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Something Red (Something Red #1)

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  713 ratings  ·  239 reviews
From debut author Douglas Nicholas comes a haunting story of love, murder, and sorcery.

During the thirteenth century in northwest England, in one of the coldest winters in living memory, a formidable yet charming Irish healer, Molly, and the troupe she leads are driving their three wagons, hoping to cross the Pennine Mountains before the heavy snows set in.

Molly, her lov
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 18th 2012 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books (first published July 10th 2010)
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I was wary of all the extravagantly glowing reviews I saw on Goodreads for Something Red (which I received from the publisher through Netgalley, thank you to them). In many cases it's simply a sign that the author has a lot of cooperative friends. I'm happy to report that this is not the case here.

I was dismayed by the formatting of the ARC on my Kindle; it was a mess. The decorative elements of the text, while very nice, played harry with the reader program, and it took persistence just to get
This book was written by a award winning poet. As you read it, that is evident. It is extremely descriptive and lyrical. The problem with this book is that it is extremely descriptive and lyrical. While it is beautifully written, the focus on the most minute details, causes the story to lag. To much time is spent describing people’s bath robe’s, and not enough time is spent creating a sense of urgency and danger. I also didn’t feel connected to the character’s. Molly is an extraordinary woman of ...more
A Book Vacation
1.5 stars

This novel was really not for me. I think it’s more for those who like Tolkien’s style of writing, very descriptive and a bit slow paced, fueling the story with few events and much journeying along dangerous mountains. To be quite honest, I was bored throughout most of this novel, dying to get to the shape shifters and sorcerers. While warrior monks and knights are okay, they didn’t really do anything for the story, in my opinion, aside from creating a pit stop for the main entourage as
Alisha-Dear Constant Reader
The perfect book for fall! Lovers of mystery, thrillers, and the unknown unite! There's something in the woods and it's hungry.

Something Red centers around a troupe traveling the snowy Pennine mountains of England in the 13th century when they encounter a pervasive sense that something evil is hunting for its meat, and has its unholy eye on their troupe. What inhabits the woods and how to avoid it is the central problem for Molly, Jack, her lover, Nemain, her granddaughter, and our young Hob.

Very good story. Written from a different point of view. A little slow, but the build up is written very well. you have to keep reading this. The way the author tells the story is quite interesting.

There is a lot of description and world building going on and character development.

It is very well written, but it does seem to plod along at times. Then something happens to further build up the story for the reader.

It is an enjoyable story and I have moved on to the second book and picked up the
Part historical fantasy and part horror, this novel follows a group of travellers on their journey. The country has new Norman lords, insecure in their titles and the borders are unsettled. Our witness to what happens is Hob, a young orphan boy who has spent his childhood in the home of Father Athelstan, before the old priest became too old to care for him and allowed Mistress Molly, an Irish healer, to take him with her. Accompanying Molly is her granddaughter, Nemain, and Jack Brown, a soldier ...more
This is a simple story set in a handful of simple locations but is superbly written. The attention to detail and nuance in descriptions and objects gives the story a vibrant sense of authenticity and depth. The setting is tangible, the atmosphere brooding, and hanging over all is the dread of some unseen monster.
I don't feel there were any great twists but I found the story very engrossing. My one gripe would be that the climax didn't quite have the visceral punch the build-up deserved. If anyt
Nick Brett
This is one of those rare books that pop up and you feel that you are reading something different and a little bit special. Set in Medieval times, it is part historical, part horror and part coming of age and with a touch of fantasy. The author is an established poet and you can tell his love of words and language in every element of this novel including an ability to capture an age and time that is rare, even in historical fiction.

This is, in headline terms, about a small group of travellers in
Jessica Knauss
I read this book very slowly, partly because of other commitments, but also because it begins as if it were a snail at the races. It's easy to put down in frustration, because the language is difficult, even for someone like me, who has spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about the thirteenth century. When the travelers are finally attacked by bandits, the author interrupts the action with the kinds of descriptions we've already read so much of: the mechanism of how to secure the carts s ...more
Elizabeth Moffat
This story whizzes us back to the thirteen century where, a young boy called Robert (Hob) is adopted by a group of travellers, and shares in their journeys. This consists of the matriarch of the family – Molly, whose talents lie in healing, Jack, an enigmatic, mysterious and silent companion, and Molly’s grand-daughter Nemain, who appears to have picked up some of the magical family traits. As we meet the group, they are travelling to a monastery where they would seek shelter before journeying f ...more
Jul 12, 2012 Jillyn rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historic fiction fans
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book through Goodreads First Reads.

Something Red is a novel that beautifully blends myth, magic, & mystery, & probably other words that start with "M" as well. It centers around a group of travelers. Molly is the leader- a tough but kind, skilled middle aged Irish woman. With her is her strong but silent lover, Jack, her granddaughter/protege Nemain, & the main character Hob, a boy who grows to manhood through this book's journey. They travel from place to place, stop
Book Him Danno
The author spent a lot of energy developing the characters and describing the world which they inhabited. By the end of the book you really cared about these fully threshed out 3 dimensional people. Unfortunately that would have been fine in a massive multi-book epic saga, but in a relatively short 300 page book it came with a cost, and that was action. It took quite a while to even figure out what was going on, let alone to get into the story. We start with a group of travelers just going down ...more
Something Red absolutely blew me away. This is one of the best debuts I've read in years and the story itself still haunts my dreams. It was all the best elements of Irish folklore, historical fiction, and a very frightening mystery at its cores.

Mr. Nichols' is a very talented writer and storyteller. I love the way he puts words together and describes scenes, events, and people. He also writes great and slightly mysterious characters that I couldn't help, but fall in love with almost immediately
Chris Bauer
I'm not sure how this fine book slipped under my radar. Really glad I picked it up.

This is a coming of age story, set in 13th century England. Our young protag is on the cusp of manhood and is part of a traveling group of "entertainers" wandering the medieval lands. There is a very high degree of authenticity in the work and I was impressed by the smallest of details the author took to get things just right.

The characters were all exceptionally vibrant and well constructed. The conflicts in the
Atmospheric, delicately rendered historical fantasy. It feels like a fairy tale, it reads like the best of plotted literary novels, it grips you like a page-turning horror novel. In this story, Hob is a 13-year-old boy in the 13th century, servant and friend to the middle-aged Irish wisewoman Molly, who is more than she seems. Something is in the woods, threatening their little band as they travel through a harsh winter landscape.

The first 2/3 of the novel, while carrying a brewing sense of eer
Seregil of Rhiminee
Originally published at Risingshadow.

Douglas Nicholas' Something Red is a novel which will leave you breathless with admiration, fascination and shock. In my opinion it's the best debut novel of 2012, because it blends beautiful prose, fantasy, horror and historical elements in a perfect way.

Before I write anything else, I'll mention that Something Red restored my faith in historical fiction. I've been more or less disappointed with some of the historical novels I've tried to read during the las
Something Red is not what I would consider a typical fantasy novel, but that is not a criticism. It is set in 13th century England and is both a coming of age tale and a haunting mystery. There are definitely fantasy elements and magic in it, but they are not revealed or understood initially. Part of what sets it apart is that it is told from the perspective of young Hob, a 13 year old orphan (see... it is a fantasy book, it has an orphan boy as the protagonist ;) ), who is traveling with Molly, ...more
When i read a book that has nothing about it that is excessively mentally or intellectually challenging i expect it to make sense. Right?
Or let me put it differently, there is one thing that i really hate, when a book is deliberately written in a way that is hard to follow only to make it more 'literate'. I'm sorry, somebody else may find it a literary masterwork brimming with sophistication. Good for them, I find it a waste of my time!

As you can see, I really don't like this book. The primary r
Darshan Elena
That Douglas Nicholas, the author of Something Red, is a poet will come as no surprise to any reader who has passed page six of this gorgeous, lyrical narrative. His words and sentences are so precise and evocative; I found myself drawn to read, re-read, and read a third time entire passages so I could I revel in their beauty. Nicholas has a command of language that reminds me of authors such as Humberto Eco, Toni Morrison, and D. H. Lawrence. However, it isn't just the prose that attracted me a ...more
Tammy Sparks
Often when I start reading a book, I have a pretty good idea of what to expect. But once in a while, I am surprised, and Something Red was one of the biggest and best reading surprises I’ve had in a long time. Nicholas is a master storyteller and has the rare skill of being able gradually build a sense of dread and terror in such a way that it virtually sneaks up on the reader. This is a rather quiet story that relies not on big action scenes, but on an irresistible mix of wonderful characters a ...more
Tabitha (Pabkins)
At the time when I read this one I thought - blah its going so slow and what is really going on. It was just plodding. But the more I think about it - because it sometimes peaks at me from my "giveaway or donate" book shelf - that it was well written but just needed more OOMPH in a lot of areas. I think it could have been GREAT if there was more action and less of an attempt at suspense because the suspense just didn't quite hit the mark.

I'd say this was about a 2.5 for me. Between a meh and a e
It is a rare book indeed that I want to recommend to EVERYONE in my life. Gorgeous, poetic, atmospheric writing and compelling, mysterious characters drive this novel. FINALLY, an exciting, suspenseful narrative that uses...wait for it... RESTRAINT when it comes to supernatural elements. I will not spoil anything, but Douglas Nicholas absolutely rewards the attentive reader. Every bit of suspense and foreshadowing and character development is cashed in later. I took a break to read other books a ...more
Kitty Honeycutt
Book Title: "Something Red”
Author: Douglas Nicholas
Published By: Atria
Age Recommended: 17+
Reviewed By: Kitty Bullard
Raven Rating: 5

Review: Douglas Nicholas has written a fabulous tale that weaves so many profound elements both new and old. Though the book has a great sense of the supernatural of which many of us are familiar, the author has succeeded in bringing the readers a delightful change of pace that will have you guessing the entire way.
The characters are ones that leave a lasting impress
I was in the mood for something historical and a little different when I saw Something Red by Douglas Nicholas, and it looked like it just might fit. Boy did it ever! This novel is not only historical but it’s got some paranormal/mythological elements, and it’s just downright creepy in places. For all you purist historical fiction fans, no worries because the research makes this one come to life and the elements I mentioned fit perfectly with superstitions held during that time period. Sound int ...more
Kristen Mirek
Slow to start and he does get VERY caught up in descriptive details. It was common to read 5 or so pages w/o anyone actually doing anything. That said, the actual plot line was interesting and it had good build up but still left me wanting ... I'm not sure I like how it was all wrapped up. Overall, when it was good, it was good, and when it wasn't, it wasn't. I am planning on reading the second in the series though since they continue to get good reviews. I'm curious to see where it goes from he ...more
Doris Pearson
Wonderful fantasy... A must read.
Hob has only been traveling with Molly and her caravan for a short time now, so many of the stops on their regular trek through England are new to him: the St. Germaine Monastery, for example, where the monks have made it their business to protect travelers, and Osbert's Inn, a welcome respite for weary pilgrims. Bandits target the road beyond and Molly has trained her people well in the event of an attack, but something worse than bandits is on their trail this time.

Hob felt it on the road outs
I did not notice the brief author bio on the back of the advance reader copy of Something Red until I had finished the book. Then I understood better why the story had such wonderful descriptions—Nicholas is an award winning poet. Another Goodreads reviewer felt the book dragged because of all the description, but I felt the descriptions brought the time (13th century) and the people to vivid life. We experience the events of this story through the main character, Hob, a young adolescent. Orpha ...more
I wanted to like this book SO much...but unfortunately it was not to be. This was perhaps the slowest start to a book that I've ever read (it took me forever to get through the first 30 pages). Once it started going and became easier to read, the story didn't really build any gripping plot until about 3/4 of the way through. Then there was this climactic scene for a couple of chapters, followed by 30 pages of explaination as to why the climax occurred.

If this were a short story/novella, encompas
Such an excellent debut novel!!! Set in 13th century England, with wonderful characters (always important to me), great historical detail, Irish folklore, a terrific story, and a touching portrait of family loyalty and love. Looking forward to more by this author!
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Douglas Nicholas is an award-winning poet whose work has appeared in numerous publications, among them Atlanta Review, Southern Poetry Review, Sonora Review, Circumference, A Different Drummer, and Cumberland Review, as well as the South Coast Poetry Journal, where he won a prize in that publication's Fifth Annual Poetry Contest.

Other awards include Honorable Mention in the Robinson Jeffers Tor Ho
More about Douglas Nicholas...

Other Books in the Series

Something Red (3 books)
  • The Wicked (Something Red, #2)
  • Throne of Darkness (Something Red, #3)
The Wicked (Something Red, #2) Throne of Darkness (Something Red, #3) The Demon (Something Red, #2.5) The Rescue Artist The Old Language: Poems on the Company of Animals

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“There is nothing,” she said, and then, still looking away into the woods, reached sideways and took Ernald's arm firmly, “but be said by me, there was something hunting along our trail not a sennight since, and should it come here, see you and yours are within the gates.” She shook him gently. “Do not be slighting it, Ernald, great strong lad that you are and brave as a bear: it is something terrible, that no one should run to meet.” 2 likes
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