Author: Tom Hoyle
Series: Thirteen, #2
Format: Paperback, won via
My rating: 4 / 5
From the author of Thirteen: a fast-paced thriller for teens set in a world where ordinary kids are confronted by evil.
Adam may have survived once, but a cult still has him in its sights. And this time he may not escape with his life...
Abbie's dad is an undercover agent, tasked with exposing dangerous cults. He's normally able to maintain his distance, but this time Abbie's worried he's in too deep.
Megan was sure she and Adam were safe, but now he's gone missing on a school ski trip in Scotland and she's the only one who can help him . . .
The web is closing in around them . . .
-- As seen on Goodreads
I really need to mention this first: Spiders is the sequel to Tom Hoyle’s debut novel, Thirteen. I don’t see it highlighted too much on Goodreads, and I just wanted to mention that both books ARE linked, and I feel reading Thirteen before Spiders is essential. This review is completely spoiler free for both books, but just a little warning if you want read the books in the future and be influence-free!
Personally, I thought Spiders was SO much better than Thirteen! Cults, and their dangers, are not talked about enough and I love that this series highlights the harsh realities of these ‘organisations’. The topic doesn’t come around too often in Young Adult books, and I loved the way it was explored here. With Spiders being written in the third person, we get to see events unfold from both sides of the story. Back when I was in school, we did several different studies on various cults operating in Ireland, and I thought the way the topic has been handled in Spiders was chillingly accurate. The blind belief that the followers have is just plain unsettling, and I really think the author did an excellent job of conveying this. The control that Bolleskine has over his followers is so well portrayed. It’s believable, and yes, I’ll say it again, chilling. But, oh gosh, it’s so good!
I’m so glad I can say I genuinely liked all the characters in Spiders. I don’t feel there is a ‘main character’ as we are so used to seeing – it’s more focused on all the characters as a whole, and how each character relates to the particular plot element that we are being shown. I really felt for Adam, though! After everything that happened with Coron and The People in the first book, to be thrown in and facing it all again was so hard on him and his friends. The characters are a little older here; I remember fifteen being mentioned, so I’m assuming most of his friends are around the mid-teen stage. I think the new characters that were introduced provided a fantastic breath of fresh air – in particular Bolleskine and Abbie – and their presence added to the story and helped to enhance the existing characters personalities.
I remember mentioning in my review of Thirteen that the writing style felt a bit too stark and clinical for my liking, and I didn’t really connect with the characters, either. I felt Spiders was a lot more appealingly descriptive that its predecessor, and while the distance still remains, the actual style had a warmth to it this time – it still had the clinical crafting, but the ragged edges were smoothed out, leaving a really intriguing story behind.
I think I enjoyed the build up to the ending, more than the actual ending (if that makes any sense!) I much preferred Abbie’s role in the conclusion over Adam’s… but that’s all I’m going to mention about it – avoiding spoilers and all! The book ends on a similar note to Thirteen, as this part of the story concludes nicely, but the last chapter leaves a few crumbs to set up for a sequel. I’m going out on a limb and assuming there will be a continuation to the story in the future, and I really hope there will be! I’m definitely looking forward to it!