I picked up this audiobook because I had just finished Jessica Verday’s advanced reader’s copy "Of Monsters and Madness" which borrowed heavily from t...moreI picked up this audiobook because I had just finished Jessica Verday’s advanced reader’s copy "Of Monsters and Madness" which borrowed heavily from the text, so I figured it was about time I read "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde". I had seen movie and musical versions before reading Verday’s book. I will say one thing about Stevenson. He is fun to read as his vocabulary is so rich and descriptive. The basic story is that Dr. Jekyll, a good man and well-respected older doctor decides that he wants to do an experiment to see if he can isolate his other half, the evil side of him. In doing so, he literally becomes a different person. Whereas Jekyll is a tall, thin, and well-put together elderly man, Edward Hyde (his alter ego) is short in stature, young and looks a bit off. He has all the bad influences that Jekyll could never have and uses his strength for ill, i.e. trampling a child and killing a lord. We learn their true story at the end, after Dr. Jekyll writes a confession to his friend and lawyer, Mr. Utterson. The novella is very well-written and even though I knew the story, it kept me in suspense about how it was done until the very end. I was a little surprised at the ending, as it seemed a little unresolved.
The first short story is called "The Body Snatchers" and I can see how these were considered scary stories back in the day. This tale was set in Edinburgh, Scotland and is about two medical students, Fetters and MacFarlane. Their instructor was Dr. K, who is based off Dr. Robert Knox, who famously bought cadavers from the infamous murderers and resurrectionists Burke & Hare in Edinburgh 1828. He teaches anatomy and because of the restrictions on obtaining cadavers (they were only to get bodies of criminals that were condemned and executed), many anatomy teachers including Dr. K turned to Resurrectionists, or Grave Robbers, to get a surplus. At first, Fetters and MacFarlane just pay the men who give them the bodies and get them set up in the operating theaters. However they soon graduate to snatching bodies themselves, until they have “the fear of God put into them,” and stop their wicked ways.
The second short story is called "Olalla" (pronounced O-lie-a) and is about a Scottish military commander staying at the home of a formerly-aristocratic family in the Spanish countryside for his health. He is fascinated by the family whose son and mother are both slow-witted, probably do to all the in-breeding of the family. The daughter Olalla, however, is a well-read mysterious young woman who the visitor falls in love with at first sight. The only problem is that their mother might also be a vampire, as evidenced when she attacks the foreigner later on in the story. I was not a fan of this story, it was way too long and rambling without ever really having a climax to the tale, plus Stevenson just seemed really condescending towards women. Yes I know it’s the time period, but it seemed worse than usual. Recommended for ages 14+, overall I would give it 3 ½ stars. (less)
The book is based off real events from author Edgar Allan Poe’s life, as well as characters and story elements from the poem “Annabel Lee”, his short...moreThe book is based off real events from author Edgar Allan Poe’s life, as well as characters and story elements from the poem “Annabel Lee”, his short story “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Raven”, as well as Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous novella “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” Although I overall enjoyed the book, I felt like she was trying so hard to pay homage to these great writers that Annabel’s story gets a little lost in the process, making her seem a little one-dimensional. That was sad because she had so many interesting things going for her and plus so many things to learn and adjust to in a completely different society. I kept waiting for it to be spine-tingling and creepy like “gothic horror story” title makes you think it will be, but it wasn’t.
The year is 1826. Annabel Lee has had no contact with her father since her birth, but suddenly she is sent two tickets by him to move from Siam (Thailand) to Philadelphia. Her mother was supposed to go with her, but she died shortly before Annabel received the tickets. She is excited to come to America as she helped her mother as a healer in Siam, and she had planned on studying medicine and becoming a doctor. When she arrives in Philadelphia, her father is rather shocked to see her and is cold and rude towards her. He is totally immersed in his work as a doctor, which makes getting to know him impossible. He is also totally against female doctors because he thinks they would be too week and emotional. But her father is far from blemish-free, as she soon discovers the truth about him from his assistants Allan and Edgar. Shortly after arriving in Philadelphia, there is a series of gruesome unsolved murders that she learns may have been committed by someone in her household. Will the murderer be brought to justice? Recommended for ages 15+, 3 stars.
Disclaimer: I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.(less)
This was an ARC from Netgalley. I did not know much about the Green Man mythology, although I had seen his image before in art. However, the story sou...moreThis was an ARC from Netgalley. I did not know much about the Green Man mythology, although I had seen his image before in art. However, the story sounded interesting, so I figured I would give it a try. The book did not disappoint. It had a very intriguing storyline that grabbed my interest early on and did not let it go until the book's conclusion.
The story is about O, a teenage girl who goes to spend the summer with her reclusive Aunt Emily. Her aunt is a poet who owns the Green Man bookstore, which has seen better days. It is through O's presence that the story is revitalized and to an extent her aunt as well. However, a dark figure haunts Emily in a re-occuring dream and seems to spell out danger for the both of them. Who is the mysterious new boy who has come to town? Does he mean them harm or good?
I liked that the store was occupied by dead poets and the author's use of poetry throughout the book to better describe situations. While this wasn't a scary book, there was a touch of horror in it, just enough to make it interesting. Recommended for ages 10+, 4 stars. (less)