It That Has No Name II: House on Highway 89 by P.S. Kessell

Synopsis

A young woman discovers that she has powerful, ancestral gifts when she and her friends become victims of an upper-level demon in a house infamous for unexplained deaths and mysterious occurrences. Amber becomes aware of her gifts as she has to defend her life and the lives of her friends, old and new, when they decide to spend Halloween night inside the house on Highway 89.

Amber meets Katie, a young woman who shares an interest in the supernatural while in a gift store owned by Katie. Katie had survived the horrors of this unnamed source of evil when she was a senior in high school. It was then that Katie learned about her own gifts, gifts her own family had decided not to share with her. She was lucky to survive that night with her life. She was the only survivor back then. Now, It is back!

Her friends have no idea of the hell they are awakening in that house. Katie is back to help Amber save her friends from the insane nightmares created by this demonic presence. It has power to control what one sees, hears, and experiences, causing real and terrifying threats to their lives. The demon has the ability to assume the image of any person or thing and terrorizes Its victims to death. Can Katie and Amber use their power to help their friends survive? Who else will come to help them? Only the pages of this thriller will tell.

Evaluation

As book II in the series, this story bridges book I and book III.

  • Part 1 of Book II: Leads us from where Katie left off in Book I to her ascension as a witch
  • Part 2 of Book II: We meet the new group of teens to travel to the House on Highway 89
  • Part 3 of Book II: The set up for book III.

I’ve beta read book III of this series and can tell you that book II is my least favorite of the three, but is most definitely a necessary read.

Personifying the House on Highway 89

Anytime you think of It That Has No Name, you immediately recall two images: 1) It with his skull face, red eyes and black cloak; 2) the house that It possesses. The House on Highway 89 is a fear-inducing character all its own. You know as soon as Kessell starts describing the remote house on that lonely road that it’s THAT house, and you say goodbye to any characters who dare enter it.

The Ultimate Villain

Kessell has written by far one of my favorite villains. It is a completely merciless demon who tortures his victims to a grizzly death with their worst fears. I think one element that makes a villain truly evil is how confident readers feel facing the demon. It is one villain I would NEVER want to go against, so Kessell wrote him well!

“It ripped the flesh from the top of his head…Using a meat cleaver, It pounded on his head until It cracked the skull and pulled his brain out. It squeezed Steven’s brain in its hand until the brain was just mush between Its claws.” (page 72)

Why Only 4/5 Stars

  • Disappointed that we didn’t get a fight scene between Katie and the villains MayTai and Celebre in the beginning of the book. We got a recap of what happened, but a fight scene would have been a more entertaining way to explain the development of Katie’s power as a witch.
  • The useless details in the background building of the new characters (where they work, who their parents are, where their parents work, how much money their families have) was written with passion for the characters but is completely irrelevant to the plot.
  • Katie’s convenient abilities as a witch is EXACTLY why I despise magic in fiction. Magic always provides a way to defeat villains or escape danger when all other methods are exhausted or impossible, and you can literally make up any spell or incantation that cannot be refuted, and it feels like the easy way out every time.
  • I didn’t understand the “sisters of the craft” until the end of the book. In the beginning, they’re mentioned around the same time as Katie opening this shop for other witches, so I assumed the Sisters of the Craft were actual people Katie had recruited through the shop. But turns out by the end of the book when she’s alone fighting It in the House on Highway 89, she calls upon the Sisters of the Craft and I realize they’re witches in another realm. Dead witches from Katie’s family, I think. But the explanation of them could have been clearer.

All in all, this book was an instant-buy because book I was SO terrifying, and It did not disappoint in book II. That’s what I love about him…his fearsome savagery never fails. Like I mentioned above, book II is my least favorite of the series, but it’s a necessary read. Without it, you won’t understand the entire plot of book III. So grab your copy now and get spooked!

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