Kerrie's Reviews > The Haunted

The Haunted by Alice Brennan
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's review
Feb 23, 2012

did not like it
bookshelves: gothic, negative-infinity-stars, why-am-i-even-reading-this
Read from February 20 to 23, 2012

WOW. Dreadful. And I was hoping my first gothic would be fun!

As I read this POS commonly referred to as a "book," I kept thinking of the poor innocent trees sacrificed for the production of this little shit brick. They had dreams and aspirations too, I'm sure, but Alice Brennan's dreams of cranking out a crusty turd nugget under the gothic genre won out.

If anything, this shoddily spewed dreck justifies the existence (and dare I say eventual takeover) of the e-book. If published nowadays, it would definitely be self-pubbed and waiting to be downloaded in KB to someone's cart for 99 cents because no publisher would (or should) touch it with a 10-foot pole. But no...instead it sat on a UBS bookshelf, taking up valuable space for years until I some sucker fell for the gothicky cover.

The plot is pretty much given in the description, and it sounds great. Wow! A young woman trying to locate her brother's wife finds her fat, slightly mad and obviously drugged. (The fat part is what seems to concern our heroine most at first and she keeps thinking about how thin and beautiful she used to be.) She's guarded over by her oddly menacing aunt and uncle on their run-down old farm. The dark brooding neighbor is a part of it as well. There are secrets here, but what? Will she be able to leave this place with the sister-in-law alive???

The execution was awful and the writing felt like a rough first draft. And oh... the COMMAS. Brennan loves her some commas!
Her feet, unused to the dark, unfamiliar with her surroundings, made stumbling attempts to find their way, shoved her into brush, against the trunk of a tree whose rough bark scraped her arm and then, brought her to a standstill as she decided that the only thing for her was to return to the house.

The wheels spin in this book for all but the last 25 of the 287 pages. The book consists of the same scene over and over:

Jennifer shivers with dread. Aunt Elna says something seemingly friendly. Jennifer starts to relax. Uncle Horace comes in and acts all super menacing. Jennifer shivers. Elna starts getting tense. Marcy comes in all mad and starts screaming. Horace takes her to her room. Elna quickly follows. Jennifer is left to imagine what could be going on. Jennifer shivers. Then laughs that she's being fanciful and ridiculous. Elna comes back. Jennifer immediately voices her suspicions all accusingly. Elna smooths her already smooth hair back, says something comforting and condescending in a thoroughly nice and slyly menacing way, then leaves. Jennifer looks out at the weed-choked field of the farm. She shivers. She succumbs to the urge to run away from the house. Horace/Elna end up stopping her and the whole cycle starts over again. She shivers.

Amazingly enough, what Jennifer's hyperactive writer's imagination has conjured up about what's going on (she writes mysteries) ends up being exactly how it all plays out in the last 25 pages. Pretty astounding, considering she doesn't have anything to go on other than a few words caught here and there. For those who care, (view spoiler)

The final scene with Jennifer hooking up with the neighbor (after only speaking to him 3 times during the course of the story) was tacked on and just as lame as the rest of the book. If there had been some kind of romantic tension presented earlier it would have been more believable. Not better, just less lame.

So really, it could have been so much better. The story has potential but Alice Brennan is not the person to write it. I'll give gothic another try in the future once the trauma subsides.
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Reading Progress

02/20/2012 page 1
0.0% "My first gothic! I'm ready. *rubbing hands*" 1 comment
02/21/2012 page 86
30.0% ""Terror pinched at her heart with sharp, hurting fingers." Is this kind of shit prose normal in gothics? :D" 5 comments
02/21/2012 page 134
47.0% "Number of times the heroine has shivered from cold/dread/horror/fear, etc: 1,385
Sure feels like it, anyway." 2 comments
02/22/2012 page 223
78.0% "Must...not...RIP BOOK...IN HALF..." 17 comments

Comments <span class="smallText"> (showing 1-4 of 4) </span> <span class="smallText">(4 new)</span>

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message 1: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Woohoo! :D They're like Pringles. You can't read just one.

message 2: by Karla (new)

Karla Aw, poor little Sis! This one sounds - execution-wise - a lot like White Midnight, which really sucked. That was also my first Gothic. LOL So keep the faith. They get better. :D

message 3: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Yech, sorry you had such a dire gothic for your first time. :( Their quality varies widely, but this is a definite fail. I read Brennan's "Devil's Dreamer" (also with a pretty cover) & remember being traumatized by the horrid execution & writing.

Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Ive tossed many a book because the author uses !
Sally turned around!Jon saw her! Then they went for a walk way up that hill! The author must be on coffee high..cant say what with yours and the commas..just as annoying. Great review too bad it sucked.

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