It’s always a little nerve-racking to sit down and read the sequel to a novel you loved so much you’d sell your own mother just for a chance to read it again, so it was with many nervous glances towards the book at the top of my to-read pile I picked up Ace of Spiders.
I’d love to say I read it in one sitting, but actually I got tonsilitis on the day I started it, and the antibiotics knocked me out so much that I could barely lift the book, so it took me a week to get to the final dramatic and unexpected conclusion.
Is this book as good as Bitter Sixteen? Yes. Was it the sequel I was expecting? Absolutely not. Do I still think Stefan Mohamed is one of the best writers in the known universe? Do bears crap in the woods?
After discovering his superpowers at the age of 16, Stanly is now frustrated at the reality of day-to-day living, even for someone who can fly there’s not a lot happening and he craves adventure and excitement. Oh my does he get some! Old enemies mix with new enemies mix with Stanly’s own shortcomings and frustrations to create an explosive mix of plot twists and revelations that had me gasping in shock, or running to hide behind the sofa.
I reluctantly read the last few chapters, not wanting to leave the Bitter Sixteen world so soon, not wanting the ending I could see was coming. At the last few lines I felt like I was abandoning Stanly to an uncertain future. The strength of the book lies, not only in Stanly’s immensely likeable personality despite his failings, but in Stefan Mohamed’s ability to draw you in to a complex and fast paced but entirely believable world of monsters, superpowers, and sarcastic teenagers.
If you haven’t read Bitter Sixteen, do it, and then grab Ace of Spiders off the shelf as quickly as you can – you won’t regret it.