With all the twists, turns and scares of a blockbuster teen horror flick, Randall’s second offering in his Waking series rockets off at a breakneck pace through lingering curses, evil spirits and lush descriptions of Japanese culture.
Gaijin Kara Harper is assimilating nicely into her Japanese school and has closely bonded with the group of friends with whom she battled a horrible demon (The Waking: Dreams of the Dead, 2009). Kara and her friends belong to the school’s Noh club, and they are thrilled to be preparing the school’s first performance of a Noh play about the Hannya: a chilling tale of a snake demon that possesses a beautiful woman. However, when members of the club begin disappearing, Kara and her friends quickly realize that evil has again found its way into their school. Randall provides enough back story to give new readers an adequate jumping-in point, so familiarity with the first installment is not necessary. Fans teetering on the edge of the cliffhanger ending will delight in the knowledge (and short wait) that the final volume in the trilogy is slated for later this year. Using all the usual horror elements, Randall constructs a fine teen chiller complete with mean-girl drama, a dash of romance and the angst of teens who believe that adults do not understand them.A darkly spooky whirlwind of a read. (Horror. 13 & up)