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The Sorrows (The Sorrows #1)

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  161 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Something is trapped in the castle, and it wants to feed!

The Sorrows, an island off the coast of northern California, and its castle have been uninhabited since a series of gruesome, unexplained murders in 1925. But its owner needs money, so he allows film composers Ben and Eddie and a couple of their female friends to stay a month in Castle Blackwood. Eddie is certain
Paperback, 272 pages
Published March 6th 2012 by Samhain Publishing
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Community Reviews

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4.5 stars

This was my second read by author Jonathan Janz, after his amazing 5-star SAVAGE SPECIES. While I really enjoyed The Sorrows, it wasn't "quite" as spectacular to me as SS; thus, the 4.5 rating. This is one of his earlier novels, and it was interesting to step back and see his progression as an author.

One thing that I have to highly compliment is Janz's use of characterization. This is one of his strongest abilities, I feel. His characters are real, flawed--you have moments that you love
Jon Recluse
A truly impressive haunted house tale, that deftly blends old school Gothic atmosphere with new school wetwork. The result is a finely balanced work of dark fiction that will please both fans of the classics as well as the folks too jaded to read ghost stories.
Janz builds the suspense masterfully, using journal entries to fill readers in on the castle's checkered history, while keeping the story moving, and the scares coming. His characters are marvelously human, their faults, quirks and errors
Ken McKinley
Janz's first novel and it shows the potential that he's capable of. The Sorrows is a unique take on the Shirley Jackson classic, The Haunting of Hill House and the movie House on Haunted Hill. I've always had a problem with the whole overused and tired premise of trying to drag a bunch of characters to a secluded house where bad things have happened and making it seem realistic. It has always come across as a bad B-movie with idiots for characters. Janz did a good job coming up with a reason to ...more
I bought this book shortly after joining the HA group here on GR. The author is a member and guess what? He's not just there pimpin' his stuff! He's an active participant in many threads, not just the author promotion pages.

A little background, I'm not the splatter/gore/blood and guts type horror reader, that's disgusting but not really scary, at least not to me. I prefer the psychological, anticipatory dread that creeps up on you. This book was a very good mix of both types.

The story centers ar
The Sorrows is the best debut horror novel I have read since Jack Ketchum’s Off Season. Granted, I haven’t read every first fright book in existence, but that’s not the point. Jonathan Janz has woven a formidable introduction into the horror genre with a true tour-de-force that simultaneously pays homage to the classics while effortlessly lacing an original work with a contemporary and confident narrative.

Within these pages are rousing echoes of Matheson’s Hell House, mixed with the wanton and
What's better than a spooky old house? How about a spooky old castle? Yeah, that's a good start, but what if the castle is on a remote island? Even better. With Jonathan Janz's debut novel, he presents a horror novel that offers a blend of old gothic chills and modern gruesomeness. But, does the combination work?

The Sorrows is a great evocative name, and just so happens to be the name of the castle in which this story is set, named after a symphony created by a composer named Blackwood whose fam
Jonathan Janz's, "The Sorrows", is a creepy, atmospheric thriller that's reminiscent of some of Richard Laymon's better books. Janz writes in a style that is as interesting, as it is descriptive. He doesn't "dumb down" to horror aficionados, like a lot of horror authors do, which this reader really appreciated. Keep your dictionary handy because you'll need it as you work your way through "The Sorrows".

The story revolves around two musicians who decide to spend some time at a (supposed) haunted
Jason Brant
A Unique Read

This was my first book by Janz. The man can write. The Sorrows has deep, troubled characters and a backstory that never bogs down the pace. The creature is rarely used in horror, which makes this a unique read. Finding a new horror author with some real writing chops is always great.

This is the second solid author I've read from Samhain Publishing. They seem to know what they're doing over there.
Erin Al-Mehairi
I read this book a few months ago and got the time to write a review of this awesome story and do an interview with the author. It's quite the in-depth review and interview both, so here is the link to my Oh, for the Hook of a Book blog for the interview (which has a link to the review at the start). I hope you can check it out. I really liked the gothic horror feel to this novel and think he's an author that has some other great novels coming soon that will make a name for him.

Here is the link
Russell James
The Sorrows follows the story of film composers Ben and Eddie and their terrifying stay at a castle on an island off the California coast. The main tale and the fascinating backstory unfold simultaneously and keep you turning pages late into the evening. Jonathan’s crisp prose and multi-layered characters, especially the predator walled up in the tower, place this story well above the usual haunted castle tale. His descriptive passages place you deep in the heart of this claustrophobic tale and ...more
Horrible. I've never read a novel in which ALL of the characters are unlikable and unsympathetic. This is honestly one of the worst books I've ever purchased and read. There is no horror or suspense- the authors prose and structure leaves much to be desired. There isn't a story here, either. It's not scary, it's not suspenseful, it's not sexy. It's a poorly written, contrived "horror" novella that demands, over and over again, that the read suspend their disbelief over RIDICULOUS events and occu ...more
The Sorrows was a really well constructetd novel. The characters were very well developed and evoked an emotonal response from me. I may not have liked the characters but they did present as "real". The horror presented started out as a "ghost" type story but became a lot more. Well played Jonathan Janz, well played!
Amanda Rardon
Excellent book! Very fast moving and almost impossible to put down. Totally spooked me and had me on the edge of my seat!
Gordon Howard
The Sorrows is basically a story about a movie director and some of his production staff that rent an island with a castle to set the mood for a horror movie that is being produced. Little did they know that the island itself was a horror story. As terror befalls them the body count rises, survival is the ultimate goal.

The story line is interesting, the last couple hundred pages are extremely suspenseful. The other five to six hundred pages were somewhat of a tough read for me. There are a lot
Frighteningly good!
Review to come.
Kevin Lucia
Johnathan Janz's first novel, The Sorrows, is a serviceable, entertaining work with Gothic trappings and a mythical beast that always invokes a primal fear. In the same vein as the late Richard Layman and especially Edward Lee's work, The Sorrows is capably written, though it does suffer a flaw or two. However, the characterization and prose is strong enough to carry the day, making it a solid representative of the new horror line emerging from Samhain Publishing.

Film score composers Ben and Ed
Mika Lietzén
A satyr of Greek myths and legends haunts a secluded island in the debut novel by Jonathan Janz. Setting off with a quote from The Great God Pan (1890) by Arthur Machen, the Sorrows (2011, Samhain) proceeds to drag Pan's horns and hooves into the 21st century with laymonian gusto. Interspersed with backstory from the 1920s, the novel follows a pair of present-day composers and their associates as they seek the solitude of the island to compose a film soundtrack for an upcoming horror movie.

"The Sorrows" by Jonathan Janz is a gripping tale of suspense. Composers, Ben Shadeland and Eddie Blaze travel to Castle Blackwood in an attempt to generate the inspiration required to complete the musical score for a horror movie. Situated on an island named The Sorrows, the foreboding Castle Blackwood, site of several unexplained deaths, seems to be the ideal place for Ben to connect with his inner muse. It does not take long for Ben, Eddie and their two companions Eva and Claire to realize th ...more
Aniko Carmean
If there was ever a horror novel that deserves a musical score, it is The Sorrows by Jonathan Janz. In fact, this may be the first book I have read where I think additional multimedia layering over the ebook format would be not only be appropriate, but would also serve to enhance the reading experience. Janz's descriptions of the music his characters create and experience leaves me hoping someone will take up the challenge and write The Sorrows a score; who knows, maybe Kindle and Bose can hook ...more
Jonathan Janz weaves a modern-day gothic horror novel in his debut from Samhain Horror. Hollywood movie soundtrack producers, Eddie Blaze and Ben Shadeland, decide to spend time at Castle Blackwood, set on a remote island off the California coast, in order to complete the score for Lee Stanley's latest horror flick. But little do they know of the castle's horrific history and even darker secrets. Janz deftly intersperses journal entry flashbacks, giving the reader the necessary backstory, as the ...more
This isn't normally a type of genre I read but I really, really, REALLY liked this book. It's the kind of story that you can't put down but when you have to, in order to be a functioning citizen of society, you can't wait for that moment when you get to dig back in. I really got to know the characters well so when the book took twists and turns, I was able to ride all the routes and the story was richer and layered because of it. You love the characters you are supposed to love and detest the di ...more

The Sorrows started off slow and, to my thinking, a bit scattered. I found the first quarter to be confusing and not scary at all. I also found it followed a recent trend of too much gratuitous sex. Yes, I know the author could have been much more graphic in his descriptions, but I felt they really didn't add too much to the story.

The further I got into the story, the more I wanted to read it. I found it quite engrossing. There were several parts that seemed a bit unbelievable (ie how the prota
Ron Santo
I had to grab this offering when I saw that it was available for my Kindle. I loved the previous Janz work I had read, "Old Order" and was intrigued by the thought of a full length novel. Quite simply, I was NOT disappointed. "The Sorrows" is a full length roller coaster ride that loops, corkscrews, drops your heart into your stomach and doesn't screech to a stop until the very...last...word. Trust me.

The masterfully complex characters fit perfectly in the haunting setting of the Castle Blackwo
Overall, I thought this was a very interesting book. The characters and the setting were all very well developed. I love how the author told the story, with the interspersed chapters about the butler at the castle when the monster was just coming into power. However, I would have liked to have had a little more of the back story with the monster/Gabriel. What he actually was and why, if he was so powerful, he never fought back directly against Robert Blackwood even thought he was treated so crue ...more
Aaron Lubelski
Reminiscent of Laymon and fiercely gravitating, Jonathan Janz's "The Sorrows" shines in its rich characterization and thrilling suspense around two musicians who end up in a castle fighting for their lives.
Glenn Rolfe
A really amazing start to this one. Janz is one of the most talented writers out there. His vocabulary is through the roof (I'm constantly looking up words when I read his books), and his prose could cut through bone. The characters are wonderfully developed, and the story itself is a great set up.
I also love the back story he brings in and out throughout. Sometimes this can really mess up a piece, but Janz does it perfectly.
For me, the story kind of runs into some issues in the second half and
I was really looking forward to reading this book, and I was sorely disappointed. Musicians go to haunted house to write the score for a horror movie, strange things happen, what's not to like? I thought it would be like Shirley Jones' The Haunting of Hill House. It does marry psychological terror with real horror, and it is not that I don't like actual lovecraftian beings, it's that it drags on forever and it takes too long to get to the thick of the action. The climax is not as exciting as it ...more
James Campbell
What did I think.....well, it was a well thought out concept playing on the past transgressions of some of the characters, throwing in some Greek mythology, family conflict, the makings of a score for a horror film, and a spooky castle too.

I found most of the characters hard to really get behind, some were just plain terrible people that you hoped for their demise in the most vile ways possible.

One aspect of this story that was a bit of a turn off for me, was that I found there to be almost too
Great horror but... Lots of sex and some of it disturbing. But well written and fast paced. I liked it. Worthwhile reading unless the sex is too disturbing to the reader.
Frazer Lee
Jonathan Janz's debut crackles with hyperactive tension and delivers gory payoffs that horror fans will be eager to devour. 'The Sorrows' is crammed with larger than life characters, each pitting their wits against the eponymous, isolated castle and its crazed monster. Janz's prose is the New Gothic - read him and you won't want to sleep!
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Jonathan Janz grew up between a dark forest and a graveyard, and in a way, that explains everything. Brian Keene named his debut novel The Sorrows “the best horror novel of 2012.” The Library Journal deemed his follow-up, House of Skin, “reminiscent of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and Peter Straub’s Ghost Story.”

In 2013 Samhain Horror published his novel of vampirism and human sac
More about Jonathan Janz...

Other Books in the Series

The Sorrows (2 books)
  • Castle of Sorrows
House of Skin Night Terrors (Savage Species, #1) Exorcist Road The Darkest Lullaby Savage Species (Savage Species, #1-5)

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