Sian Jones's Reviews > The Hunt for the Seventh

The Hunt for the Seventh by Christine Morton-Shaw
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Aug 13, 11

bookshelves: ghost-stories, horror, young-adult
Read in August, 2011

** spoiler alert ** I wanted to like this book, because it came highly recommended, but I do not. I found the prose rudimentary, even for a book written for youngsters, and yet, for all the simple vocabulary, I wasn't convinced that the narrative voice belonged to a 12- or 14-year-old boy in rural contemporary England. I didn't believe he would describe his world in the terms used. I also didn't like how the estate, the village, and the characters floated in a world that completely separate from its alleged 20th/21st century setting. And ultimately, if you're going to hang your plot on old-time Celtic/pre-Celtic religion, you're going to have to challenge the Manichean dualism of unmediated good and evil, rather than just attempting to naively flip it. The witch is just an evil, dangerous hag until all at once she's a well-meaning Wiccan in ghost form. What I'm saying is, this book tries to be spooky while at the same time denaturing the darkness of pagan religion (a darkness that's in all good religion, I'd say). If you're going to make paganism save the day, you can't really do so without dealing with the central concept of difficult sacrifice. Which this book does not. So, yeah. It settles for spooky when it could have achieved darkness -- and the cathartic illumination that accompanies that.
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