(view spoiler)[Lily works as a psychiatrist in a high security facility, and one day she is presented with a client who not only claims to be two-hund(view spoiler)[Lily works as a psychiatrist in a high security facility, and one day she is presented with a client who not only claims to be two-hundred year old, but also to be created from a reanimated corpse, just like Frankenstein's creature. He also claims that he inspired not only the obviously similar story of Frankenstein, but Jekyll & Hyde and Dracula as well. As if that wasn't enough, he tells Lily that she is his only child. (hide spoiler)]
The book was nothing like I expected at all, and while it presented a little bit of several genres, it is hard to categorize it properly, but I like to have my books neatly ordered so I'll give it a shot and label this one a dramatic gothic horror thriller tragedy.
The first half is definitely the better part of the book, as the reader, together with Lily, still tries to figure out what of the stories Michael tells is true. Is he really a man-made creature rather than a human with a disturbed mind? Is he really over two hundred years old or does he just believe so? With each chapter, Lily comes closer to revealing the true history of the man who claims to be her father. But what does that make of Lily? While the focus is mostly on Michael, it is interesting to follow the changes Lily goes through, and the doubts she start raising about her own history - and possible future.
While the author cleverly weaves three of the most popular classic gothic novels and their surprising origin into the story, he fails to convincingly convey its historical impact. While it read as a fascinating 'anecdote' from Michaels past, it did little more than entertain for a short moment, rather than turn knowledge about the creation of gothic horror upside down with a stunning revelation. I wonder if it would not have been better to focus on the one masterpiece with the most obvious connection to Michael's story instead of 'collecting' the mention of two other classics as well.
As the second half of the book slows down considerably, the ending at least made up for it and brought a fitting, though not totally surprising, conclusion.
The book is like a potpourri of genres that evokes equally mixed feelings. While I appreciate the attempt to create something highly impressive, it is a mere shadow of the masterpieces it so boldly utilizes.
(Thanks to Netgalley, the author, and the publisher for a copy of the book, all opinions are my own)
It is always satisfying to discover a book by a yet unknown author, take the risk of reading it and find out that it was worth it. 'Little One' is a cIt is always satisfying to discover a book by a yet unknown author, take the risk of reading it and find out that it was worth it. 'Little One' is a cleverly plotted ghost story with a twist, and though the storyline was predictable at times, it was mainly the writing that made reading this book a pleasure. At the beginning, I was afraid it would turn into some kind of cozy romance ghost story, but fortunately it soon became much darker and things turned out to be very different from what they seemed...
As I mentioned before, the story was predictable at times, and I often wondered how the female main character could not notice what I already knew to come. But then again, it's always easier to see the whole picture from the outside rather than being right in the middle of it. Still, on several occasions I wanted to smack her on the head for acting so naive. How could she just go to sleep and rely on her - only barely known - friend to 'take care of things' with a dead body lying in her backyard? It just seemed plain stupid. Then going into town next morning without immediately rushing over to the police station, but instead doing nothing about it - again? That was a complete no-go. However, it explained her repeatedly unsuspecting behavior - but then again, the story would have been much shorter if she acted more clever, I guess.
Still, despite these flaws I was totally immersed this book, due to the author's very fine writing skills which created a perfect reading flow. Also, I did like the mostly sad but also scary ghost part of the story, and how the reader was mislead in the beginning, only to be rewarded with a very fascinating turn of events. If you like ghost stories, you may want to add this one to the list.
(Thanks to Netgalley, the author, and the publisher for an advanced copy of the book, all opinions are my own)...more
This book is based on the short story Surviving the Fittest the author wrote a couple of years ago, which I only recognized while reading the author'sThis book is based on the short story Surviving the Fittest the author wrote a couple of years ago, which I only recognized while reading the author's introduction. But I immediately remembered having read that short story back then and, most importantly, that I loved it. Based on this background, I was even more eager to dive into the Haunted Country (again) and reacquaint myself with Charlie and his sister Cindy.
The world is roamed by zombies for a while now, and fifteen-year old Charlie and his mentally handicapped sister Cindy are always on the run, each day fighting to survive the undead, but also the remaining living. Turns out that the living are even more dangerous, because their twisted minds are not predictable at all. Each encounter with other survivors is a new guessing game - Charlie can never be sure whether they meet fellow humans or sick bastards out for 'fun' or an easy way to get their stomachs filled. While Charlie and Cindy do meet several decent people who help them, this seems to be the exception. More often than not they are captured and abused by men who took the zombie outbreak as an opportunity to unleash their depraved inner demons. However, Charlie always manages to find a spark of hope in the darkest moments, preventing him from despairing and giving up. Especially the ending, while tragic and heartbreaking, shows that there is still hope to be found. But with humanity as the most precious treasure to protect, this story also shows how it can all to easily be turned into its ugly opposite.
This novel lives from its exceptional characterizations, and sometimes I had a hard time to bear what cruel fate awaited Charlie and Cindy. It only occurs very rarely that a book still manages to shake me, but this one definitely did! While this of course is a zombie story, the undead provide only the background setting for a much greater threat and once more, the real monsters turn out to be those still living...Highly recommended!
(Thanks to the author and Booklover Catlady Publicity for providing a copy of this book - all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased) ...more
Reminiscent of the Gremlins, but more gruesome, 'Keep in a Cold, Dark Place' is a perfect story about the opening of Pandora's Box and the cutest littReminiscent of the Gremlins, but more gruesome, 'Keep in a Cold, Dark Place' is a perfect story about the opening of Pandora's Box and the cutest little furry creatures that make your heart weep...that is, until they grow into something more 'fangy' than furry. Once I saw the cover, I just knew I had to read this book - reading the summary was only a formality born from habit here, but it did confirm that my impulsive reaction was not a mistake.
The story begins harmless enough, introducing our female main character, Limpy, and her really not so nice family, easily having us sympathize with her dream about leaving her father's potato farm in order to visit art school. When Limpy discovers a strange box with even stranger eggs in it beneath the potato sacks in the storage cellar, this triggers an avalanche of weird events. At first, Limpy is delighted about the fuzzy furry big-eyed creature hatching from one of the eggs. She adopts the little buddy, names him 'Chup' (loved that hint) and vows to care for him like a mother.
However, not long after Chup's siblings hatch from their eggs, and the little guys start playing tricks. Limpy tries to cover for them as best she can, but soon things get out of hand and it's not just harmless little tricks anymore. With the help of an unexpected friend, Limpy learns that Chup and his pals are growing into some very deadly ancient creatures which are bound to kill her and her family if she doesn't stop them...
The second main theme of this book, apart from the obvious creature feature, is family - its ups and downs, its cruelty towards each other, but also its bond of loyalty and sense of belonging, whether we like it or not. In this regard, the ending does have a slightly corny taste, but it works so well that it didn't bother me at all.
Featuring my favorite kind of creature, combined with a likable coming-of-age story and a well-balanced mixture of humor and horror, this book was a perfect read for me. I would love to see this made into a movie...or, skip the movie and go straight for the merchandise so that I can get my own little Chuppie!
(Thanks to Netgalley, the author, and the publisher for a copy of the book, all opinions are my own)...more
Dieser Thriller verlief in eine völlig andere, überraschende Richtung als erwartet. Von Anfang an hatte ich beim Lesen ein seltsames Gefühl, irgendwieDieser Thriller verlief in eine völlig andere, überraschende Richtung als erwartet. Von Anfang an hatte ich beim Lesen ein seltsames Gefühl, irgendwie passten die Puzzle-Teile nicht so recht zusammen und die Ungereimtheiten (z.B. wie kommt der Junge täglich zum See, wenn er 4 Stunden Autofahrt entfernt wohnt) häuften sich. Die ganze Zeit über fragte ich mich "Was ist hier eigentlich los"?! Über lange Zeit bliebt diese Frage unbeantwortet, und aus der anfänglichen Verwirrung wurde allmählich Verärgerung - wann gedachte der Autor, Licht ins Dunkel zu werfen, anstatt immer neue Rätsel aufzugeben? Gerade als mein Maß voll war, kam aber doch noch die (Er)Lösung und auf einmal passte alles zusammen. Nach der ersten, teilweise schleppenden Hälfte, nahm das Buch immer mehr Fahrt auf, schoss dabei allerdings auch fast schon wieder am Ziel vorbei.
Obwohl ich das Ende durchaus befriedigend und originell (wenn auch in Teilen vorhersehbar) fand, konnte es mich nicht vollständig versöhnen. Das 'im-Buch-versinken' Gefühl beim Lesen fehlte mir hier und überhaupt sprach mich die Geschichte emotional nicht in dem Maße an, wie es ein fesselnder Thriller normalerweise vermag, und es blieb eine gewisse Distanz. Wirklich nicht schlecht, aber für mich persönlich kein echtes Highlight, daher mag ich hier weder zu- noch abraten; dieses Buch muss wohl jeder für sich selbst beurteilen....more
Pheew, this was a long, a very long read for me and sometimes I wondered that I actually only read a couple of pages in what felt like ages.
The concepPheew, this was a long, a very long read for me and sometimes I wondered that I actually only read a couple of pages in what felt like ages.
The concept was fascinating enough: a teenage girl suffers from her violent stepfather and hushed stepmother. Add to that the desire to meet her real parents and a newfound home in a neglected house with some weird siblings of the same age. Top that with her ability to see ghosts. Sounds intriguing? That's what I thought as well. However, the story was suffocating with slightly magical happenings, mysterious descriptions and dream-like sequences that it seemed to take forever to finish. At about a third of the book I was severely tempted to call it quits, but in order to write a substantiated review (and hoping that the book may just have had a slow start) I kept reading.
The book 'Alice in Wonderland' was mentioned several times, but other than feeling similar to Alice 'jumping down the hole' on several occasions it did not add anything useful to the story and was not explored any further. Based on these short mentions I could not follow Rubys drastic decision to burn this book because to her it felt 'evil'. The whole half-hearted allusion to that book should have been either omitted completely or turned into a more prominent recurrent theme.
While the writing was beautiful most of the time, it did not compensate for the mostly bored state I found myself in, wishing for something to finally happen. Towards the end there was a little more action and I did like the outcome.
That and the writing style barely saved the book from getting a 1 star rating. I guess there are a lot of readers out there who love to 'get lost' in a story such as this, but I am definitely not one of them....more