The Boy in the Locked Room is a good example of second book syndrome. The first story sets the characters and world building. The second story needs to continue that momentum going, while further developing the storylines (if that’s the format the author’s chosen) as well as allowing for character growth.
It definitely shouldn’t raise more issues than it does contribute towards a bettering a relationship with the characters and the series arc the author’s laying out.
Which is my problem with The Boy in the Locked Room . See full list at the bottom.
At the end of The Ghost in the Hall , a book I loved btw, the MC the medium, Edward Campion, had become paralyzed from the waist down, due to a battle with a evil spirit.
Avery’s descriptions of Ward dealing with his long recovery, his disability and it’s very real impact on every aspect of his life is raw, filled with tears, darkness, and is absolutely believable.
Ward isn’t thinking about the boy who needs saving. And still visits him nightly, albeit rarely in the beginning of the book. Ward is rightfully concerned with his own personal issues. His business, which is taking a hit because of his recovery. He’s depressed and feeling too dependent on others, like his orc Professor boyfriend, Mason . They’ve moved in together but even that’s feeling out of sync. The adjustment isn’t going smoothly.
This is where I’m conflicted because Avery does an incredible job with Ward in this situation , once having made the decision to injure Ward so severely in the story. However, it now becomes so much a part of the current story that any other subjects or threads are relegated to a lesser narrative status.
Including the boy in the locked room.
What comes next in the high percentage of scenes after the turmoil of Ward adjusting to his disability and new reality is his sex life. Or rather his and Mason’s. This does dovetail into how both parties are relating to each other physically and emotionally after Ward’s trauma.
But, there’s so many that just as we start with a scene or storyline that’s connected to Rayn, the tormented boy that’s dream walking, and crying out for help, it’s stopped. And we’re back to yet another sex scene.
The entire subject of the book’s title is given very little space until the story is halfway finished which is a shame because the horror and mystery is a excellent idea, but truly not given the depth or details it needs.
So where did the space go to? Chapter 19. A chapter the author themselves states, in a Dear Readers note within the book , can be skipped over because it includes,“an attempted sexual assault in Chapter 19. Readers who have survived similar experiences may be more comfortable skipping ahead to Chapter 20.” Avery has written a raw, graphic scene that’s hard to read, where a vulnerable person is being sexually assaulted. This includes a suspenseful build up as well as the scene itself. It’s the entire chapter.
This also includes a trip to the hospital, rape kit scene, and police investigation. Raw and brutal, as it would be.
There’s one impactful magical element that’s of note. It could be referenced or brought into this story another way outside of this chapter.
So my issue and question is, if a full chapter and entire major aspect of a plot and character storyline be skipped over, is it really necessary to begin with? Especially one that’s so traumatic, carries with it triggers, and deep emotional pain ?
Was it just needed to bring that one magical development to light?
That’s a chapter that could have been used to further the complicated history and horror that’s Rayn. Or any of the other ghosts or families asking Ward and Mason for assistance. Some including Sylvia are fantastic.
And let’s not forget the fantastic elf Detective Hart. His role here was enlarged, remarkable, and again makes me want a series just for him.
So for me? The Boy in the Locked Room (Beyond the Veil #2) by K.M. Avery suffered from :
✓ too many sex scenes, which leads to
✓ a lack of concentration on the actual title subject matter,
✓ the fact it contains an entire chapter devoted to a brutal attempted sexual assault that the author said could be skipped . So is it really necessary?
Final question. If a book has wonderful characters, great ideas, and moments where it seems to come together but just didn’t because of every reason I just stated, would you be recommending it?
I’ll leave you to decide the final answer.
Beyond The Veil series:
✓ The Ghost in the Hall #1
✓ The Boy in the Locked Room #2
◦ The Skeleton Under the Stairs #3
Sometimes dreams aren’t just dreams…
The boy begging for help in my nightmares is very real. He’s trapped, and it’s up to me and Mason to get him out. The trouble is, we have to find him first.
It would be a lot easier if we weren’t also trying to solve a series of magical murders and deal with my horrible ex-boyfriend at the same time.
Oh, and on top of that, I’m trying to make this relationship work, but that’s not the easiest thing to do when you’re a magnet for ghosts and murderers, your ex is a complete narcissist, and your boyfriend is an orc witch.
As they say, when it rains, it pours.
A HFN, M/M Paranormal Romance—book two in Mason and Ward’s story.
Book Two of Beyond the Veil.
Book One: The Ghost in the Hall
(TW: Attempted on page graphic sexual assault)
Unless it’s noted, all books reviewed have been purchased by the reviewer.