Showing posts with label victorian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label victorian. Show all posts

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Recommendation: The Women in the Walls - Amy Lukavics: Victorian Mansions and Disappearances

In THE WOMEN IN THE WALLS, Lucy and her cousin Margaret are hearing voices inside the walls of their Victorian home after Lucy's aunt disappears.

What intrigued me: Horror, horror, horror, give me all the creepy YA horror.

Bursting with talent

I've seldom read such effortlessly beautiful writing. There is not a single word too much in this book, Lukavics writes so infuriatingly beautiful that you can't help but be a little jealous of her talent. THE WOMEN IN THE WALLS tells a fascinating yet very simple story without much of a complicated plot that is so, so, so enhanced and livened through the fantastic writing. Lukavics has a very atmospheric writing style that is so essentially eerie. It's incredible how much Lucy's voice sucks you into this story, makes you feel like you're wandering through this creepy Victorian mansion with her.

I started out slightly skeptical because of the setting - it surely isn't anything I haven't seen before, but THE WOMEN IN THE WALLS perfectly illustrates that you can write with the most overdone premise ever and turn it into a masterpiece, if only you put your own spin on it. And that's what Lukavics absolutely does. 

Peak Creepiness

When it comes to horror, I'm a reviewer that you wouldn't want to read your book. I'm hardly scared of anything. You need to be exceptional to scare me and that's absolutely what THE WOMEN IN THE WALLS is. It feels a little like psychological horror, how Lukavics pretty much gives you zero information on whether these voices are real or not and what they exactly are throughout the majority of the story. Until the bombastic finale that's riddled with absolutely unpredictable plot twists, you'll find yourself questioning whether Lucy and Margaret are imagining things or not constantly. It's so well-done that I genuinely grew a little paranoid while reading and I surely loved the way Lukavics wraps it all up. 

A word of caution towards the end: if you're not a fan of open endings, THE WOMEN IN THE WALLS will be very difficult to part with. Personally, I just can't help but keep thinking about Lukavics' characters because the story doesn't quite have an ending. But that's part of the brilliance and what good horror should do in my opinion. It should leave you thinking about the gruesome creepiness for days. Lukavics certainly and effortlessly managed to knock my favorite creepy horror writers from the throne. THE WOMEN IN THE WALLS is absolutely a book you should read if you like everything eerie and Victorian. 


Rating:

★★★★★

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

THE WOMEN IN THE WALLS is exceptional. A masterpiece, really. Written with literary ease and multi-faceted atmospheric writing, this is more than just a recommendation - this is a must-read.

Note: Massive trigger warning for suicide, body horror/gore, emotional abuse, and cutting/self harm if you plan on reading this book.


Additional Info

Published: September 27th 2016
Pages: 278
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA / Horror
ISBN: 9780373211944

Synopsis:
"Lucy Acosta's mother died when she was three. Growing up in a Victorian mansion in the middle of the woods with her cold, distant father, she explored the dark hallways of the estate with her cousin, Margaret. They're inseparable—a family.  

When her aunt Penelope, the only mother she's ever known, tragically disappears while walking in the woods surrounding their estate, Lucy finds herself devastated and alone. Margaret has been spending a lot of time in the attic. She claims she can hear her dead mother's voice whispering from the walls. Emotionally shut out by her father, Lucy watches helplessly as her cousin's sanity slowly unravels. But when she begins hearing voices herself, Lucy finds herself confronting an ancient and deadly legacy that has marked the women in her family for generations.
 "(Source: Goodreads)



Have any horror books scared you lately?

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Sunday, September 20, 2015

[Review] Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) - Kendare Blake



17-year-old Cas Lowood is a ghost hunter, always on the road to find ghosts to kill.

When he stumbles upon the local lore on Anna Korlov, a ghost that has killed every single person who set foot in her former home, he instantly becomes obsessed with her. When he finally attacks, Anna does something he hasn't seen any ghost do before - she spares his life.

What intrigued me: I love a good ghost story!

Great Premise - Slow Beginning

The premise is great, but it lacks in execution. The story doesn't really start until page 100 and it's annoying. The side characters are unnecessary and it makes no sense for Cas, an experienced ghosthunter, to drag local teenagers into this, when he's known for being a loner. I feel like the side characters that Cas makes friends with at school, are just an excuse to hit off an unnecessary love triangle.

I feel like a lot of the book could have been cut and I wished that Blake just cut to the slack sometimes. The novel could have started with Cas being spared by Anna and you'd have a kickass beginning right there. I don't understand why there's the need for so many random side kicks that are just annoying.
Also, I believe that Cas would have worked better as a character if he'd been written as an adult. He's too comfortable in his skin, conceited, and doesn't feel like a teenager at all. He's not believable.


A Fluffy Ghost Romance? Uhm... 

I don't think it's even a romance. It's as insta-love-y as it gets. Cas the ghost hunter and Anna the ghost he has to kill, instantly fall madly in love with each other. Then again, Cas doesn't come across as a professional when dealing with Anna. There is just not enough reason for him not to attack her on the spot. His early attempts at killing her seem sloppy, making me question why he's such a renowned ghost hunter, when he's actually pretty rubbish at his job. It doesn't make sense either that Cas takes the help of Carmel, Thomas, and Co, Why would he endanger innocent civilians?

Aside from the ridiculously long build-up, the insta-romance, and the poorly-written protagonist - the biggest problem of this novel is that it just isn't scary. Not even for half a second. There are maybe two or three gory scenes that are pretty gross if you imagine it, but the writing isn't vivid enough to make me see the whole thing in front of my eyes. I didn't even happen once that I felt like I was diving into the story, the writing just doesn't do it for me. This may also be due to the way Cas narrates the story - he flips between monologues, flashbacks, and the present events so often that you don't have the time to get really lost in any of the scenes.


Rating:

☆☆

 




Overall: Do I Recommend?

Nope. Not scary. I only read this because I was looking for the perfection combination between scary and romantic. This is just weird.




Additional Info

Published: October 17th 2011
Pages: 316
Publisher: Tor Teen
Genre: YA / Horror
ISBN: 9780765328656


Synopsis:
"Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

Yet she spares Cas's life."   (Source: Goodreads)



Can you recommend a great YA Horror book to me?

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