Ed Ryder's Reviews > Harvest Festival

Harvest Festival by Karl Drinkwater
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it was amazing

Callum is a Welsh arable farmer with a failing marriage, a teenage daughter who hates him and a young son who he desperately wishes won't grow up. It's harvest time, which is a great excuse for Callum to stay out of the house and not have to deal with them. That evening, there is a very strange cloud formation visible in the odd-coloured dusk sky. Then during the night, Callum is awoken by movement outside. It's obvious they are not alone, and as the unseen menace approaches they need a plan of escape, and fast.

That's pretty much it for the setup of Harvest Festival, but then again, it doesn't really need much more. What happens next is a non-stop action thriller as Callum tries to guide his family to safety through a number of set-pieces. I could go more into them but that would spoil the surprise, but the sense of danger and desperation is never far away. This kind of invasion usually only happens in America according to films, so it was good to have a change in scenery to Wales for a sci-fi tale that didn't involve Torchwood. It's not really clear whether the events are just local or worldwide, but that's not really much of an issue.

The main character and his family are instantly relatable and well described, and the alien threat is particularly visceral and gruesome. There are shades of many sci-fi influences in the text, but the general design of the creatures, as well as parts of the third act, reminded me a bit of the movie Skyline with a slight Clive Barker twist.

The book is cleverly structured to not give you time to take a breath as the danger intensifies. Sentences are kept very short and there are no chapter breaks, giving everything a sense of urgency and making it difficult to stop reading and put down. The only reason I read it in two sittings was because I had to go somewhere, and I would highly recommend this is read in one go.

Harvest Festival is a novella of about 90 pages. The short length works to its advantage and means that the action and peril never let up. The premise may be similar to others out there, but something doesn't have to be completely original to be exciting. On that front, Harvest Festival certainly delivers. I thought it was great!
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
September 12, 2016 – Shelved

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