When broken-hearted Carrie Rickard falls in love with a ruined house, her life changes forever - especially since this house loves her back. Fairwood House, known locally as The Crows, is no ordinary ruin. As Carrie pours herself into its restoration, she learns that it comes with a curse and an unsolved sixty-year-old child murder... and a mind of its own.
As she digs into the secrets of The Crows, Carrie is dragged into a world of witchcraft, blood magic and the supernatural, aided by her eldritch soothsayer neighbour, Ricky Porter, who's as obsessed with the house as she is.
Ricky, desperate to become the master of Fairwood and of the arcane artefact it guards, sees Carrie's future is set in stone - and so is her death-date. But is his offer of help sincere, or is he the reason she's doomed?
C. M. Rosens is an author and fairy godmother of two based in England and Wales, but is lucky enough to have family and friends all over the world. She is a lover of the Gothic, the Paranormal and the just plain Weird. She has a PhD in Medieval Welsh History and an academic alter-ego.
Summon her with chocolate, ghost stories and central heating.
A clever heroine who falls for a ruined house… and the house that has a mind of its own falls for her. When C.M. Rosens offered to let me beta read The Crows, I couldn’t be more excited. Curses, a murder, and a spooky town all wrapped up in a blanket of dark humor? A very emotionally unavailable monster boy from next-door with a penchant for cannibalism? Sign me the heck up!
I’m really developing a special love for stories that mesh fantasy with dark and horrific imagery. And although The Crows plays heavily with traditional Gothic tropes, it manages to build a lush fantasy world filled with the truly weird and grotesque. At first, it appears to be a straight up haunted house story, as Carrie finishes renovating her dream home, a dilapidated manor in Wales, and begins to have thoughts that are not entirely her own. But it soon grows into much more as she discovers no one in town is quite what they seem and her house is at the center of a decades-old mystery that people are willing to kill to keep unsolved. The cast of characters are vibrant and lend themselves to further exploration, which has me looking forward to more books in the series. I really enjoyed how Rosens presents a very gentile facade for the story but wasn’t shy about getting bloody and pushing the horror boundaries. I also appreciated how the town of Paham-on-the-Sea is a gray place where even the heroes can be monstrous.
If I have any criticisms it is sometimes the explanations of the outre elements were too cursory and left me a bit lost. Also, the thoughts placed in Carrie’s are distinguished by right-justification, italics, parentheses, or a combination thereof. I’m sure there was a rationale for which was used when, but I wasn’t observant enough to catch onto it. But these were minor issues that didn’t overly affect my enjoyment.
If you’re looking for a book with a thunderstorm and wind swept moors vibe, a dash of Lovecraft, and a splash of whimsy you need to read The Crows.
This book was so bizarre but in a good way. There's obviously the house (which is still my favorite part) but there were also werewolves, cannibals, etc. and the book even managed to intertwine Carrie's (very realistic) trauma and past into it — I actually wish the book was longer so that we could spend a little more time with all these different pieces of lore because the world-building is so rich. The illustrations were great too and really brought the story to life.
This is such a fantastic gothic tale! It's perfect for anyone who loves haunted houses, body horror, and a town with more secrets than residents. The characters are incredibly relatable, as they grapple with past traumas and current mysteries. All the characters are richly drawn and complex, making this a great story about found-family and magic. For as creepy and horrific as certain parts of this story can be, there are other equally comforting parts, and often the two are mixed so well together that I found myself looking forward to spending more time in this world before I went to bed. That's about all I can say without giving spoilers. I look forward to the next installment of this series!
This is hands-down the weirdest paranormal/haunted/undead/Other/etc story I have ever read. If that appeals to you, give it a try. I enjoyed/was creeped out, and recommend it unreservedly. Will I read book 2 when it comes out? Probably.
What a peculiar, unique, somehow entertaining experience.
The Crows is a breath of fresh (fetid?) air on the miasma of contemporary fiction, with unexpected twists and turns (and tentacles!) blurring the line between horror and comedy. I honestly didn't know whether to hide under the covers or chuckle to death - but I know I did say "what the f---" quite a lot.
I must say I was a bit confused at times - there were so many characters, dead and alive, it was hard to keep track. The intriguing illustrations by Tom Brown provided a much helpful pause in the story to help me understand what was going on, and I wish there had been more. But, to be completely fair, The Crows is the first book from this Pagham-on-Sea 'Universe', so I expect more shall be explained soon anyway.
In conclusion, Austen and Lovecraft had a baby and Taika Waititi is the godfather.
It is only May, but I have to declare this as my book of the year so far! The story is bizarre, terrifying, funny, and gruesome. Yet, with all these mindboggling components, I found it to be 100% relatable, and I could not put it down. For real. Fairwood wouldn't allow me to. Carrie is one of the most well written characters I've ever come across. She manages to live a half-assed normal life in the middle of drop in werewolves, ghosts, cannibals, not to mention the house itself. And who could possibly like Ricky? He's filthy, he reeks, he does unspeakable things (which he speaks of), he is positively vile. But I absolutely adore him! Fairwood rules. I could not have asked for a better ending, and I need a sequel please!
So, I don’t generally read horror. I had no idea what body horror was until I read this.
But let me tell you, Rosens’ The Crows absolutely blew me away. Her world-building is phenomenal, detailed, and terrifying. She knows each and every one of her characters inside out. Her writing voice is beautiful.
And just when you don’t think things can get any creepier, they do.
Five stars to this breakout book loved every minute of it.
The narration is so confident and smooth that I felt no skepticism of the supernatural events. The world is well designed and told through a particular voice. Weird, spooky, and graphic — enough gore for those with some tolerance for horror-violence without feeling gratuitous. Also, the ebook has lovely art. Ebooks are rarely so visually attractive.
I adore this book! It's a marvellous contemporary horror story which bustles with lively, horrific characters doing terrible, fascinating things yet still manages to have the horror of lonelier books in the genre and several of the scenes were incredibly chilling.
The curiosity, anger and fear of the heroine makes her feels incredibly real – she's not just a passive character through whom the story is observed. The plotting and pace draw the reader on and on and on, it's an incredibly addictive read! I managed to read it and the Thirteenth in a very short time. The character interactions are also quite hilarious.
The dichotomy between the modernness of the town and normal life outside and that which goes on at the Crows, which involves old magic and bloodlines rife with inbreeding and family feuds, is incredibly done.
All in all, if you like characters with character, horrific occurrences and excellent writing, I cannot suggest this book (and its companions) enough!
Delightfully weird and creepy. I think this is my first real exposure to body horror. There's a lot in this book + I don't think I tracked everything, but I enjoyed it - the characters, the town, the story. Am curious to read more.
The Crows is a really great book. The story grabbed me from the beginning and kept me hooked throughout. The characters are likable and well developed. The story is well written and interesting. A great book that I recommend reading.
I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
This book captured me immediately into the story and I loved everything about this story. Excellent story with great characters, especially Carrie. This is a compelling story with action and perfect pacing.
I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
such a good read w amazing, nuance world-building, & characters that you're going to fall in love with & IMMEDIATELY question everything about yourself because how can you love these terrible people this much
When I picked this book to read next, I assumed I was getting myself into a modern riff on Gothic haunted house horror, which is a genre I love. This is certainly that, but so much more. It's hard to say too much without giving away major spoilers, but suffice to say that one of our protagonists, Carrie, is a rather passive heroine who falls in love with a house that loves her almost too fiercely in return, and our other, Ricky, is the most anti-hero of anti-heroes I can ever remember encountering. The fact that the author is able to make us care about both of their fates is one of the major triumphs of this tale.
I don't think this book will be to every reader's taste. The plot was rather meandering, taking its time to setup the spooky atmosphere and diving into subplots that sometimes felt like breadcrumbs for future installments rather than essential to the story. I found Carrie's rather tame acceptance of the extraordinarily frightening things she encounters a little bewildering unless you view it through the lens of her damaged past. But Ricky is a fascinating character, a sociopath that you'll either love or hate. I expected to hate him, but as you get more insight into his psyche, it becomes hard not to root for him.
There is a lot of imagination on display here, and a whole setting/world created that I can see being mined for many more stories. A very memorable read. Recommend for readers looking for a weird, eldritch, disturbing, Gothic, ghostly, gory, clever serving of horror/fantasy.
When Carrie Rickard moves to an old manor, Fairwood House, known to locals as The Crows, she soon finds herself in the midst of a decades long supernatural plot that opens her eyes to the otherworldly goings on of the village.
Carrie was a down on her luck young woman, having recently separated from a manipulative ex boyfriend. Though cautious in nature, her mental strength and determination in the face of adversity were awe-inspiring. I found myself sharing in her various highs and lows, living the story through her.
Ricky was a fun contrast from Carrie’s character. Eccentric, cocky and somewhat vulgar in his ways, I initially doubted whether I’d come to like him as a character. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find him growing on me as the story progressed. His obsession with Fairwood House begged explanation at the start, however his unique interest was gradually revealed, adding further dimensions to his unusual personality.
Fairwood House itself possessed its own unique consciousness, able to intervene in matters of urgency, by forming a human avatar of sorts, to assist Carrie and Ricky in their various struggles. I loved how much personality The Crows had and found this to be a clever way of showing the location’s gruesome history.
There were many things I liked about this novel, the main point being the author’s writing style. The first person past tense narration pulled me directly into Carrie’s story, with the occasional change of viewpoint to Ricky adding an extra perspective to the already intriguing plot.
I enjoyed the way in which the story crossed over into magical, mythical territory, with intriguing themes of control, possession, and the arcane.
As far as I could discern, there was nothing I disliked about this story. It wrapped up nicely toward the end and answered all the questions I had.
Overall, I found The Crows to be a highly satisfying read, brimming with wonder and dark happenings.
Rated: 5 stars. Recommended to lovers of darker stories involving magical mysteries.
I had the pleasure of reading this book before publication and I can tell you that it’s fantastic! There were parts that were so scary I had to turn on the lights to continue reading and parts that were so hilarious that I was laughing for 15 minutes straight. And then it made me laugh again when I thought about it hours later. And again when I read that part to my friends. In short, this book made me feel something, and that’s what I’m looking for in a book.
Also, something else that’s brilliant about this book is that the characters all have their own unique way of talking. Ricky Porter (whose way of talking I love, by the way) for example, uses certain phrases and words that not only make him stand out - they also tell me something about his personality. Creating individual speech patterns like this is not easy but Rosens nails it – and that is truly the mark of a great writer. I highly recommend this book!
The Crows is a fantastic Gothic Horror book that has all sorts of twists and turns, which also has a macabre taste that's definitely dark in nature. The happenings among the little town is fun, especially with all the beings that come out at night that happen upon the protagonist when she least expects it. There's a lot of dark humor as well which is a lot of fun, so The Crows does provide plenty of giggles.
The lore of the The Crows is very extensive and its obvious that C.M. Rosens has taken a lot of care to make sure everything is aligned. The history is rich with every character having some specific role that comes across strongly the further the reader delves into the work. There's a lot to unpack, and it surely is a fun read once the relationships of the characters evolve.
No story is better than its characters, and it is a joy that the characters are well realised and fit within the narrative. The author makes you feel what the main characters feel without telling you directly. For example, I felt myself mirroring Carrie's shock and surprise at the beginning of things and then mentally adjusting to the new normal. Brava! I hope to see more stories in this world.
On a slight tangent: I was not expecting it to be as erotic as it had turned out, but that was a delightful surprise nonetheless. It never veered into vulgarity and certainly didn't detract from the story.
This was a gory, Gothic story which was also a lot of fun. I loved the small seaside town setting and all the little details the author included in regards to this, but the true star of the show here is The Crows itself (my apologies to Carrie & Ricky). Rosens takes the concept of a living house & executes it to perfection.
There were a few parts in the story where I was a little lost, in large part because there is a lot going on at times, but overall this was great read with an excellent mystery.
It was certainly not what I was expecting! I thought it'd just be a paranormal haunted house story, but it was actually more supernatural in nature. I mostly enjoyed it, it was very bizarre but I liked it. My biggest complaint is the dialogue was a bit stilted and unnatural at times, and not because of the accents. It's just characters saying random things that felt like a sudden awkward shift in tone or thought process that didn't feel natural.
The Crows CM Rosens I really enjoyed this book. Well, it starts off slow. I felt like I was reading a gothic Hammer Horror film. Then it kicks in full. Mythical creatures, Lovecraftian creatures, a werewolf, and ghosts. Carrie buys an old mysterious house full of secrets. in a town full of secrets. Worse yet she doesn't know she's living on borrowed time. Oh, what fun ensues. I would recommend this to anyone. A 5 STAR story
I don't even know where to start with this book. First of all, it was excellent. What starts as a typical Gothic murder mystery quickly goes off the rails in the best way possible. I've never read anything quite like The Crows. It genre-bends effortlessly and left me hungry for more. CM Rosens has created a world that I've just got to learn all about. I'll be picking up the other Pagham-On-Sea novels as soon as I can.
Content notes: gore, violence, torture, murder, emotional abuse, child abuse, mentions of alcoholism and drug use.
I really enjoyed this. It's a true horror book and a great interpretation of eldritch horror themes. I love the folk horror feel to it and how it is rooted in small town Britain and the use of local tradition and language in crafting the characters.
The characters are surprisingly well developed and faceted and add extra dimension to the horror and terror of the plot.
At first I was like "oh this is a book about a house with some dark history." Then about 100 pages in, it took on a mind of it's own and had a bit of everything! It's definitely a supernatural twisted tale with a plethora of sinister players. The main character, Carrie, was relatable if not a bit naive to begin with. There are a fair amount of triggers throughout, so not for the faint of heart!
Incredible story and characters. So hard to put down, I had to start promising myself chapters as a reward. I love when a book ends leaving you wanting to grab the next in the series immediately. I'm on to book 2 right away