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review 2015-10-23 10:21
Story or avant garde art?
Kingdom of Shadows - Greg F. Gifune

This one almost lost me at the beginning. There's a fast paced prologue written in present tense and fairly gory, followed by a slow paced first chapter. Add to that a protagonist named Rooster (so I have a mental picture of him as a chicken every time his name is mentioned) and it was only the creepy scarecrows that held me.


Lots of Ak 47's, high testosterone stuff. But then there are increasing hints of horrors to come and things get pretty cryptic. The scarecrows made me wonder if we had some Children of the Corn type Horror in store, but then it took a different turn. Having finished now and assimilated the great reveal, I'm tempted to say this is more of a piece of avant garde art than a story. Objectively, it was very well done. The ideas were above the pale and stimulated a lot of analytical thought.

 

However, as a story, it was non-linear and very confusing at times. First a guy is dead, then he's alive again, then... you get the picture. It all makes sense in the end, but that feeling of not knowing what's going on along the way isn't what I look for in a story. It would probably appeal to Tarantino film fans. Personally, I'm hoping the next story I read is a little more straight forward with the old fashioned beginning, middle and end formula.

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text 2015-10-18 12:43
Reading progress update: I've read 45%.
Kingdom of Shadows - Greg F. Gifune

The scarecrows! Naturally creepy. I like it.

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review 2015-08-01 14:18
Scarecrows by Christine Hayton
Scarecrows (Childhood Fears) - Christine Hayton

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

6year old Cathy is thought to be responsible for the murder and mutilation of a classmate and is institutionalised for her supposed crimes. Her stories of murderous scarecrows roaming the cornfields at night only make her seem more delusional.

When a new doctor takes over her case, he believes that Cathy is telling the truth and that she is not responsible for the murder. As the story shifts between different timelines we are shown what happened on that night and who or what was responsible.

 

This was fairly enjoyable, the 2nd half of the story being far more engaging and having a much better flow to it. The first half felt quite jarring to read and it took until nearly halfway through to get used to the different timeline use. The main characters were fleshed out well enough for a novella but some characters were redundant and didn't end up adding anything to the story. One such character was a female doctor who started off believing Cathys story, was turned into a more villainous character and then disappeared altogether.

 

I have to wonder after finishing this whether there was any real need for the scarecrow element as the psychological horror would have been enough for a great story. Trimming the characters and focusing more on the core murder story would have made this a much tighter read. 

 

Overall this was a decent read by an author who I would certainly pick up more work from, the ideas were good but the execution needs to be worked on.

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review 2015-04-27 01:31
Review: Scarecrows by: Christine Hayton
Scarecrows (Childhood Fears) - Christine Hayton


I received a free copy of Scarecrows from the publisher in return for an honest review.

 

I was really looking forwards to delving into this one. It promised scarecrows, corn fields, a mutilated body and a little girl who sees scarecrows murdering people in the dark of night. It had to be good, right?

 

I had a few problems with this one. The dialogue didn't come across as natural, especially that of Cathy. Cathy's dialogue was far more mature than I would have expected from a child of her age. At one point I went back through the book to check if I had mistaken her age but I hadn't, it was the dialogue that was giving the wrong impression.

 

The plot seemed a little all over the place. I had bother understanding the reasoning behind many of the characters actions, and the reasoning behind even having some of the characters in the story at all. The timelines worked well, to a point. I liked how the author jumped back and forth but the dialogue made keeping track a little hard as the timelines were told around Cathy's age which was all over the place for me.

 

Scarecrows had the potential to be a really creepy story but it didn't quite get there in my opinion. The whole scarecrow/corn field thing wasn't as effective as it could have been. There was too much else going on that kept bringing me out of the story and had me questioning if I had read parts wrong.

 

Not one I would recommend.

 

 

 

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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text 2015-04-22 03:28
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
Scarecrows (Childhood Fears) - Christine Hayton

 

Well that was rather disappointing.  Review to come.

 

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