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3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  2,233 ratings  ·  311 reviews
How did it all begin? I suppose it would be the day I rescued a new-born baby from a poisonous snake, heard the news of my mother's death and encountered my first ghost...

Veterinary surgeon Clara Benning is young and intelligent, but practically a recluse. Disfigured by a childhood accident, she lives alone and shies away from human contact wherever possible. But when a m
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published April 23rd 2009 by Bantam Press (first published February 21st 2007)
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Now You See Me by S.J. BoltonAwakening by S.J. BoltonIn the Woods by Tana FrenchDead Scared by S.J. BoltonSacrifice by S.J. Bolton
2nd out of 39 books — 8 voters
The Little Friend by Donna TarttDreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyreWalking Backward by Catherine AustenShades of Gray by Brooke McKinleyRattlesnake Farming by Kathryn   Kramer
Best of the Snakes
3rd out of 18 books — 10 voters

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Community Reviews

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This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rating: 4.5 stars

As my brother said when he was little: me no ikey nakes. They give me major heebie jeebies. They make me shudder. I can't even look at them on TV, and only a madman would even suggest I go into a reptile house.

So knowing this book has snakes as a main character, whatever made me read it? The answer is simple: SJ Bolton. I’ve read two of her tension-filled books this year (Sacrifice and Blood Harvest) and she’s become one of my fave authors. Snakes or not, I wasn’t going to miss
In a way, S. J. Bolton's second published novel AWAKENING is a coming-of-age story. The protag and narrator of the tale is a reclusive wildlife veterinarian, Clara Benning, unmarried daughter of an archdeacon. She practices in a remote British village and prefers her mute swans and baby owl chicks to people. But several invasions of snakes into the village and the death of three old people, once parishioners of a church burned to the ground fifty years prior, change her life.

Additionally, the no
This is the second of this author’s books I’ve read and her writing has made me a fan. I found her first book Sacrifice equally compelling and readable.

This well paced thriller, set in small English village introduces us to a young, reclusive, veterinary surgeon who has been deeply scarred by an event from her childhood. A number of strange occurrences involving snakes draw Clara into investigating the mysteries with interesting results.

I was impressed with the amount of interesting facts about
Bu yorumu Kitap Esintisi sayfasında bulabilirsiniz.

Uzun zamandır çevrilmesini beklediğim bir yazardı S.J. Bolton. Eğer önceki kitabı Kurban'ı okuduysanız bu hevesimin nedenini anlayacaksınız. İlk kitabını bitirdiğimde polisiye yazarlarıma yeni birini ekledim diyerek kitabı bırakmıştım, çünkü şu "kalemi kuvvetli" diyebileceğimiz tabir bu yazar için bir hayli geçerli.

Bu kitabında da hayal kırıklığına uğramadım. Kitap yılanlarla geçiyor, kitaptaki karakterler ve yılanlarla ilişkileri kitabın temas
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Snakes alive! I couldn't resist that opening, as snakes abound in this thrilling tale of Bolton's. There is so much beyond the great mystery to absorb in this novel. I learned much about snakes, other wildlife, and the extreme Pentecostal church branches. I was especially taken with the character development of Clara, her metamorphic transformation. A defining quality of Bolton's writing is the strong female lead, something that she does exceedingly well. Now that I've read all three of S.J. Bol ...more
A very exciting page-turner with some well-handled side-lights and carefully researched lore, primarily about snakes, but also about snake-handling Protestant sects. The protagonist is Clara Benning, a young, country veterinarian in the southwest of England, who (we gradually learn) has spent her life avoiding humans because of her terribly disfigured face. We only gradually learn about the cause and extent of her scarring, and the author paces the revelations very artfully. Clara unwillingly be ...more
Sercan Vatansever
Öncelikle bir kaç cümleyle konuya değineyim;

Küçük bir kasabada yaşayan Clara Benning, son derece içine kapanık, yüzünde ciddi sorunları olan işkolik bir veteriner. Sıradan bir gününde komşusu, Clara'dan bebeğinin yatağında bulunan yılan için yardım istiyor. Clara bu durumu garipsese de, pek önemsemiyor. Akşamın geç saatlerinde başka bir komşusunun evini basan zehirsiz yılanların arasında, dünyanın en zehirli yılanlarından biri olan taipan yılanını bulunca, bir şeyler döndüğünü anlıyor. Bundan
This started off extremely well, and had me hooked within the first 10 pages-not a bad achievement. However it flagged rather towards the middle-and the conclusion was not obvious, but relatively easy to work out. So no great surprises with the plot. The protagonist-Clara-really managed to hold the plot together-some kind of cohesion was necessary, and the plot alone didn't suffice on that score. Clara is a wildlife vet, whose speciality is snakes-particularly of the large and venomous type!She ...more
Claire Benning is a damaged, isolated and almost monastic veterinary wildlife surgeon. The organization she works at rehabilitates injured and sick wildlife, and she spends her days saving everyone from badgers to roe deer. When a neighbor in her tiny village dies of snakebite, Claire is asked in for a consult as the local snake expert. She finds the victim has died of the snake venom, but of much higher concentrations than is possible from one snake. As it becomes apparent that a human, not a s ...more
Mary Gilligan-Nolan
I really liked this book by S.J. Bolton. She is a terrific writer and delivers a great story every time. This one was a very interesting one in that the subject matter was very informative. The story is about a wildlife vet called Clara Benning, who lives in a small country village and keeps to herself, doesn't like mixing with people or neighbours, because she has had severe scarring to her face since childhood and had been shunned as a child and teenager. She is called to a neighbours house wh ...more
Creepy yet wonderful. I idly picked this up from a pile, but I'm a goner for great first lines, and this one starts "...a heartbeat before the sun came up" and I'm walking in the house with Clara, turning around the corner, waiting to see what she sees. And although I shudder like most when I think of snakes (they're nesting inside various houses in Clara's English village), Clara's point of view (she's a rescue vet) allowed me to marvel at their strange beauty and appreciate their awesome (in t ...more
First Sentence: The darkest hour I’ve ever known began last Thursday, a heartbeat before the sun came up.

Clara Benning is a veterinary surgeon who, due to a childhood accident, chooses to spend her time working with a wildlife hospital and living as a near recluse in her small village near the boundaries of Devon and Dorset England. Grass snakes are common in that area, but not when they invade households en masse. Even less common is when a resident dies by the bite of a black adder as many tim
May 11, 2014 syrin rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Cláudia
Shelves: ebook, read-2014
This is my fifth SJ Bolton novel and the fifth SJ Bolton novel that I haven't been able to put down until the very end. What more do you want in a mystery novel anyway? Ok, so this wasn't as gruesome as some of the other ones, but on the other hand, the whole "town run over by huge snakes" is creepy enough as it is, so I felt no need for more of that. I liked Clara too, SJ Bolton has a knack for writing female characters that are flawed but also strong without turning them into Mary Sues.
This was my 2nd novel by Bolton and not quite as good as the 1st one I read, Now You See Me. I really liked all the snake intrigue; it was a unique plot element and I learned something about snakes to add to my knowledge banks. However, I agree to other reviewers that Bolton led us down a very familiar path plainly trying to misdirect the reader with several obvious red herrings and predictable plot twists. It also seems to be common for the protagionist to go off on their own to try to solve th ...more
Are you afraid of snakes? DO NOT READ.

Otherwise...maybe a quick cardiac checkup?


PS This is a standalone with no appearances from Lacey Flint, Dana Tulloch, or anyone else I recognized from her other books. Enjoyable read. Still trying to decide whether a particular clue was supposed to be dead obvious, or whether it was only obvious to me because of the culture I live in.
Awakening was the first book I picked up by S.J. Bolton and I fell in love with her writing with this book. I just finished the re-read today and found myself just as enamoured with the story, characters, and author as I was the first time.

I love how Clara is written and how we know she is scarred, we want to know the back story of how she became scarred but it is not a requirement to know and it is artfully danced around until we get the answer about 300+ pages in.

I enjoyed the discription of
Another S.J Bolton book I loved!

This book gave me countless nightmares about snakes. Either I was bitten, or someone I loved was.
I even woke up crying one night because I dreamed my beloved cat had been bitten and killed by a Australian snake. LOL.
I love when a fiction book can get under your skin like that...

Once again S.J wrote without a single doll or boring moment, and the pages turns themself.
I love her characthers, - Claire is wonderfull and you feel for her instanly, at the same time as b
Recommended by goodreads friend Nicole, this book is everything it was purported to be. Bolton gives information right up front that leads readers to think they understand the mystery but as the story unfolds, more is added to the mix until the mystery becomes so complicated, the reader can only resolve pieces at a time and still I missed the most important one. The writing is wonderful, especially the environmental descriptions, like the sunset on the Undercliff, the woods during the storm and ...more
Dec 12, 2012 Jasmine rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Mystery Lovers
I really enjoy S.J. Bolton's books and her writing style. It took me a while to finish this book and it's not because I wasn't enjoying it! It is the exact opposite. I kept wanting to know what was going to happen next but at the same time I didn't want to book to end. See my dilemma? I actually have to pace myself with reading her books so I don't run out.

I thoroughly enjoyed the character development and slow reveals. Her descriptions of the village and the action woven into the mystery made m
My first book by this author and I want more. Snakes aren't terrifying to me, but I was riveted by the mystery presented. I loved the Devon country village life and the reclusive, scarred wildlife vet forced to interact with the inhabitants.
This book was amazing from start to finish - a solid, well-written, well-crafted atmospheric horror/mystery/thriller (exactly what I've been searching for!). I couldn't put this down and really, really enjoyed it from start to finish. I couldn't wait to finish it, but at the same time I didn't want to finish it because I didn't want it to end! It's really difficult for me to find books that I really enjoy (especially lately), and this fit the bill perfectly. I can't wait to read more by this aut ...more
I’m a massive Sharon Bolton fan and for the longest of times I’ve been missing this book from my collection. Having now picked it up, I can say that all her books are truly brilliant. If you have never picked up a Sharon Bolton book I highly recommend doing so: they really are great. Whilst Awakening may not be my favourite of her books, it is another gripping tale.

A tale which is no good for those individuals who have a fear of snakes, may I quickly point out.

Awakening starts off slower than ot
Sean Peters

After reading four SJ Bolton books in a row, although this is the most successful of her books, I found it the weakest.

You expect the standard to be high, and this was only her second book, Sacrifice meaning her first.

But I think she had got stronger with her last three books.

I found this one a little heavier and slower, and a little over the top.

But it did still build to a fast paced last few chapters.

Now reading Sacrifice.

Her new novel is also just out.


For books like this one, they should invent a 5-star plus rating. It was good from the first page untill the last, really well written, a must-read! Up untill the final pages, you couldn't figure out how the plot was going to end, and the end turned out to be really good.

I would really recommend this one to all of you to read. Certainly if you like snakes, like I do. Btw Rikke, if you read this: the taipan lives in West Queensland apparantly. Stick to the coast!
I struggled with this book at first, and almost left it to start something else. I'm so glad I stuck with it as, despite the slow start, it soon became a very good read.
The heroine is a wildlife vet with a scarred face and a huge chip on her shoulder. Throw in a village nursing a deadly brew, a pentecostal priest, snakes and murder and you have the makings of a tense, athmospheric read.
After reading Bolton's Flint series, it is hard not to compare this earlier work. While it was well written and I enjoyed it, the suspense didn't really kick in until more than half way into the book. I think the beginning groundwork might have been a bit too long.
I found this book a little slow at the beginning. I'm not a big fan of snakes, so I found the detailed descriptions of snakes a bit boring and long. After that, the story became very interesting. I liked all these wonderful and colourful characters. I though the heroine was simply great. She was complex, smart, yet lacking self confidence.

The twists and turns in this story were gripping and kept me questioning who the killer is. There were so many possibilities that I even suspected the two alp
I enjoyed this book very much. It was unusual and interesting and kept me focused. The pace and style was both very readable and didn't lag. This is a good writer who plots and paces her characters and story very well without slowing down the story. Good dose of suspense and thrill. I'm looking forward to reading her first book 'SACRIFICE'.
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Sharon J Bolton was born and brought up in Lancashire, the eldest of three daughters. As a child, she dreamed of becoming an actress and a dancer, studying ballet, tap and jazz from a young age and reading drama at Loughborough University.

She spent her early career in marketing and PR before returning to full-time education to study for a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) at Warwick Univers
More about S.J. Bolton...
Now You See Me (Lacey Flint, #1) Dead Scared (Lacey Flint, #2) Sacrifice Blood Harvest Like This, For Ever (Lacey Flint, #3)

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