I love novels about people staying in a haunted house and this was no exeption. However, I didn't find this book scary at all (unlike The Haunting of...moreI love novels about people staying in a haunted house and this was no exeption. However, I didn't find this book scary at all (unlike The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackston or Susan Hill's The Woman in Black).
It's a quick read. Only one character is well developed, which makes his actions at the end of the novel predictable. I would have liked it if the backstory of other character would have been told too. Now I wasn't able to really care about them.
Short summary: Millionaire David Neville, who has only months to live, has found out he inherited a big house, The Pines, from his father. The only problem is that it is haunted. He gets the idea that the haunted house is the way of finding eternal life, the only problem is that his father and grandfather never saw any of the ghosts, only visitors to the house. He devices a plan to force the house to show him the ghosts; he has invited three men who he, seemingly, doesn't know and gives the order to make the house unescapable. Together with his wife and the three men acting as bodyguards/servants he intends to spend 31 days locked in The Pines to see what happens. It doesn't take long before things start to happen, not only on the inside of the house, and people start dying.(less)
I really like the story itself of this novel. It tells the story of Claire, whose mother just died and has inherited, along with a lot of money, a mys...moreI really like the story itself of this novel. It tells the story of Claire, whose mother just died and has inherited, along with a lot of money, a mysterious manor in Wales.
Just before her mother died she told Claire that her paternal grandmother murdered her grandfather by decapitating him with an axe. Claire is afraid that what afflicted her grandmother might be hereditary and goes to Wales in search of awnsers.
When she arrives at Strathmoor Heights she is welcomed by the caretaker, who seems to keep things secret from her.
Although I liked the idea of the story itself the way it is written isn't that good. It's written from the point of view from Claire, it isn't written in a diary style but often she refers to "last night" or "today".
Gatesbury could have done a lot more when writing from Claire's POV. The way she describes things is clinical and although she mentions something is scary (by just saying "it's scary") you don't get the impression she means it. Often right after something paranormal has happened Claire just goes on with her business as if nothing happens.
I was also annoyed at Claire's lack of doing research. Her grandmother was admitted to an asylum after the murder. Whilst Claire goes on about that she wants to find out what the mental state was of her grandmother when she commited the murder she doesn't act like that. She asks the caretaker and she goes to the asylum, which turned out to have burned down years ago, along with the files. She hardly considers finding newspaper mentions, discarding the idea as too much work. She doesn't go to the police to see if she can view their records or go to the council to look up her grandmother's deathcertificate to see if that hold any clues.
The ending is cheesy, although I wouldn't have minded if it was written well, and feels hastened.(less)
The last third of this book makes up for the first two thirds. I thought this was a very confusing book. In the first two thirds you get a lot of info...moreThe last third of this book makes up for the first two thirds. I thought this was a very confusing book. In the first two thirds you get a lot of information; many character (with no apparent main character), information about serial killer (especially Jack the Ripper) and many departments of the Canadian Mounties (and the acronyms). A lot of this information could have been cut to make a more comprehensible story. Only in the last third of the book does everything come together and becomes apparent who the main character is.
What confused me even more was Slade's tendency to constantly switch by calling his characters by their first and last name, often switching between sentences. There are many characters and switching between what he calls them I was constantly thrown out of the story by having to recall what character he is referring to.
I almost stopped reading this book but I'm glad I persevered because the last part is good and hard to put down.(less)
A collection of short stories. Although none of the stories can be considered full-blown horror, all have disturbing or scary elements. Although some o...moreA collection of short stories. Although none of the stories can be considered full-blown horror, all have disturbing or scary elements. Although some of the stories have gore all still feel they are scary and disturbing more by suggestion than because of the outright gore. Also, the setting of the stories are every-day and normal which might contribute to making them even more disturbing.
I liked most of the stories, some could be better if they would have been longer. Many end abrupt, which I don't really like.(less)
I really liked this book and I can't wait for the second (and third) installment.
The story is made up of three parts. The first part (about 200 pages...moreI really liked this book and I can't wait for the second (and third) installment.
The story is made up of three parts. The first part (about 200 pages) tells the story just before and after "The Big Event". It's fast paced and a good read despite that some characters are stereotypes. The characters aren't that rounded but since nearly all of them die by the end of this sequence it doesn't really make sense to have character development anyway.
The second part is set around 90 years after TBE. A group of decendants of survivers of TBE live together in The Colony and have managed to stay alive whilst constantly being attacked by Virals (Vampires). Now the old technology they were depending on is starting to fail. At the same time a teenager, Amy, walks in to the camp raising more questions (why wasn't she killed by the virals, etc). Strange things start to happen and Amy is blamed for it. A small group, including Amy, flees from the Colony in search of answers. They go through a lot before finding help. This section is rather long; about 400 pages. It is also a lot slower paced than the first part. All the major character are well developed. In my opinion this part could have done with some good editing, the long descriptions of The Colony and it's people are great but they also take the pace out of the story and you keep wondering if it will ever pick up.
The last part is again about 200 pages. Comparable to the first part; it's a fast read and hard to put down. The group, minus some they have lost along the way, gets help from militia men to get to their destination. They find some answers there and manage to partially do what they came to do. They also find out that their task isn't over yet.
It ends with a rather annoying cliffhanger which makes me wish the second part would be released earlier than 2012.
Although the story is good and it's well written it still has some flaws. First of all, as I said before, the middle part could have been cut down to keep up with the pace of the first and last part.
Second of all, at times Cronin's sentences are too long and complicated. You have to read them several times to make sense of what he's trying to tell. This threw me right out of the story.
Lastly, the word "flyer" is used as both a curse and as an exclamation to express eg surprise "flyers, you gave me a scare" (basically; the way we use the word "shit"). It is hard to believe they have only one word to use like this. Plus Cronin uses it too often.
I've this novel after seeing the play in London. It isn't as scary as the play (even after seeing it 3 times the "trick" still can startle me). Since...moreI've this novel after seeing the play in London. It isn't as scary as the play (even after seeing it 3 times the "trick" still can startle me). Since then I've read the novel several times. Every time it's hard to put down and I want to finish it in one sitting.
My advice is that if you've read the novel but haven't seen the play to go see it. And if you've seen the play but haven't read the novel to get it as soon as possible.(less)
The story in itself is a good story. Unfortunately the execution isn't that good.
I often found the writing style distracting. McClure often uses stran...moreThe story in itself is a good story. Unfortunately the execution isn't that good.
I often found the writing style distracting. McClure often uses strange words and at times his sentences seem odd. The story is mostly told from the main character's point of view, mostly through dialogue but also from thoughts of the main character. I didn't find the dialogue realistic and often too forced. The switching between the two pov also distracted me at times.
The biggest problem, however, with this story is the amount of unnecessary information or the placement of this information. For instace, at the beginning of the novel the main character, Jack, thinks of the various nearby lakes he might visit. Each lake is described and the discription could have come straight out of a tourist brochure. Later in the novel Jack visits a couple of the lakes to find a good place for fishing. The extensive descriptions would have fit better when Jack was visiting the lakes than when he was thinking about the lakes earlier.
Also McClure has a tendency to describe everything in detail; the selection of a secretary. There are two candidates and both interviews are described in detail, whilst the applicant that doesn't get the job never makes another appearance in this story.
There are some redeeming factors. As I said, the story itself is good, it's a nice quick read (not meant negatively). I just needs a good editor.(less)