I'm reading this series because I was offered the third volume for review by NetGalley, and saw that I could get the first two through Kindle Unlimited. Since there are reoccurring characters, I wanted to get acquainted with them and their setting, even though the books seem to be fairly standalone stories otherwise.
I love a good ghost story, and especially the haunted mansion variety. So far, we have a good list of requisite elements: a main character who inherits an old pre-Civil War mansion, spooky stories linked to said house, and an isolated community wary of strangers. The action is proceeding at a good pace, but it's missing a couple of things to make it a truly great story.
For one, the POV changes without warning from one character to another, and it's really jarring the first few times. For a story like this, I much prefer to stick to one narrator, because it enhances the fear factor for me if there's one single POV that feels increasingly isolated. This last point is just me, of course, but the fact is that the perspective does change at weird points within the same chapter, and it messes with the flow of the story.
Also, there's a wooden feel to how the story is being presented. As I noted above, the elements are in place; but they almost feel like the author was going down a checklist of horror tropes, down to the cranky old man in the convenience store doing a terribly cliched job at hinting there's something "not right" about the place. I half expect him to bite it at some point down the line.
While reading, I kept thinking back to a similarly themed series that I absolutely loved: the Eden Moore series by Cherie Priest, which begins with the absolutely terrifying Four and Twenty Blackbirds (linked here: seriously, go read it if you like a good Southern Gothic style horror story). Thompson seems to be trying something similar with Callie, but is not as good of a writer (he does a lot of telling instead of showing, and describing dialogue instead of just having people talk).
But it's a good story so far, and the third chapter ended on a promising image. So onward we go!
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.
I absolutely loved this book. This was one of those books that I was able to lose myself in for just a little while. This book first fell on my radar when it was listed on First to Read. I signed up for a copy but let it expire before I got around to reading it. As luck would have it, my local library had a copy and I was able to give it a try. Let me tell you, I should have read this book as soon as I had a chance because it was fabulous!
This was a fantasy that I found very easy to slip into its world. It is a rather dark story and you can expect to see a fair amount of blood and violence. I was hooked by this story pretty much right away. The story follows Tomas Piety who happens to be an army priest. The war is over and his group of soldiers that have looked to him for leadership still wish to follow his lead. The group goes back to his home known as the Stink where Tomas plans to put everyone to work in his businesses. When he arrives home, he finds that all of his businesses have been taken over by others and he will have to fight to get them back.
I liked Tomas right away and the more I read, the more I liked him. When necessary, he delivers swift justice but overall he is a fair leader. He is incredibly smart and is a natural leader that seems to know exactly which job would be the right fit for all of his men. He inspires complete loyalty from his men which he returns in full. Tomas is put in a position where he not only needs to reclaim his territory but must also work with a powerful group to help prevent another war. It is a delicate balancing act that he is able to maneuver with finesse.
I thought this book was really exciting. There is plenty of action to keep the pages turning but I found the strategizing to be equally entertaining. The entire book was really well paced. The characters were very well developed and I not only liked Tomas but also really grew to care for the other members of his crew. There were a few magical elements that I found really well done as well.
I would highly recommend this book to fans of darker fantasies. I was totally drawn into this wonderful story that I found almost impossible to set aside. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series!
I received a digital review copy of this book from Penguin Publishing Group via First to Read and borrowed a print copy of the book from my local library.
This was fantastic! Easily the best book that I have read so far in 2019. It was dark and bloody and rather hard to put down. I liked Tomas and his crew. I liked being in his head as he made decisions to lead his men and when he felt like he had no control over what was going on. The more I read the more I liked this group as they tried to retake what was theirs and what was ordered. I will definitely be looking for the next book in this series.
“Living is not an art, but to write of life is. Life is a series of accidents and anticlimaxes, misremembered and misunderstood, with lessons only dimly learned. Life is disorganized, lacks shape, lacks story.”
In “The Affirmation” by Christopher Priest
A Priest book isn't just a (SF) book. It is the distilled essence of a philosophy, a memoir; a piece of someone's soul. Losing the book is losing that element. On a more mundane level, it is also a memory - I read a book when I was about 7 (a proto-choose-your-own-adventure thing) that I've fitfully searched for ever since and never found, and doing so would put me right back on my nan's sofa on a Saturday afternoon with the wrestling on.
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.