The box has opened a door to the dark place where the voice Corbin hears dwells. Not only that, but she’s brought it forth in human form, into her world, into the light. But others have been alerted to her existence, and Six is only the beginning of the imaginary becoming real. Torn between her love for Six and wanting a normal life, Corbin must decide if she should live in the light or hide in the dark.
Note: I was provided with a copy of this book by the author for review.
After the cliff hanger Rae left us with at the end of The Crow Box, and with a title like The Snake Den for the sequel, it was easy to imagine all kinds of things and imagine what Corbin had gotten involved with. But in true Nikki Rae style there are revelations and developments in this book that surprise you, making you realise things aren’t always as they seem.
Corbin’s own misunderstandings and attempt to rationalise things means she draw her own conclusions and in the process influences ours, but as each of these are broken down or altered it changes completely where you thought the story was heading. Rae’s writing is lyrical, beautifully descriptive, and sometimes the perfect word conveys the perfect meaning, one word really can make a lot of difference.
While some answers are given, some are not, and some not right away, the cryptic answers and non-answers from Six means you’re always filled with intrigue about what has or will happen, but it also doesn’t crowd the novel and take focus away from other elements. Rae is always advancing the plot and not stalling for the sake of mystery but she is also very clever at weaving it and connecting it together, adding little bits at a time like adding a new square to a quilt. The pace is wonderful and the exploration and expression of Corbin’s uncertainty, her fear but comfort, and familiar attachment that she’d established in book one remains.
The main focus is on Corbin and Six, exploring their connection, relationship, however you’d describe it. But there are also other bits of life and detail scattered throughout; Corbin’s life without Six remains, her mother, her friends, and her schooling, but there is a strong focus on the two of them. This wasn’t a problem, I liked that we needed to take the time to address their situation, Rae doesn’t try to satisfy us with instant acceptance or understanding, nor does she gloss over it leaving the reader unsatisfied, especially after the intense and slow build up that worked so well in the first book.
Six is less of a mystery this time around but he isn’t entirely laid out with a back story, he has a personality beyond a whisper, more of a character now than a presence in Corbin’s ear and he’s a little cheeky and proud of himself which is fun. At times he is like a kid or a proud parent as Rae describes him and it’s cute watching him interact with Corbin and try to please and impress her, helping her understand. But he also isn’t an entirely lovely and placid figure either, there is always a sense that there is an intense power beneath the surface that could rise at any moment if there ever was a need.
There are surprises when you think it’s just going to be one type of story and Rae in true fashion sneaks a twist or two to throw you and taunt you for book three. She has a devious way of lulling you into a false sense of security and pulling you along with a vague tease that you’re uncertain will ever be addressed, before bringing it to a head in the final pages and you’re left once again, with a to be continued… when all you want to do is keep turning pages. This is an excellent next stage in the series and after the surprises in The Snake Den I cannot wait to find out what Rae has in store for Corbin and for Six.
You can purchase The Snake Den via the following