Blair's Reviews > The Magdalena Curse

The Magdalena Curse by F.G. Cottam
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's review
Aug 07, 2014

really liked it
bookshelves: ghosts-and-horror, 2010-release
Read in June, 2010

This is the third of F.G. Cottam's books I've read and enjoyed; his second, Dark Echo, ranks as one of my all-time favourites, and while The Magdalena Curse didn't quite live up to that, it was still a great read. Plot-wise and stylistically, it's similar to the author's previous novels, but this isn't really a problem for me as I love his writing and the resemblance means this book has the same good points as the others - it's tremendously atmospheric, fast-paced and exciting from start to finish. It's genuinely quite scary in places (the scene in which a possessed Adam first addresses Elizabeth in particular), but never in anything other than a pleasurably spine-tingling way, and it never becomes ridiculous or unbelievable, despite the fantastic nature of the plot. I really like Cottam's female characters too - they're strong and really well-written, which I've found is a rare quality in books of this genre, especially those by male authors. A couple of bad points; while I really liked Mark and Elizabeth (and Adam, for that matter), I couldn't feel the same affinity with them as I did for Dark Echo's Martin and Suzanne, and I think this was because the book was written in third rather than first person narrative. I think the characters would have benefited from more exposition at the start - though the way the story immediately plunges the reader into the action is attention-grabbing, the lack of personal background at the beginning prevented me from really caring about the protagonists until part-way through.

Also, this is nothing to do with the book itself, but it's a pity that it seems to have been released without much fanfare - I didn't read any reviews and only found out it existed via Goodreads. I've always been surprised that Dark Echo, which is immensely readable, wasn't a huge commercial success, when many more successful books in a similar vein are (to my mind at least) not as well-written or thrilling. Anyway, I'll definitely be getting my hands on The Waiting Room as soon as possible!
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Reading Progress

06/17/2010 page 105
31.0% "Fast-paced and atmospheric - living up to expectations so far!"

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Linda Boa Just read your review of The Magdalena Curse while updating my Good Reads account - I also love FG Cottam, and have everything he's written - though I've one still to finish. My favourite was Dark Echo, but whichever book it is, you're guaranteed a good read. Love his use of music for atmosphere especially.

Linda Boa Also agree with you that his books deserve to be better known - I regularly check Amazon to see when a new one is due out.

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