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Four and Twenty Blackbirds (Eden Moore #1)

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3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,839 Ratings  ·  252 Reviews
A tale of supernatural horror mixed with Southern Gothic, 'Four and Twenty Blackbirds' centres on Eden Moore, an orphan who is never alone. Who are the three dead women watching her from the shadows? Who is the assassin in the woods? What is the truth about her beloved aunt and the curse that threatens her life?
Paperback, 285 pages
Published February 1st 2012 by Titan Publishing Company (first published October 1st 2005)
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Bark's Book Nonsense
I read a review that recommended this book to the "aging Buffy crowd". Not that I'm taking offense or anything . . . Despite that backhanded insult and being a big Buffy fan, that throw-away comment does a huge disservice to this book. There is nothing snarky or Buffy-like about it. I hope the reviewer isn't assuming all Buffy fans and teens are too simple to enjoy a mature ghost story because I've been enjoying this sort of thing since I was ten . . . End of rant.

This was a good old-fashioned,
...more
Steve
Cherie Priest has written herself a pretty good novel (which I'll call "Southern Something"). There is much to like. In tapping into the rich literary gothic tradition of the South, she has come up with her own creation. The characters, Eden Moore, her aunt Lulu, stepfather Dave, all seem to come from the New South, a South that hangs out at coffee bars for poetry readings and listens to the B-52s or R.E.M. (or someone newer). But Tradition is still there - and characters like Eden's great aunt ...more
Angela
Apr 23, 2008 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I have come to the realization that although I would never live in the South again if you paid me, this does not mean that the South has left me. I apparently seriously dig me some Southern Gothic-flavored stories--well, I kind of knew this already, what with having read Charlaine Harris so much, as well as Ivy Cole and the Moon last year. It was however with great pleasure that I tackled Cherie Priest's Four and Twenty Blackbirds, especially after I discovered that she used to live in Chattanoo ...more
Chris
The creepist, strangest section of this book takes place in a bathroom at a summer camp. It does.

Of course, it could have been because I was reading it late at night, in bed, with the crazy homeless group across the street talking very, very, very loudly. (Yes, I know I should be more Christian and they're not harming anyone, but it is freaking midnight!).

Nah, it was creepy.

Four and Twenty Blackbirds introduces the reader to Eden Moore and her surprising large and very confusing family. Like a c
...more
Richard Derus
Rating: 2.75* of five

The Book Report: In a fun twist on Haley Joel Osment's famous line, "I see dead people," young Eden discovers she can see and hear three dead women when they save her life, preventing her from being shot by an insane cousin who believes Eden to be the reincarnation of an evil figure from their shared family past. The dead women appear to Eden only at times of great danger and stress, which come increasingly often as she grows into a strange young womanhood. Her life's trajec
...more
Trin
Jun 02, 2008 Trin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Another one I found underwhelming. Priest tries to capture a Southern Gothic atmosphere, and while she makes use of a lot of excellent, classic set pieces—swamps and cemeteries; abandoned hospitals and dark cellars—the first person narrative mostly failed to capture a sense of immediate terror or danger. Maybe this is because Eden, the protagonist, is so detached and hipstery—I guess it’s supposed to make her seem tough, but when she hardly seems to care what happens to her, it’s hard for me to. ...more
Nikki
Aug 19, 2013 Nikki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, mystery
I didn't like this as much as I'd hoped to. I was ambivalent toward Boneshaker, but I really love Bloodshot and Hellbent (my girlfriend is in the doghouse a little bit for finding them boring), so I had high hopes about this one. I know it was her debut novel, but still. There's something compelling about this -- the mix of races involved, the use of the location, history, etc... But the narrative voice isn't that different from the later Raylene of the Chesire Red books (except she has less of ...more
Katy
Sep 19, 2008 Katy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people in solitary confinement with nothing better to do
I read this book because it was a free download from amazon (Kindle) and I was back in the States and thought what the hell. The book was free, but that doesn't include the time I wasted reading it. The plot was "twisty", but in that bad way where it's just confusing and not really clear if the author herself knew exactly what was going on, or what she was trying to convey. It was not downright painful the entire time, just when the author tried to be clever.

I confess I downloaded the book becau
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Christie
Feb 02, 2011 Christie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Cherie Priest’s book was a huge disappointment to me. And it’s a book that makes me wonder about the ringing endorsements you find on book covers - because this book had them in spades. Even Ramsey Campbell, a writer I admire, had glowing praise for it, calling the book “breathlessly readable, palpably atmospheric and compellingly suspenseful.” I just don’t get it.

Orphaned at birth, Eden Moore lives with her aunt Louise and Uncle Dave. She’s a strange little girl, but it’s hardly her fault: she
...more
Brooke
Apr 16, 2008 Brooke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008, horror
I got this book from the library on a whim - I was looking to see if they had any Christopher Priest books and walked away with a book by Cherie Priest instead.

It's rather Anne-Rice's-Witching-Hourish in that it's a "southern gothic" story about a girl who can see ghosts, and her mysterious ancestors. It's the first in a trilogy, and hopefully it won't all go downhill into a fiery disaster the way Anne Rice's trilogy did, because Four and Twenty Blackbirds is really awesome. It's mysterious and
...more
Jason
Sep 21, 2010 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2010
Having loved Priest's steam punk novel Boneshaker, I had high expectations for this southern horror novel. Well, it did not let me down. The protagonist Eden is a breath of fresh air. The story is only about her, and that was fine by me. I found that her character development added to the great goth feel of this horror novel and left me wanting more. This is a novel that you will consume very quickly, one day for me, and you will be left wanting more. I look forward to reading the other novels i ...more
John
Jul 31, 2008 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Highschoolers who need to read more...and like ghost stories
It's a Southern Gothic horror ghost tale that misfires more often than not.

Plus, this book has a very specific audience, in my opinion: high school junior girls who don't yet read much (i.e. just graduated from Young Adult fiction and need an intermediate step before trying adult literature)... and who relish the occasional, daring swear word sprinkled here and there for color.

That said, Priest does fabricate a few passages that fully come together to achieve that spine-tingling foreboding for
...more
YouKneeK
Mar 29, 2015 YouKneeK rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It’s one of those books that tends to give you a lot of questions and reveals the answers slowly as the story proceeds. I had trouble putting the book down both because the story was interesting and because I wanted to know all the answers.

This is a paranormal-type story told entirely from the first-person perspective of a young girl named Eden. From the time she was a child, Eden has been aware of three female ghosts. On rare occasions, these ghosts show themselves a
...more
rivka
Aug 11, 2008 rivka rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Started out weird, and got progressively weirder -- and ickier. Incest, lots of gore, and some truly weird supernatural stuff. A LOT of truly weird supernatural stuff.

Barely got two stars, but the writing was very well-done. Built suspense well, good characterization (at least of the primary character; less so the others), good pacing.

Just really creepy and icky.

Let's call this one a miss on the Tor ebook giveaway, although at least I finished this one.
Cameo
Aug 06, 2008 Cameo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Cameo by: Cory
Shelves: fantasy
This hasn't happened in a while. I've brought Cherie's book to work and I'm sneaking pages when I'm supposed to be getting ready for meetings.

This book is delicious, wickedly dark and forceful. The mysteries of the deep south are sometimes forgotten, but Cherie drags them out by their musty rags and bones, and stands back while they scare the bejesus out of you.

Highly recommended.
Nick Fagerlund
I'm not a practiced reader of the form, so it took me about two and a half chapters to realize this was, in fact, totally a Gothic. At which point I was like, "I'm out."

I'm sure it was a perfectly good Gothic! It's just that said genre is entirely too rich for my blood, and I was expecting a rather different sub-breed of ghost story.
Sean
Nov 18, 2014 Sean rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
'Four and Twenty Blackbirds' by Cherie Priest for me was a complete and utter let down.

This is not what I had in mind when I was looking for some good southern gothic story lines filled with voodoo and family secrets, this was more the High School version.

I did not like Eden at all who seemed self entitled to me and I had issue with the ghost sisters a lot who seemed to be on the fence rather than helping her so much blah blah pop up at the convenient time blah blah could have showed up at the b
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Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
This was a great book until about 75% in, then it went weird. I just wished it would have stayed on track. I will continue the trilogy hoping it gets better.
Nerine Dorman
Jan 08, 2013 Nerine Dorman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stories set in America's South always have a way of gripping me viscerally. I don't know whether it's a combination of the history or the mystery, or it's a bit of both. This is the first novel by Cherie Priest that I've read, and I've definitely fallen in love with her voice, and will go on to read more of her works.

Eden's always seen ghosts, and we follow her progress as she's raised by her aunt, and her family life is far from simple. There's a larger mystery in the picture, but Eden's got a
...more
Whitney
After reading Boneshaker and going "OMG, who is this Cherie Priest chick and how did I not read her stuff sooner??" I picked up her first book about Eden Moore and was completely blindsided that it was set in Chattanooga, Tennessee. (That's about an hour from my hometown.)

Eden was raised by her sister and brother in law on Signal Mountain (which I still count as a been-there, even if it was only a disastrous date with that guy who brought me pop-tarts in lieu of flowers). As she grows up, she is
...more
Robin Wiley
Feb 17, 2010 Robin Wiley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic-fiction
Great modern Gothic Fiction.

I read the creepy playground scene at night. My daughter got out of bed to go to the bathroom, and I didn't know whether to scream, cry or quietly wet my pants. So it took me a while to screw up the courage to get back into it (Yeah, I know. Stupid Robin loves her zombies and swordfights, but confronted with a rainsoaked, abandoned playground, she loses her mind).

So why am I so freaked out? I guess it's that I grew up in Missouri, where large groups of trees are calle
...more
Catherine Siemann
I seem to be tracking Priest’s career in reverse, having first read her highly-enjoyable steampunk novel, Boneshaker, and then her dark fantasy, Fathom. But Four and Twenty Blackbirds, the first in her Southern Gothic horror trilogy, is my favorite so far. Eden Moore can see ghosts. The orphan child of a teenage mother, Eden has been raised by her aunt Lulu and Lulu’s husband Dave, but she’s always had questions about her family and the circumstances of her birth, some of which Lulu is unwilling ...more
Samrat
Atmospheric and lovely but this debut novel has more awkward pacing, infodumping, and spotty characterization than I've come to expect. The whole Southernness feels authentic (or at least similar to those classic Southern Gothic depictions I've read before) but I dunno... the handling of race seems more like an explanatory device (if witches in [the South] then [Black]) than something meaningfully explored. Like Eliza mentions her family didn't keep slaves in apparent contradiction but the conve ...more
jillian
I adored this book. As Southern Gothic writers go, I like Cherie Priest's books a hell of a lot better than Poppy Z Brite's. The history is fascinating and I love the Chattanooga setting of the Eden Moore stories. I found it a little hard to keep track of all the family connections and history of the protagonist, as they unfolded with the plot and the mystery, but it all came together and made sense. Plus, the author does a great job of making the South sound like someplace I'd want to live - bo ...more
Sharon Michael
Somewhat of an odd book for me, paranormal but not not really a lot of mystery, a great deal of family history and character development and I found the ending somewhat confusing.
Lightreads
Eden starts seeing ghosts when she’s barely old enough to talk. When she’s ten her cousin tries to kill her. Then things start getting weird – twisty family trees, ancient wizards, gross resurrection rituals, etc.

This book nicely engaged me for the first third (great atmosphere, southern racial politics, vivid writing) and then lost me almost entirely in the last two-thirds (clichés, predictability, decline in the writing quality). I think partly the book is just a predictable little ghost story
...more
Audrey
It's like a John Bellairs book, but for grown-ups and with a female protagonist. Tombstone inscriptions! Missing books! Strange potions! A haunted monastery! Shadowy figures! Nighttime pursuits!

And sometimes, that's exactly what you're in the mood for.

A great moody atmospheric read set in Chattanooga, which I love because hello under-utilized minor Southern cities of the U.S., y'all need more Gothic mysteries set in you. Eden is likable and interesting, although more so when she's a kid; adult
...more
Minna
3 1/2 stars. I picked this book because of its spooky description and creeptastic cover, although I had low hopes - it's a rare 'horror' novel that actually scares me. I was pleasantly surprised by this novel, especially for a debut.

The writing particularly shined in the descriptions; Eden's rough-edged, green, Appalachian Tennessee home, the overgrown, nearly empty, rural reaches of Georgia, and the hazy humid buzzy mucky swampy Everglades were all vividly depicted and could almost be felt and
...more
Metaphorosis

reviews.metaphorosis.com

2.5 stars

A girl in Chattanooga finds that she can see and speak to certain ghosts. Soon after, she encounters a distant cousin who thinks she's someone else, and wants to kill her. As she grows up, she gathers little bits of a dark family history.

I don't recall when or how I got this book, but it can't have been that long ago, and I presume it was a free download from somewhere. The point is that I forgot, which explains my surprise at finding it was not my usual SFF, but
...more
Miriam
May 13, 2010 Miriam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, memory
This time-bending tale of a convoluted family's dangerous involvement with the supernatural emphasizes story and feeling over characters. The magic and ghosts where fascinating, but I would have liked to care more about the protagonist. Of course I wanted her to not be killed by the bad guys, but I didn't really feel much about her and her family.
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CHERIE PRIEST is the author of over a dozen novels, including the steampunk pulp adventures The Inexplicables, Ganymede, Dreadnought, Clementine, and Boneshaker. Boneshaker was nominated for both the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award; it was a PNBA Award winner, and winner of the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. Cherie also wrote Bloodshot and Hellbent from Bantam Spectra; Fathom and the ...more
More about Cherie Priest...

Other Books in the Series

Eden Moore (3 books)
  • Wings to the Kingdom (Eden Moore, #2)
  • Not Flesh Nor Feathers (Eden Moore, #3)

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“Modern families are complicated things. Siblings, half siblings, stepparents, stepcousins, what have you. You can't pick who you're born to, that's for sure.” 2 likes
“Surreal. It was his word of the week. "This must be one of the circles of hell Dante accidentally left off the list.” 1 likes
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