Monday, 16 July 2012

Book review: Second Chances by Dannye Williamsen

I enjoyed this supernatural thriller, with suspense, romance and murder thrown into the mix. It’s gripping stuff, well written and tightly plotted. 

I won’t tell you what happens as that info is in the book blurb and I don’t want to ruin any surprises, but I can say that this story is a definite page turner and will steal your attention. Towards the end, I was so rushing to get to the finale and find out what was going to happen that I missed my train stop! 

I really liked the character of Avatar, the wolf. He’s a rounded, thoughtful character who introduces the book and the sets the eerie, ‘what’s really going on here?’ atmosphere from the beginning. The personalities of Jeff, Garrison, Freddie, Darian and Jodi are all well-rounded individuals, especially the two central characters of Freddie and Darian. We watch as they lead their separate lives while the threads connecting them are secretly weaving more tightly.

What does a woman do when she finds that she can no longer keep chaos at bay with the forceful control she spreads over everything? The author tells us that Freddie had “spent most of her time trying to orchestrate her life in an attempt to not feel empty, to not feel like a failure despite her success, to not feel lonely.” In the book, she begins to learn new things about herself, her strengths and weaknesses, and the dark secrets that she has never been told. Who is the mystery shadow that comes to haunt her, which she nicknames Mr Personality?

Then there’s Darian. What does a man do when he is broken and becomes a fragment of those parts he once was? Ms Williamsen tells us: “Feelings were all Darian had that he could call his own. So he guarded them carefully, treasured them. Whenever an experience evoked a new feeling, he studied the experience and savoured the feeling in his mind until he could determine where it belonged. Each feeling had a place and a purpose in his mind. It was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. One day he would have all the pieces.”

There is a lot of philosophy and deep thinking in this novel, lying in the background, which I found interesting. I was underlining many things for the ‘notes’ section. The story investigates the yin and yang, the two sides of the coin; the dark and light of the human character. What makes us do what we do? 

It also steps into the nature versus nurture debate. Who are we really? What creates a person? Are people’s characters innate or do our experiences shape us? If someone’s experiences are only dark, how will they turn out? Can we sympathise if they also turn out dark? 

Then there is the idea of fate. What is fate, are we fated to take a certain path no matter how many choices are offered to us? 

And what is choice? Do we all deserve a second chance? Would everyone actually want a second chance? Everyone has choices. As Ms Williamsen writes, “Our lack of understanding of our relationship to the Universe is why we make choices that aren’t healthy.”

There is a lot to tickle your thinking buds in here besides the actual story.

So, all in all, a good storyline, some fascinating ideas, a good plot, interesting and rounded characters, good pace and a definite page turner, along with some creepy scenes, a drop of romance and some genuinely spooky goings on.

The only downside is that this book is a little too dark for me. This genre of book is not one that I normally read. But, that's just me. Anyone who does read horrors and supernatural dark stories will absolutely love it.

Fans of this book will be happy to know there is a follow-up, called The Threads That Bind.

Book links:

Second Chances is available in ebook and paperback format.


  1. Thanks for your kind review, Vickie. Glad you picked up on the underlying themes. :-)

    PS - sorry about the weird icon. Can't seem to get Google to cooperate.

    1. Lol! That's ok. It stands out! It's a fab book :)


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