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Four and Twenty Blackbirds

(Eden Moore #1)

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  2,116 ratings  ·  284 reviews
Although she was orphaned at birth, Eden Moore is never alone. Three dead women watch from the shadows, bound to protect her from harm. But in the woods a gunman waits, convinced that Eden is destined to follow her wicked great-grandfather--an African magician with the power to curse the living and raise the dead.

Now Eden must decipher the secret of the ghostly trio before
Paperback, 285 pages
Published September 5th 2000 by St. Martins Press-3PL
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3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,116 ratings  ·  284 reviews

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Bark (2 Dumb 2 Read Blurbs)
Feb 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
I read a review that recommended this book to the "aging Buffy crowd". Not that I'm taking offense or anything . . . Despite that backhanded insult and being a big Buffy fan, that throw-away comment does a huge disservice to this book. There is nothing snarky or Buffy-like about it. I hope the reviewer isn't assuming all Buffy fans and teens are too simple to enjoy a mature ghost story because I've been enjoying this sort of thing since I was ten . . . End of rant.

This was a good old-fashioned,
Nov 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Cherie Priest has written herself a pretty good novel (which I'll call "Southern Something"). There is much to like. In tapping into the rich literary gothic tradition of the South, she has come up with her own creation. The characters, Eden Moore, her aunt Lulu, stepfather Dave, all seem to come from the New South, a South that hangs out at coffee bars for poetry readings and listens to the B-52s or R.E.M. (or someone newer). But Tradition is still there - and characters like Eden's great aunt ...more
Jan 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
The creepist, strangest section of this book takes place in a bathroom at a summer camp. It does.

Of course, it could have been because I was reading it late at night, in bed, with the crazy homeless group across the street talking very, very, very loudly. (Yes, I know I should be more Christian and they're not harming anyone, but it is freaking midnight!).

Nah, it was creepy.

Four and Twenty Blackbirds introduces the reader to Eden Moore and her surprising large and very confusing family. Like a c
Mar 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
I have come to the realization that although I would never live in the South again if you paid me, this does not mean that the South has left me. I apparently seriously dig me some Southern Gothic-flavored stories--well, I kind of knew this already, what with having read Charlaine Harris so much, as well as Ivy Cole and the Moon last year. It was however with great pleasure that I tackled Cherie Priest's Four and Twenty Blackbirds, especially after I discovered that she used to live in Chattanoo ...more
May 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
Another one I found underwhelming. Priest tries to capture a Southern Gothic atmosphere, and while she makes use of a lot of excellent, classic set pieces—swamps and cemeteries; abandoned hospitals and dark cellars—the first person narrative mostly failed to capture a sense of immediate terror or danger. Maybe this is because Eden, the protagonist, is so detached and hipstery—I guess it’s supposed to make her seem tough, but when she hardly seems to care what happens to her, it’s hard for me to. ...more
Richard Derus
Nov 17, 2011 rated it it was ok
Rating: 2.75* of five

The Book Report: In a fun twist on Haley Joel Osment's famous line, "I see dead people," young Eden discovers she can see and hear three dead women when they save her life, preventing her from being shot by an insane cousin who believes Eden to be the reincarnation of an evil figure from their shared family past. The dead women appear to Eden only at times of great danger and stress, which come increasingly often as she grows into a strange young womanhood. Her life's trajec
Jun 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, mystery
I didn't like this as much as I'd hoped to. I was ambivalent toward Boneshaker, but I really love Bloodshot and Hellbent (my girlfriend is in the doghouse a little bit for finding them boring), so I had high hopes about this one. I know it was her debut novel, but still. There's something compelling about this -- the mix of races involved, the use of the location, history, etc... But the narrative voice isn't that different from the later Raylene of the Chesire Red books (except she has less of ...more
Mar 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It’s one of those books that tends to give you a lot of questions and reveals the answers slowly as the story proceeds. I had trouble putting the book down both because the story was interesting and because I wanted to know all the answers.

This is a paranormal-type story told entirely from the first-person perspective of a young girl named Eden. From the time she was a child, Eden has been aware of three female ghosts. On rare occasions, these ghosts show themselves a
Oct 28, 2016 rated it liked it
One of my "Halloween" reads of 2016... I saw it on a twitter list of creepy must-reads. I was intrigued enough to buy a used copy and dove into it as soon as I could. All that said, the hype didn't live up to the actual reading experience, for me anyway.

There's a ghost-seeing psychic girl, Eden, who tells us her story starting from when she's a child. It follows back generations of women (and men) who have special powers. There is evil in the midst then, and even now. She finds out all the info
Sep 19, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: people in solitary confinement with nothing better to do
I read this book because it was a free download from amazon (Kindle) and I was back in the States and thought what the hell. The book was free, but that doesn't include the time I wasted reading it. The plot was "twisty", but in that bad way where it's just confusing and not really clear if the author herself knew exactly what was going on, or what she was trying to convey. It was not downright painful the entire time, just when the author tried to be clever.

I confess I downloaded the book becau
Mar 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2008, horror
I got this book from the library on a whim - I was looking to see if they had any Christopher Priest books and walked away with a book by Cherie Priest instead.

It's rather Anne-Rice's-Witching-Hourish in that it's a "southern gothic" story about a girl who can see ghosts, and her mysterious ancestors. It's the first in a trilogy, and hopefully it won't all go downhill into a fiery disaster the way Anne Rice's trilogy did, because Four and Twenty Blackbirds is really awesome. It's mysterious and
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
This was a great book until about 75% in, then it went weird. I just wished it would have stayed on track. I will continue the trilogy hoping it gets better.
(review was originally posted on my livejournal account:

As you can see with the little banner above (click if you want more details), I read this book for The Women of Fantasy bookclub. :) I've been wanting to read work by Cherie Priest for awhile; her steampunk novels (The Clockwork Century series) seems to be really popular on the internet. This is a little different, being more on the Horror and Paranormal side, but I was more than happy to sample Priest
Sep 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
After reading Boneshaker and going "OMG, who is this Cherie Priest chick and how did I not read her stuff sooner??" I picked up her first book about Eden Moore and was completely blindsided that it was set in Chattanooga, Tennessee. (That's about an hour from my hometown.)

Eden was raised by her sister and brother in law on Signal Mountain (which I still count as a been-there, even if it was only a disastrous date with that guy who brought me pop-tarts in lieu of flowers). As she grows up, she is
Feb 02, 2011 rated it did not like it
Cherie Priest’s book was a huge disappointment to me. And it’s a book that makes me wonder about the ringing endorsements you find on book covers - because this book had them in spades. Even Ramsey Campbell, a writer I admire, had glowing praise for it, calling the book “breathlessly readable, palpably atmospheric and compellingly suspenseful.” I just don’t get it.

Orphaned at birth, Eden Moore lives with her aunt Louise and Uncle Dave. She’s a strange little girl, but it’s hardly her fault: she
Jul 30, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Highschoolers who need to read more...and like ghost stories
It's a Southern Gothic horror ghost tale that misfires more often than not.

Plus, this book has a very specific audience, in my opinion: high school junior girls who don't yet read much (i.e. just graduated from Young Adult fiction and need an intermediate step before trying adult literature)... and who relish the occasional, daring swear word sprinkled here and there for color.

That said, Priest does fabricate a few passages that fully come together to achieve that spine-tingling foreboding for
Sep 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2010, e-books
Having loved Priest's steam punk novel Boneshaker, I had high expectations for this southern horror novel. Well, it did not let me down. The protagonist Eden is a breath of fresh air. The story is only about her, and that was fine by me. I found that her character development added to the great goth feel of this horror novel and left me wanting more. This is a novel that you will consume very quickly, one day for me, and you will be left wanting more. I look forward to reading the other novels i ...more
May 07, 2008 rated it it was ok
Started out weird, and got progressively weirder -- and ickier. Incest, lots of gore, and some truly weird supernatural stuff. A LOT of truly weird supernatural stuff.

Barely got two stars, but the writing was very well-done. Built suspense well, good characterization (at least of the primary character; less so the others), good pacing.

Just really creepy and icky.

Let's call this one a miss on the Tor ebook giveaway, although at least I finished this one.
Eden Moore is a tough young woman who can see ghosts. For most of her life, she has had three dead women who appear when she is in danger and when she starts to investigate who they were she starts uncovering secrets about her past.

This is a moody and atmospheric ghost story from one of my favourite authors. I love the voice of the main character and there are lots of creepy moments, including the investigation of an abandoned and haunted mental hospital.
May 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memory, fantasy
This time-bending tale of a convoluted family's dangerous involvement with the supernatural emphasizes story and feeling over characters. The magic and ghosts where fascinating, but I would have liked to care more about the protagonist. Of course I wanted her to not be killed by the bad guys, but I didn't really feel much about her and her family.
Jun 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to C by: Cory
Shelves: fantasy
This hasn't happened in a while. I've brought Cherie's book to work and I'm sneaking pages when I'm supposed to be getting ready for meetings.

This book is delicious, wickedly dark and forceful. The mysteries of the deep south are sometimes forgotten, but Cherie drags them out by their musty rags and bones, and stands back while they scare the bejesus out of you.

Highly recommended.
Nick Fagerlund
I'm not a practiced reader of the form, so it took me about two and a half chapters to realize this was, in fact, totally a Gothic. At which point I was like, "I'm out."

I'm sure it was a perfectly good Gothic! It's just that said genre is entirely too rich for my blood, and I was expecting a rather different sub-breed of ghost story.
Robin Wiley
Jan 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gothic-fiction
Great modern Gothic Fiction.

I read the creepy playground scene at night. My daughter got out of bed to go to the bathroom, and I didn't know whether to scream, cry or quietly wet my pants. So it took me a while to screw up the courage to get back into it (Yeah, I know. Stupid Robin loves her zombies and swordfights, but confronted with a rainsoaked, abandoned playground, she loses her mind).

So why am I so freaked out? I guess it's that I grew up in Missouri, where large groups of trees are calle
Nerine Dorman
Jan 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Stories set in America's South always have a way of gripping me viscerally. I don't know whether it's a combination of the history or the mystery, or it's a bit of both. This is the first novel by Cherie Priest that I've read, and I've definitely fallen in love with her voice, and will go on to read more of her works.

Eden's always seen ghosts, and we follow her progress as she's raised by her aunt, and her family life is far from simple. There's a larger mystery in the picture, but Eden's got a
Catherine Siemann
Mar 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I seem to be tracking Priest’s career in reverse, having first read her highly-enjoyable steampunk novel, Boneshaker, and then her dark fantasy, Fathom. But Four and Twenty Blackbirds, the first in her Southern Gothic horror trilogy, is my favorite so far. Eden Moore can see ghosts. The orphan child of a teenage mother, Eden has been raised by her aunt Lulu and Lulu’s husband Dave, but she’s always had questions about her family and the circumstances of her birth, some of which Lulu is unwilling ...more
Nov 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
'Four and Twenty Blackbirds' by Cherie Priest for me was a complete and utter let down.

This is not what I had in mind when I was looking for some good southern gothic story lines filled with voodoo and family secrets, this was more the High School version.

I did not like Eden at all who seemed self entitled to me and I had issue with the ghost sisters a lot who seemed to be on the fence rather than helping her so much blah blah pop up at the convenient time blah blah could have showed up at the b
Atmospheric and lovely but this debut novel has more awkward pacing, infodumping, and spotty characterization than I've come to expect. The whole Southernness feels authentic (or at least similar to those classic Southern Gothic depictions I've read before) but I dunno... the handling of race seems more like an explanatory device (if witches in [the South] then [Black]) than something meaningfully explored. Like Eliza mentions her family didn't keep slaves in apparent contradiction but the conve ...more
Dec 28, 2008 rated it liked it
Eden starts seeing ghosts when she’s barely old enough to talk. When she’s ten her cousin tries to kill her. Then things start getting weird – twisty family trees, ancient wizards, gross resurrection rituals, etc.

This book nicely engaged me for the first third (great atmosphere, southern racial politics, vivid writing) and then lost me almost entirely in the last two-thirds (clichés, predictability, decline in the writing quality). I think partly the book is just a predictable little ghost story
L.M. Cooke
Jan 30, 2017 rated it liked it
I have read some of Cherie Priest's steampunk books, and if I'm honest, I preferred this to her other works. Eden Moore is a relatable heroine. OK, she sees ghosts, but with her family background it's not all that surprising. This book introduces Eden and her background to us, and sets the scene for what, one assumes, will be a series of hauntological adventures. The reason this doesn't score higher is that to me, the ending felt rushed, as if a word count suddenly loomed and would not be denied ...more
Jul 08, 2007 added it
Shelves: goth, americansouth
I adored this book. As Southern Gothic writers go, I like Cherie Priest's books a hell of a lot better than Poppy Z Brite's. The history is fascinating and I love the Chattanooga setting of the Eden Moore stories. I found it a little hard to keep track of all the family connections and history of the protagonist, as they unfolded with the plot and the mystery, but it all came together and made sense. Plus, the author does a great job of making the South sound like someplace I'd want to live - bo ...more
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The Gothic Novel ...: Eden Moore, Book 1, Four and Twenty Blackbirds 11 12 Feb 21, 2016 02:54PM  
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CHERIE PRIEST is the author of over a dozen novels, including the steampunk pulp adventures The Inexplicables, Ganymede, Dreadnought, Clementine, and Boneshaker. Boneshaker was nominated for both the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award; it was a PNBA Award winner, and winner of the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. Cherie also wrote Bloodshot and Hellbent from Bantam Spectra; Fathom and the ...more

Other books in the series

Eden Moore (3 books)
  • Wings to the Kingdom (Eden Moore, #2)
  • Not Flesh Nor Feathers (Eden Moore, #3)
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“Modern families are complicated things. Siblings, half siblings, stepparents, stepcousins, what have you. You can't pick who you're born to, that's for sure.” 2 likes
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