Saturday, October 17

Rebecca James - Sweet Damage

'I still dream about Anna London's house. In my dreams it's as if the house itself has sinister intentions. But in real life it wasn't the house that was responsible for what happened. It was the people who did the damage ...'

When Tim Ellison finds a cheap room to rent in the perfect location in Sydney it looks like a huge stroke of luck. In fact the room comes with a condition, and the owner of the house, the mysterious Anna London, is unfriendly and withdrawn. When strange and terrifying things start happening in the house at night, Tim wonders if taking the room is a mistake. But then his feelings for Anna start to change, and when her past comes back with a vengeance, Tim is caught right in the middle of it.

A thrilling rollercoaster of a story - read it with the lights on!

I bought Sweet Damage right after its publication but if I'm being completely honest I've never been particularly interested in it. However, when I realized that Rebecca James is also the author of Cooper Bartholomew Is Dead - a novel I'm super excited for - I wanted to get familiar with her earlier works before I pick that one up. Sweet Damage seemed like the perfect choice for a good scare but it turned out to be much more than that! If you continue reading, you'll find a list of all the awesome things in this novel

  • The first awesome thing about Sweet Damage is how easily and completely it sucked me in. From the very first moment I was fully invested in the story and it stayed with me even after I read the last page.
  • The plot is the perfect amount of creepy and mysterious. While there are not many truly scary moments in the novel, there's definitely a spooky atmosphere all through it that kept me fearing what else was the come. The author left a few clues here and there for the readers - though, I know that some people don't feel like this is true - but I didn't get it right, and I don't think the ending can be easily guessed.
  • Speaking of the ending, I thought it was perfect. It was one of those endings that make me want to go back and devour to story again and search for hidden clues.
  • I loved that the novel was written from Tim's point of view but we also got to see a bit of Anna through 3rd person snippets of her past and present. Her chapters helped a lot to get to understand her a bit better, and they were very refreshing.
  • The descriptions of Sydney were beautiful and I loved the modern gothic feeling the book had. 
  • The characters were surprisingly well-made. Underdeveloped and plain characters are, unfortunately, very common in horror and mystery novels because the authors concentrate on the plot, rather than on the characters. Meanwhile, in Sweet Damage the characters were, perhaps, the best part of the book. Rebecca James put layers upon layers of personal traits and created complex and realistic charactersObviously, most of the page time was given to the protagonists but I felt like even the supporting characters were given enough space considering their roles.
  • And thanks to the awesome characters, the relationships were very well-portrayed, as well. I might not have been a fan of a few relationships (e.g. Tim's obsession toward Lilla) but I was able to understand why the characters felt that way.
  • Again, because of the super-real characters, Sweet Damage was a very emotional and touching story, which makes it stand out from other horror novels I've read.
  • This might sound strange but I loved how openly the author talked about sex. In most novels it is either a topic that's shied away from or, on the contrary, a tool to try to attract more readers. However, in Sweet Damage it was simply a normal part of life.

Overall, Sweet Damage is definitely one of the best horror novels I've ever read. It had everything I want in a horror novel, even if it wasn't quite as scary as I would have liked. The characters were exceptional, the plot was suspenseful and exciting, and everything else fell into place perfectly. Definitely recommended to (lighter) horror fans.



  1. I am in the mood for something creepy, and I love gothic horror and complex characters. I will check out this book and the other one you mentioned. Good portrayal of sex is rare to find as well, and you've got me curious about it too. Great review!

    Vane at Books With Chemistry

    1. Glad I made you interested and really hope if you decide to read this one you'll end up loving it as much as I did. Thanks!

  2. I'm not a horror fan, as you know, and I value a lot my sleeping hours at night simply because I don't get much so I'm not sure I could pick this one up LOL but this sounds pretty great and decent and complex characters is what I live for :)

    1. There are a few creepy scenes, but, I think, as soon as you'd get to the conclusion, your fears will be resolved. :) And the characters are SO AWESOME!

  3. I read Cooper Bartholomew earlier this year, and I liked it well enough. I haven't yet ordered this book from the library, but after hearing that people liked this book better - and after this glowing review - I'm definitely moving it to my ASAP pile :)
    I love it when character development isn't put aside in favour of a creepy plot, so this should be good for me!

    1. I remember your review, well your overall feelings you had for the book anyway. I really hope you'll enjoy this just as much as I did. :)


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