Skip To Content

Write On Ottawa: A world of vampires, aliens and magic

By Greg Guevara on January 8, 2016

When, I ask you, was the last time you read a book that started with an alien abduction? No pointless preamble, no meaningless interactions between characters we’ll never care about, no killing time for the sake of pacing. Just the simple horror that comes to a young boy as he awakes to find himself surrounded by otherworldly creatures bent on turning him into an asset for The Economy of Fear.

Economy of FearThe Page Turners: Economy of Fear is the second book in Kevin T. Johns’ page-turning horror series and its pace is even more relentless than the first. The hook of The Page Turners is simple: When their favourite books come to life with disastrous consequences, three ninth-grade boys have to work together to stop the fictional horrors they’ve unleashed. With a plot that never lets up, the book transitions seamlessly from vampire battles to alien abductions to hints of a powerful magic that is sure to be unleashed in the next book.

The chapters alternate between the interwoven plotlines of the book’s protagonists, Nate, Danny and Spenser. The characters are immediately recognizable; each falling into their own archetypes but each flawed enough to still be interesting. These flaws, while glaring, are never incomprehensible and never prevent us from relating to the characters. Nate is almost perpetually angry, but never without reason; Danny pushes his sister away from him, but only to protect her; and Spenser is a coward, but who wouldn’t be in a world of vampires, aliens and magic?

The second book distances itself from the teenage drama of the first to instead focus on the development of its scarred characters. Each boy grows into their own distinct character during their respective plotlines, and each has their moments of absolute triumph and horrific failure (often in that order, suitable for the book’s genre).

Each plotline grabbed hold of my attention as soon as it began, and I was kept fully interested the whole way through. I was surprised to find myself eager to know the next twist the plot would take in a world plagued by vampires, aliens and magic.

The writing is functional for an action plot, never meandering or getting overly philosophical. The book is out to tell you a story, and it does a magnificent job of doing so, making vampires and aliens seem not only real, but also threatening. The stakes are constantly being raised (sometimes into vampires’ hearts), each new reveal and life-threatening danger adding to the heightening tension and action.

Fourteen-year-old me would have loved this book, a fast-paced action romp that wastes no time with irrelevant information. That being said, eighteen-year-old me is enjoying it quite a bit for what it is, and I think most modern authors could take a page out of Johns’ book when it comes to his approach on pacing. The book reads more like a movie, and it’s all the better for that—I for one am very glad I didn’t have to slog through three chapters of the protagonists feeding their cats and eating cereal for things to get rolling.

The Page Turners is in many ways everything I want from a book: fast-paced, but well-paced; simple, but never dumb; fantastical, yet always grounded in humanity. Johns’ biggest triumph, however, is living up to his namesake: I can, without hyperbole, say that The Page Turners is a real page-turner.

The Page Turners: The Economy of Fear is available on Amazon. Visit Kevin T. John’s website for more info and check out our review of the first book in the series. A review for his The Novel Writers’ Blueprint is also available