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The Sorrows (The Sorrows #1)

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  240 Ratings  ·  60 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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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
Ken McKinley
Feb 28, 2014 Ken McKinley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
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
Feb 27, 2015 Bill rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
I very rarely accept friend requests from authors. Most of them are looking to expand their visibility, and I don't begrudge them that: it is their livelihood after all. I'm just not interested in being used like that.

However, when I checked out Jonathan Janz's profile, he was not only an author, but an active Goodreads reader and reviewer of books. And we had the same tastes, and he did not offer free material for 'honest review'.

So I never felt obligated to read him. I hate being obligated to
Jon Recluse
Mar 28, 2014 Jon Recluse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
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
Sep 23, 2013 Ctgt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
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
Oct 16, 2013 Duane rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 29, 2014 Peter rated it really liked it
Castle Blackwood is located on an island located off the coast of California. It has been abandon since 1925, because of some brutal murders that were never solved. Eddie Blaze, Ben Shadeland, Eva and Claire, will be flown to the island and left there. Eddie and Ben are there to try and get some juices flowing in order to compose a movie score for Lee Stanley' new horror flick. We learn more about the castle from the entries in the journal of Calvin Sheppard. The four are about to enter the gate ...more
Jan 10, 2012 Gef rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Glenn Rolfe
Jun 09, 2013 Glenn Rolfe rated it liked it
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
Jason Brant
Oct 06, 2014 Jason Brant rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 01, 2015 Robjr73 rated it liked it
Man did my opinion of this book do a 360. I read this in 3 days. Day 1 I enjoyed. Good characters some freaky scenes and a great setting. Day 2 I started to not care about the characters anymore and the book kinda just started to go in too many directions for me. A few more freaky scenes tho that I liked. Day 3 I just wanted to be done with this thing. It's really just a big mess that I don't think was very well thought out. I'll pass on recommending The Sorrows but I won't pass on the author ju ...more
May 31, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sarah Brocious
I've had this on my TBR pile for glad it caught my eye while deciding what to read next.

Such a super creepy read!! It was really hard to put this one down. (I tried and then convinced myself a few more pages wouldn't hurt) :)

The characters? Claire...very relatable and sweet. Ben...the talented tortured soul. Eva...the one who is all show on the outside and vulnerable inside. Eddie...the guys guy with a ton of secrets. There was of course Chris.....whoa...AND the cast of nightmare ind
Jul 11, 2012 Morningstar3280 rated it did not like it
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
Dec 13, 2013 Maria rated it it was amazing
Frighteningly good!
Review to come.
Jeff French
Jan 04, 2015 Jeff French rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 10, 2012 TJ rated it really liked it
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
Russell James
Oct 24, 2012 Russell James rated it really liked it
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
Oct 14, 2015 Amber rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebooks-library
When a composer of a horror movie needs inspiration, his friend Blaze tells him of a haunted and cursed mansion on an island called the Sorrows where they could stay at for a month to get his inspiration at. It is only when they get there that spooky crazy things happens. Will they survive their stay at the Sorrows? Read on and find out for yourself.

This was a pretty good horror story. I enjoyed checking out. Be sure to check this book out at your local library and wherever books are sold if thi
Oct 11, 2011 Kilgallen rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, ghost, 2012-reads
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
Aug 07, 2012 Amanda Rardon rated it it was amazing
Excellent book! Very fast moving and almost impossible to put down. Totally spooked me and had me on the edge of my seat!
Nov 14, 2014 Dawn rated it it was amazing
Second Jonathan Janz book for me, after Savage Species. Loved this one too! Never a dull moment and I agree what another poster said about the great characters. I've already downloaded the next one
Jun 27, 2016 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great novel! Janz has a nice, fast style that makes you want to keep reading. This was my second novel of his and just like The Night Mare Girl I couldn't put it down.
Mika Lietzén
Dec 31, 2012 Mika Lietzén rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
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.

Kevin Lucia
Mar 24, 2012 Kevin Lucia rated it liked it
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
Aniko Carmean
Apr 14, 2012 Aniko Carmean rated it liked it
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
Zachariah N. Allison
Jan 01, 2016 Zachariah N. Allison rated it really liked it
If the novels Hell House (Richard Matheson) and The Ritual (Adam Nevill) were to have a book baby, it would be The Sorrows. This visceral tale, expertly written by Jonathan Janz, is one of horror, depravity, love, and yes, sorrow. I don't know what this might say about my sense of humor, but there were also several scenes that made me laugh. There are many (and I do mean many) scenes that made me cringe, and for me, that's saying something. But there are also scenes that were heartbreaking; trul ...more
Mar 06, 2012 Kris rated it liked it
"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
Feb 03, 2012 Monique rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 03, 2012 Craig rated it liked it

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
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Jonathan Janz grew up between a dark forest and a graveyard, which 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."

Since then Jonathan's work has been lauded by writers like Jack Ketchum, Edward Lee
More about Jonathan Janz...

Other Books in the Series

The Sorrows (2 books)
  • Castle of Sorrows

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