We have been seeing a lot of young adult books from the 90s and early 2000s being re-released in bind-up form - some examples would be the Wicked series
, LJ Smith's body
, and Christopher Pike's The Last Vampire
series and Remember Me
trilogy - and they are something that I have been taking great delight in. Why? Because it gives me and so many others a second chance to get my hands on all these wonderful stories - both the ones already read and the ones that would have otherwise not been.
The Dark Secrets
series by Elizabeth Chandler is one of these reprinted series. Originally published in the early 2000s, the series is made of a number of stories connected not by characters, but by mysterious death and the small town of Wisteria. There are paranormal aspects too, but the paranormal aspects themselves are not exactly the same.
Of the two stories published in this bind-up, my favourite was the first one, Legacy Of Lies
. It was a well-developed, deftly plotted paranormal tale, filled with a cast of interesting and layered characters. Legacy of Lies
mentions and/or touches on a number of paranormal subjects - ghosts, reincarnation and fortune-telling for example - and handles them with remarkable skill; the plot contains enough twists and turns to keep things interesting and from being too easily to solve, but it does not lose its way either. As far as characters go, Megan is a very likable narrator and character on the whole, which makes it easier to deal with rougher parts of the story/less than pleasant characters; her grandmother and cousin reveal their layers over time, proving themselves to be more than just the one note characters they might have been in the hands of some authors.
While still an enjoyable story in its own right, Don't Tell
was still a story weaker than Legacy of Lies
. Lauren is a character less likable than Megan, and has a tendency towards making choices that would deem her "too dumb to live", and the characters did not seem quite as real as they did in Legacy of Lies
. The plot itself does not have quite as sure a footing as Legacy of Lies
did, or even as it potentially could have been - its beginning wavered, seemingly unable to decide where it wanted to go/what it wanted to be, and the ending seemed a little abrupt and out there.
While the second story was not as strong as the first, overall Dark Secrets: Legacy of Lies & Don't Tell
was an enjoyable read, blending paranormal aspects into a mystery story. Dark Secrets: Legacy of Lies & Don't Tell
is out now in the US, and out next month in the UK. Its sequel bind-up, Dark Secrets: No Time To Die & Deep End Of Fear
is out May in the US, and August in the UK.