is cast in shadow, made of half-truths and things left unsaid. What you do know is this, Dare is arrogant and yet painfully wounded by his past. He’s gorgeous, lovable, and jaded. He’s Calla’s light and darkness combined. He breathes enigma and walks in paradox. He’s sensual, brilliant, a little twisted and they complete each other. Sometimes, Dare’s lack of answers will leave you furious and wanting. Together, Dare and Calla are a mess but a beautifully broken one. They’re chemistry, heated touches, poetry incarnate. 
  • The covers, the teasers, are perfect. They capture the edgy uncertainty, the death and life in colorful, ghostly imagery. 
  • The tarot cards and semi-paranormal elements were a lovely addition to this story. They bordered on believable because Calla’s mind is unsound. They added something far more sinister, a sickening sense of anticipation and fear for what’s coming and what Calla will uncover.

CONS:

  • Many questions were left unanswered. Pieces of the puzzle keep piling up with no clue when they’ll end. Even that cliffhanger, it’s not final, it’s fluid, there’s no telling if it’s reality. 
  • The leap from Oregon to Whitley was fast and with little explanation. Dare’s heritage left me reeling for a bit and suddenly it was front and center. This jump from one reality to another was unsettling and just a bit too much. Some ease into it might have opened up the story for more interpretation and acceptance.

Get NOCTE, the first book in the trilogy:

NOCTE-cover-600px Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Add it on Goodreads

Sign up for Courtney Cole’s Superfan Newsletter to get updates on LUX, the final book in the NOCTE Trilogy, coming Summer 2015.

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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