Boy, this was a tough read in terms of subject matter. This author takes a crime scenario (this time pedophilia which is terrible in and of itself) an...moreBoy, this was a tough read in terms of subject matter. This author takes a crime scenario (this time pedophilia which is terrible in and of itself) and then manages to turn the knife and make a bad situation much, much worse. Not only does she write physical cruelty and brutality but also psychological brutality--there is no dressing up or sugar coating the awful situations. The author seems to like getting across that the worst part may not be the murder itself but usually is the terror and suffering inflicted beforehand.
Leading man Jack Caffery is a bit of a hard pill to swallow as well as he has more faults than he does redeeming qualities.... I find I want to like him but then he'll say/do something that has me becoming that irate individual shaking the book. I felt more frustrated with him this time around than I did in the first.
I don't really know that, for me, this is the sort of series I could recommend around as it seems this author is trying to keep this as "realistic" as possible--there are no white knight shining moments, no happy endings. I feel I'm left frowning at the end of the book, feeling uncomfortable and largely unsatisfied with a bitter taste in my mouth.
However, I do want to read the 6th installment which means I'll have to get through the rest of the books. Yikes. Wish me luck.(less)
**spoiler alert** Well, that awful movie of the same (well, similar as it knocks off the latter part of the title) name led me astray. My expectations...more**spoiler alert** Well, that awful movie of the same (well, similar as it knocks off the latter part of the title) name led me astray. My expectations where not fulfilled. Which is actually a good thing.
The introduction however claims that we, as the reader, come to sympathize with Eleanor. Not so, for me. She was distinctly crazy from the onset (in my opinion) and slowly spiraled out of control. Would also like to say that she is the absolute last type of person I would ever want with me when investigating a haunted place. Also, I couldn't help think of how some research claims that poltergeist activity is usually brought on by adolescents (thought somehow to do with puberty, the fluctuation of hormones or emotions) Though far beyond the age of adolescence, Eleanor had some previous experience with that when younger, so to me it almost brings into question the haunting itself, what with her erratic state of mind and pendulum swinging emotions. One minute she can't imagine living without Theadora, the next she's wishing squishy deaths upon her. It was more like watching a train-wreck with me cringing all the while at her madness.
In some ways I almost wish there had been more perspectives. It would've been interesting to see what the other characters thought (or didn't think, as Eleanor portrays them as self-absorbed) about her. Having said that, Eleanor was the most self-absorbed of all, wrapped as she was in her little, ever-expanding imaginary world.
Anyway, I was between a three and a four for this one but wound up with the four as I was delightfully surprised (and relieved) this didn't end with the slasher bent of the film. I don't have anything against slashers really, though they tend to rely on the gruesome to strike horror into the heart rather than a sense of suspense, of tense anticipation. It remained a ghost story for the believer and non-believer alike. Was it the house itself, sulky, resentful, jealous, hungry? Was it a spirit in the house? Was it Eleanor herself, her emotions and her deranged mind calling out the poltergeist aspects?(less)
This proved to be a fairly straight-forward ghost story. I suppose, if I squint, there's a tiny twist at the end (if one takes a moment to consider in...moreThis proved to be a fairly straight-forward ghost story. I suppose, if I squint, there's a tiny twist at the end (if one takes a moment to consider intention of particular characters) but for the most part it played out as expected. I personally didn't find it scary or suspenseful and the only thing that gave me pause was the entirely unanticipated addition of illustrations. After the first two sprang upon me, they sort of lost their charm (though there are only 4 in total). I've not yet read famed The Exorcist yet but I suppose I will get around to it eventually.(less)
I finished reading this a while ago, just kept forgetting to update this over here. I actually saw this as a movie first when I was about seven years...moreI finished reading this a while ago, just kept forgetting to update this over here. I actually saw this as a movie first when I was about seven years old and it scared the pants off of me and gave me nightmares for weeks. I saw it again when I was nine years old and loved it (as I was really into ghosts at the time) but when I was eleven, while I still loved it, it gave me a nightmare of the woman in black flying through my bedroom door screaming.
Woman in Black, you are one scary lady to stay with me this long.
I saw the movie recently (which inspired me to find and read the book) and I couldn't help but laugh at the effects that awed and terrified me as a child though the basic plot is very evocative--it sort of stays with you in a way that keeps one laying awake at night, replaying the images again and again of the mirror like marshes reflecting the moon on their glass like surfaces before the impenetrable fog and mist rolls in, the clatter of the pony and cart, the screaming of a child and the woman in black watching. Possibly even, watching you.
As for the book itself it was a little slow to start, perhaps because I was anxiously waiting for the Woman, but I was rewarded because it is a slow build, stacking the creepiness of the surroundings, the isolation and the malevolence of the haunting into one overwhelming, if inevitable, finish. A very good ghost story, in my opinion, but again I may be a little biased as I have loved the movie for a very long time.(less)