COULD FOURTEEN-YEAR-OLD NOAH PROCTOR HAVE SLAUGHTERED HIS FAMILY IN THEIR BEDS, ARRANGED THEIR BODIES ON A COUCH AND PUT THEIR HEADS ON THE MANTEL?
EVERYONE IN TOWN THINKS SO, BUT NOAH’S NOT TALKING.
Proctor Hall is one of Lafourche Parish’s oldest sugar cane plantations. After Noah murdered his parents and little sister in 1963, he went away to an institution while caretakers maintained the place. Twenty-six years later the man who never spoke returned home. A girl disappears and people believe Noah’s up to his old tricks.
Four college students visit the now-abandoned farmhouse as part of a class project, and they fall victim to whoever – or whatever – still resides within its walls. Famous paranormal investigator Landry Drake conducts a séance there, uncovers long-hidden secrets and learns that the horror of Proctor Hall is still at work.
Eeee! It’s time for all things creepy with this one! I’m such a sucker for your “typical” bad-decision-making horror stories and this one fit the bill! Plus there’s plenty of spook within, so make sure to put on a tough face before you pick this one up (and if you need it, maybe turn on all of the lights) if you scare easily. BUT, if you love horror be sure to pick this one up!
This is one of those slow build horror stories. You know it’s coming, but you don’t necessarily know when the spook will drop. And that setting, gah, there’s something about Louisiana that just screams horror! And you know I’m a sucker for ghosties. So all of this added up to such an amazing narrative and story.
I just really thoroughly enjoyed this book! And while it is the 7th in the series, I was able to follow along without a problem jumping into this series in the middle. Plus it’s the perfect read for right now!
About the Author
From his childhood, Bill Thompson had a curiosity of the world that led him to remote mountains, jungle ruins, desert pyramids and more.
Featuring stories from R.L. Stine and Madeleine Roux, this middle grade horror anthology, curated by New York Times bestselling author and master of macabre Jonathan Maberry, is a chilling tribute to Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
Flesh-hungry ogres? Brains full of spiders? Haunted houses you can’t escape? This collection of 35 terrifying stories from the Horror Writers Association has it all, including ghastly illustrations from Iris Compiet that will absolutely chill readers to the bone.
So turn off your lamps, click on your flashlights, and prepare—if you dare—to be utterly spooked!
The complete list of writers: Linda D. Addison, Courtney Alameda, Jonathan Auxier, Gary A. Braunbeck, Z Brewer, Aric Cushing, John Dixon, Tananarive Due, Jamie Ford, Kami Garcia, Christopher Golden, Tonya Hurley, Catherine Jordan, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Alethea Kontis, N.R. Lambert, Laurent Linn, Amy Lukavics, Barry Lyga, D.J. MacHale, Josh Malerman, James A. Moore, Michael Northrop, Micol Ostow, Joanna Parypinksi, Brendan Reichs, Madeleine Roux, R.L. Stine, Margaret Stohl, Gaby Triana, Luis Alberto Urrea, Rosario Urrea, Kim Ventrella, Sheri White, T.J. Wooldridge, Brenna Yovanoff
Who’s ready to get scared?! I just love short story anthologies. And I love them even more when they’re scary short stories! I remember reading Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark with my cousins as a kid, so this book was just such a fun way to bring back allllll of that nostalgia! Plus, who doesn’t love a good scary story?! And I love how the scare factor isn’t held back because this is a “kids” book, sometimes the creepiest things come from those geared towards younger audiences.
This selection of stories is geared as a tribute to the ever enduring OG, and that’s just what they felt like when reading! There was a hint of nostalgia, a dash of reverence, and a whole bunch of creativity. I mean this collection was just the perfect mash of new mixed with that ode to the old.
I just adored this book and all it’s scary glory. While I don’t necessarily scare easily, I do love the feeling of unease that something spooky always brings (I know I’m a smidge twisted). And if you hold any love for scary stories in your heart this book is a MUST. Plus it’s the perfect season to pass these stories around a camp fire!
About the Author
JONATHAN MABERRY is a New York Times best-selling and five-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author, anthology editor, comic book writer, magazine feature writer, playwright, content creator and writing teacher/lecturer. He was named one of the Today’s Top Ten Horror Writers. His books have been sold to more than two-dozen countries.
He writes in several genres. His young adult fiction includes ROT & RUIN (2011; was named in Booklist’s Ten Best Horror Novels for Young Adults, an American Library Association Top Pick, a Bram Stoker and Pennsylvania Keystone to Reading winner; winner of several state Teen Book Awards including the Cricket, Nutmeg and MASL; winner of the Cybils Award, the Eva Perry Mock Printz medal, Dead Letter Best Novel Award, and four Melinda Awards); DUST & DECAY (winner of the 2011 Bram Stoker Award; FLESH & BONE (winner of the Bram Stoker Award; 2012; and FIRE & ASH (August 2013). BROKEN LANDS, the first of a new spin-off series, debuts in 2018.
His thrillers include The Joe Ledger Thrillers from St. Martin’s Griffin (PATIENT ZERO, 2009, winner of the Black Quill and a Bram Stoker Award finalist for Best Novel; EXTINCTION MACHINE, (2013; now in development for TV by SONY); PREDATOR ONE, and others. His first middle grade novel, THE NIGHTSIDERS BOOK 1: THE ORPHAN ARMY, was named one the 100 Best Books for Children 2015, with a sequel, VAULT OF SHADOWS debuting this year from Simon & Schuster. His standalone teen science fiction novel, MARS ONE, is in development for film by Zucker Productions and Lone Tree Entertainment. His upcoming standalone suspense novel, GLIMPSE, has gotten advance praise from Clive Barker, Scott Smith, James Rollins, Heather Graham and Charlaine Harris.
His horror novels include The Pine Deep Trilogy from Pinnacle Books (GHOST ROAD BLUES, 2006, winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel and named one of the 25 Best Horror Novels of the New Millennium; DEAD MAN’S SONG, 2007; and BAD MOON RISING, 2008), as well as DEAD OF NIGHT, 2011 (named one of the 25 Best Horror Novels of the New Millennium) and its sequel, FALL OF NIGHT, 2014. He also wrote the movie novelization, THE WOLFMAN, 2010, winner of the Scribe Award for Best Adaptation; and DEADLANDS: GHOSTWALKERS, an original novel inspired by the million-copy-selling role-playing game. He has also written the foreword to a new annotated edition of DRACULA from Writers Digest Books.
Jonathan and colleague #1 NY Times bestseller Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures) each wrote an X-FILES ORIGINS novel for teens; with Kami focusing on Fox Mulder in AGENT OF CHAOS; and Jonathan telling the backstory of young Dana Scully in DEVIL’S ADVOCATE.
Jonathan is the creator, editor and co-author of V-WARS, a shared-world vampire anthology from IDW, and its sequels, V-WARS: BLOOD AND FIRE, V-WARS: NIGHT TERRORS, and V-WARS. And he writes a best-selling monthly V-WARS comic. A board game version of V-Wars was released in 2017; and the series is in development for TV by IDW Media.
He is also the editor of the dark fantasy anthology series, OUT OF TUNE (JournalStone), a series of THE X-FILES anthologies which launched in 2015; SCARY OUT THERE, an anthology of horror for teens; and the anthologies ALIENS: BUG HUNT, NIGHTS OF THE LIVING DEAD (with George Romero), JOE LEDGER UNSTOPPABLE (with Bryan Thomas Schmidt) and two volumes of mysteries: ALTERNATE SHERLOCKS and THE GAME’S AFOOT (with Michael Ventrella).
Jonathan was an expert on the History Channel documentary series, ZOMBIES: A Living History and TRUE MONSTERS. And he was participated in the commentary tracks for NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD: REANIMATED.
IT’S SPOOKY SEASON! And this is the best book to dive into for all the season feels. Think Clue meets RPGs meets thriller. And it’s got diversity! So it’s like the spooky read we’ve all been needing. Plus the spooky cabin in the woods setting is basically a fall necessity so I was already hooked before I even started. But the contents are also so wild and intense so I was still hooked right until the very end.
So this book features a rag tag group of friends. And I love how they’re the type of people that you wouldn’t expect to be friends but somehow they just work. While this book was spooky at times, it wasn’t the main focus. It was more of a thriller than a horror for sure but there was also LOADS of drama! I mean, if you have a bunch of friends thrown together in this type of situation drama is bound to follow!
This is overall a fun and crazy read! It’s got a little bit of something in it for so many people and is constantly edges the line of spooky. Plus you get to play the guessing game of who-done-it! And I ALWAYS love stories that give me a bit of a mystery!
About the Author
Marieke Nijkamp a storyteller, dreamer, globe-trotter, geek.
From the author of You Must Not Miss comes a haunting contemporary horror novel that explores themes of mental illness, rage, and grief, twisted with spine-chilling elements of Stephen King and Agatha Christie.
Following her father’s death, Jane North-Robinson and her mom move from sunny California to the dreary, dilapidated old house in Maine where her mother grew up. All they want is a fresh start, but behind North Manor’s doors lurks a history that leaves them feeling more alone…and more tormented.
As the cold New England autumn arrives, and Jane settles in to her new home, she finds solace in old books and memories of her dad. She steadily begins making new friends, but also faces bullying from the resident “bad seed,” struggling to tamp down her own worst nature in response. Jane’s mom also seems to be spiraling with the return of her childhood home, but she won’t reveal why. Then Jane discovers that the “storage room” her mom has kept locked isn’t for storage at all–it’s a little girl’s bedroom, left untouched for years and not quite as empty of inhabitants as it appears….
Is it grief? Mental illness? Or something more…horrid?
I have literally been waiting to read this book since the cover was revealed. So you can guess how excited I was to receive a copy for review (THANK YOU The Novl)! I mean, contemporary horror? Yes please! Sign me right up! Plus, this one has been compared to Christie and King, arguably two of the most genius authors for their genres. And, admittedly, going into a book with extremely high expectations has proven disastrously for me in the past. BUT, I am pleased to say that this one HELD UP!
So this book starts out twisted and just continues to twist and turn and get creepier as you move through it. And this book is definitely an atmospheric read, which makes the story even spookier. There’s a story in here but it also flaunts the line of being one extended train of thought. I know this is probably a terrible way of describing such beautiful writing, but hey, I tried.
This book hooked me from the very first kooky page (you’ll know what I mean when you start it). Plus it references Alice Liddell and Agatha Christie within the first few pages, so of course it was an insta love for me. But definitely add this book to your spooky season list this year because it will assuredly stick with you!
About the Author
Katrina Leno was born on the East Coast and currently lives in Los Angeles. She is the author of five critically acclaimed novels: The Half Life of Molly Pierce, The Lost & Found, Everything All at Once, Summer of Salt, and You Must Not Miss. Her sixth novel, Horrid, arrives Sept. 15 2020.
Haunting and moving, The Woman in the Mirror is a tale of obsession tinged with suspense, perfect for fans of Tracy Rees and Lulu Taylor.
‘You’ll be the woman of this house, next, miss. And you’ll like it.’
Governess Alice Miller loves Winterbourne the moment she sees it. Towering over the Cornish cliffs, its dark corners and tall turrets promise that, if Alice can hide from her ghosts anywhere, it’s here.
And who better to play hide and seek with than twins Constance and Edmund? Angelic and motherless, they are perfect little companions.
Adopted at birth, Rachel’s roots are a mystery. So, when a letter brings news of the death of an unknown relative, Constance de Grey, Rachel travels to Cornwall, vowing to uncover her past.
With each new arrival, something in Winterbourne stirs. It’s hiding in the paintings. It’s sitting on the stairs.
HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAYYYY!!!! This book was EXACTLY what I have been craving lately and every time I put it down I kept going back and thinking about it. The story was just so haunting and beautiful and just perfection!
There’s something about gothic horrors that I just love more than any other type of horror. I mean, don’t get me wrong, horror is one of my favorite genres. But the atmospheric feel that always comes with gothic horrors just draws me in. Then add in the dual timeline as with The Woman in the Mirror and I become obsessed. I mean, I truly cannot praise this book enough! It’s just so spooky and dark and twisted and made me think and just AHH!
But seriously, when I say I thought about this book every time I had to put it down I mean it. It was on my mind constantly. All I wanted to do was read more and devour the story (which I couldn’t because adulting comes with other obligations, boo). But seriously, if you love the gothic horror genre then you most definitely need this book!
About the Author
Rebecca James is the author of BEAUTIFUL MALICE, SWEET DAMAGE and the forthcoming COOPER BARTHOLOMEW IS DEAD. She has worked as a waitress, a kitchen designer, an English teacher in both Indonesia and Japan, a barmaid, and (most memorably) a mini-cab telephone-operator in London. Rebecca lives in Canberra, Australia, with her partner and their four sons.
George Frei’s Monster Series is a collection of short stories, Illustrations, and sketches where every corner and every turn will be met with the possibilities of wonder, amazement, and fear. George Frei’s Monster Series is filled with sections such as Frankenstein’s Failures, Mythology, Sketchbook, and short stories such as Pumpkin King, ShadoCasters, and The Tree Monster and Me. Frankenstein’s Failures takes a glimpse into the lost pages of Dr. Frankenstein’s journal and his tragic spiral into madness as his failures fuel his passion to perfect the human condition. The Pumpkin King is an urban legend story of Anton Gabor and his tragic connection to the Pumpkin King on All Hallows Eve in 1930’s Chicago. ShadoCasters takes you on an adventure with were hyena’s and were lions clash in a medieval world filled with savagery and magic. The Tree Monster and Me is a mysterious adventure story about a boy who must come to terms with the ways of the world and realize his destiny in a desperate struggle of man vs nature.
Wow, what can I say but, where was George Frei’s Monster Series when I was a kid? This book would have called out to my young and dark self. I can just imagine myself rereading it over and over and bringing it in to school to share with all of my classmates. Why do I say this? Because I want to do the same thing now. This is a book that will resonate with all of the monster lovers out there, young and old. The stories each have moral undercurrents that everyone can take a piece of advice from.
This book seriously has it all. While it’s not an overly heft tome it still packs A LOT into it! And at the turn of each page you are finding something new and fantastical to explore. I really enjoyed the stories, they were all very unique but there were also elements that draw upon familiar myths, fairy tales, and fables. This added depth for me, because as I was reading the stories I was relating memories from other stories while also being in the midst of something new.
Meanwhile, the illustrations were just: wow. I’m very fond of dark and twisted and slightly off kilter art, so these illustrations spoke to my soul! Every illustration was something new and the stylistic approach to each illustration morphed to match the story it was a part of. And then, to make it even better, Frei added a mythology section and sketchbook at the end of the book. This little taste of his other works shows off just how talented of an artist he is. And while I can’t say I have any specific favorite piece (they’re all amazing), I do really love the “Love Bites” piece in the sketchbook.
The stories themselves include: Frankenstein’s Failures, The Pumpkin King, ShadoKasters, and The Tree Monster & Me. I absolutely loved the design of Frankenstein’s Failures. This piece is truly a flowing and intertwined work of art across multiple pages. The Pumpkin King was such a fun innovative story and now I really need to go watch The Nightmare Before Christmas for the millionth time. I might be partial to ShadoKasters because I’m partial to furry monsters. I mean, monsters need love and cuddles too! And The Tree Monster & Me is such a unique and intricate story that I look forward to reading more of in (hopefully the near) future.
On a final note, I could really see this artwork being really popular amongst tattoo artists and lovers. There were so many times that I stopped and thought, “dang, that’d make such a cool tattoo!”
About the Author
With a career spanning 24 years, George is best known for his dynamic visual storytelling, imaginative characters, intense color pallet, and fantastic world building. George’s versatile skill set allowed him work for some of the highest profile clients in the industry. His work includes Toy design, Consumer Products for Theme park’s and Restaurants, Branding, Set Design, Character Design, & Conceptual Development.
George Frei’s credit list as follows:
• Lucasfilm • Marvel • Disney Entertainment • Disney Design Group • Marvel • Universal Studios • SeaWorld • Busch Gardens • Gentle Giant Studios • Fasen Arts • Senor Frogs • Carlos n Charlie’s • Vamanos • El Shrimp Bucket • Scholastic • Pixar • ILM • Carter and Holmes • Personal Creations • NASCAR • Hooters • Arabian Nights • Wacky World Studios • Give Kids the World • ESPN X Games • Art-Flo • Quantified Marketing • POST • Hard Rock Park • Rainforest Café • Agave Azul • Captain’s Table • Gatorland • Florida State Distributors
• George Frei’s Monster Series • Scholastic (Cover Artist) • Flesh & Blood (guest artist) • Tommy Castillo’s Coloring book of the dead (guest artist) • Tommy Castillo’s Dark Side of OZ (typesetting) • Far Away Bird by Douglas A. Burton (Cover Artist)
• Art Direction/Show (UP A great bird Adventure) Disney Entertainment • IPPY Award (Orlando City Lions Ad Campain) • Best Art Direction (ESPN X Games)
George is currently working with his company Treehouse Machine Studios producing his IP’s and book projects.
How long did it take you to plan out and develop this series?
Let’s start from the beginning. I was laid off from a teaching job and had just been recruited to be a concept artist for a local company in Orlando. After I accepted the position my contract stated that they owned my ideas as soon as I started working for them and that any side projects I do had to go through them first and if they rejected the idea it would go back to me. This did not sit well with me since I had already started working on George Frei’s Monster Series. When you’re a professional artist working in the entertainment industry it can get tricky with intellectual property and ownership of ideas. Creative companies like to own ALL your creative ideas even if you’re at home on a Saturday in the shower and something pops in your head. I didn’t want to stop working on the book but I needed money to pay the bills. I wouldn’t sign the contract that would pretty much give away my book and ideas to this company. So I cashed in my 401k savings took a hit on the taxes to pay the bills and proceeded to work on George Frei’s Monster Series. That’s why the book is a compilation of short stories because I wanted to get my 3 best ideas published so no other company could stake claim to my work.
When you’re a professional artist working in the entertainment industry it can get tricky with intellectual property and ownership of ideas. Creative companies like to own ALL your creative ideas even if you’re at home on a Saturday in the shower and something pops in your head.
Some of the ideas in George Frei’s Monster Series have been in my head for about 10 years or so. The Tree Monster and Me was an idea that started in 2009 and I have plans to make that story into a 3 book series. When I actually decided to do the book it took about 1 year in total working on it between jobs and weekends around my professional career as an Artist.
Where did you draw your inspiration(s) for in creating the Monster Series?
Because George Frei’s Monster Series is a compilation book of short Stories Illustrations and sketches it pulls from my love of cautionary tales, mythology, and world building. My inspirations come from childhood curiosities of playing in the woods, building forts with my friends, Playing Dungeons & Dragons, and making up characters that I wanted to act out as a kid. I also love nature, animals, ancient cultures, mythology and so on.
Because the stories in George Frei’s Monster Series are cautionary tales I’m fascinated with the human condition and I think it’s a big pool to get inspired from. What makes the good guy turn evil? What makes bad characters redeemable? I want people to feel what my characters are going through, that raw emotion through story and image. So I take the monsters in my stories and humanize them and I think it adds an interesting twist to creating these stories and worlds.
Who are three artists that creatively inspire you?
The masters of course! If we were talking more contemporary artists I’d say Frank Frazzetta, Bernie Wrightson, and Al Williamson. I also love the writings of Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, and Ernest Hemingway.
Which of the monsters is your favorite and why?
That’s a hard question because I love each of the Monsters I create in a different way. It’s like having kids you can’t really pick a favorite.
I see that you grew up watching old monster movies, which ones were the most influential in guiding your career?
The classic Universal Monsters of course, but my favorite was Frankenstein. Universals depiction of Frankenstein was very different than Mary Shelly’s original story. When I read Mary Shelly’s book it scared me and invigorated me as a creative. The real Monster in her story was Dr. Frankenstein and that was such an interesting twist when I read it as a kid. It made me look at the so-called “monsters” in a different way. Why was the creature Dr. Frankenstein created evil? He didn’t ask to be born into a world that hated and shunned him because of how he looked. He was created disfigured and not taught how to live, to love, and have compassion. He was lonely and isolated and in the end all he wanted was a companion to make it all the hate around him bearable. I think this is why I like the idea of the sympathetic monster. A monster that has power and capacity for evil but chooses good instead is an interesting twist.
Why was the creature Dr. Frankenstein created evil? He didn’t ask to be born into a world that hated and shunned him because of how he looked.
How do you determine when and where you immerse the images with the text?
When I write I’m visualizing my story in my mind, playing it back like a movie so the visuals auto populates like sequential storyboards. I pick a significant scene that I think will compliment the storytelling and Illustrate that scene. It’s nice to be the writer and illustrator in my work because there is never a disconnect between the writing and artwork.
When putting this book together did you know which stories were going to be told or did your art guide you in writing the stories?
In terms of the stories I always knew which ones I was going to write and put in George Frei’s Monster Series. The one story where the art actually guided the development of the story was The Tree Monster and Me. I actually drew the image you see in the book of the Kid holding up the crystal to The Tree Monster and that stuck with me and slowly developed into the story you read in the book.
How would you describe then endings to your stories?
I would definitely say they have a moral undertone to them. I like the idea that among the twists and turns of storytelling you may have some obscure character whom you thought would never go a certain direction does and becomes the hero. In the end you learn a lesson and in my stories the lessons are taught by the least likely characters…the Monsters.
A lot of your stories have an undercurrent of morals to the theme; how do you entwine these with the dark setting of your stories?
They are definitely cautionary tales for sure and I think those types of stories resonate the most with the audience. Allot of times the “Monster” is depicted as the bad guy running around killing and doing evil things. I like the idea of “The Helpful Monster” in the stories I like to tell. I want people to dig a bit deeper into my characters struggles and feel what they are feeling when reading my stories. I think it’s a wonderful thing when you can get people to sympathize with the so-called “Monster”.
I want people to dig a bit deeper into my characters struggles and feel what they are feeling when reading my stories.
Who is the Monster Series for?
I’d say young adult as they are at the beginning of their own hero’s journey and my stories may resonate with some struggles they have been through.
How do you encourage everyone to maintain and develop his or her imagination?
Don’t take yourself too seriously, get out there and play, explore, travel, see new places, experience as much as possible so you have a vast library of things to draw from when creating.
*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*
Categories: Historical Fantasy, Fantasy, Fiction, Epic Fantasy
On Sale Date: February 11, 2020
Publication Month: February 2020
A penetrating tale of magic, faith and pride…
The Unwilling is the story of Judah, a foundling born with a special gift and raised inside Highfall castle along with Gavin, the son and heir to Lord Elban’s vast empire. Judah and Gavin share an unnatural bond that is both the key to her survival…and possibly her undoing.
As Gavin is groomed for his future role, Judah comes to realize that she has no real position within the kingdom, in fact, no hope at all of ever traveling beyond its castle walls. Elban—a lord as mighty as he is cruel—has his own plans for her, for all of them. She is a mere pawn to him, and he will stop at nothing to get what he wants.
But outside the walls, in the starving, desperate city, a magus, a healer with his own secret power unlike anything Highfall has seen in years, is newly arrived from the provinces. He, too, has plans for the empire, and at the heart of those plans lies Judah… The girl who started life with no name and no history will soon uncover more to her story than she ever imagined.
An epic tale of greed and ambition, cruelty and love, this deeply immersive novel is about bowing to traditions and burning them down.
You can purchaseThe Unwilling at the following Retailers:
Praise for Braffet
“Kelly Braffet is extraordinary… Familiar yet entirely unique, The Unwilling is the sort of story that seeps under your skin and pulses there, intimate and vibrant and alive. Fantasy at its most sublime.” —Erin Morgenstern, New York Times bestselling author of The Starless Sea and The Night Circus
“A juggernaut of an epic fantasy novel with ingenious, thrilling twists and turns. Put this on the shelf beside Naomi Novik and George R. R. Martin. Kelly Braffet is a marvel and I’ll read anything she writes.” —Kelly Link, MacArthur Genius Recipient and and of Get in Trouble
“Kelly Braffet’s The Unwilling is a viscerally powerful book. Full of complex and compelling characters, this is the story of the corruptions of power and the strength it takes to resist. This is an incredible, brilliant story.” —Kat Howard, author of Roses and Rot
“Gorgeously told, The Unwilling is at once a sweeping epic and an intimate portrait of being trapped in an oppressive regime. Meet your new favorite fantasy writer.” —Gwenda Bond, New York Times bestselling author of Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds
“Suspenseful, magical, wonderfully written, and never predictable, Braffet’s first foray into speculative fiction is an essential addition to all epic-fantasy collections.” —Booklist, STARRED Review
“Wow…The characters, the world, the magic and greed and politics and pain–all of it adds up to something wonderful. I love it.” —Ellen Datlow, award-winning editor and anthologist
This book is haunting. There’s no better way to put it. I read it slowly and thoroughly and even when I wasn’t reading it I was thinking about it. And this is a big volume of the book, so I mean it when I said I took my time. It’s almost a feat for me that I didn’t binge a book for once. But this isn’t something you can binge. It’s dark. It’s a lot. And it’s difficult. But, I mean that in all the best ways!
As I was reading this I was distinctly reminded of another favorite author: Stephen King. And then once I finally realized that Braffet is his daughter in law (I should really get better at reading the full blurb and/or the author profile) it all made sense. Much like when I read King I found myself taking my time reading this (as I’ve mentioned). But also, much like with King, there are scenes that are brutal and difficult to get through. Scenes that are extremely graphic and gruesome.
So, as you can probably tell by my review so far: this isn’t a happy book. The characters are all on the verge of being unlikeable. The plot is dark and full of sadists. You’re going to be uncomfortable while reading it. And all of this is why I love this book. This is going to be a very polarizing story and going into it blind will not be a good idea for everyone. Not everyone will appreciate the dark nuances and snail pace of the story. But for me they all worked together. Once I reached 200 pages I found myself saying, “I feel like nothing has happened.” Yet at the same time so much happened and I was so enamored with the story. I know this sounds weird, but this book is such an atmospheric read. It hovers on the line of multiple types of fantasy while also not seeming fantasy at all. And the heft of the book just added more. As you were reading you could literally feel how much of the story was left.
Well, based off of my rant you can see I have a lot of feelings for this book. And based off of that ending I hope that I can have more of this story to have feelings for (second book please?). In the meantime I guess I’ll just have to gorge myself on Braffet’s other works.
About the Author
Photo Content from Kelly Braffet
Kelly Braffet is the author of the novels The Unwilling, Save Yourself, Josie and Jack and Last Seen Leaving. Her writing has been published in The Fairy Tale Review, Post Road, and several anthologies. She attended Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University and currently lives in upstate New York with her husband, the author Owen King.