I am still trying to properly understand my feelings after finishing this book. The quote on the cover that says, “Dark, dangerous, and drippingly gothic” is close to the truth. The one thing that was left out was gory.
This is the story of Ivy, a simple girl living in Rowan’s Glen. The Glen is a very, very small town where the families live off of the land and rarely use electricity. It is a town with a very strong belief in superstition and tradition. Everyone makes their own clothes, unless they are splurging for a special occassion. Ivy grows up with her cousin, Heather, with whom she shares a very close bond. Ivy has a slower way of thinking about things and often stammers when she is nervous. Neither goes anywhere without the other. That all changes when Ivy is sixteen years old and she notices Heather has been sneaking away in the middle of the night to meet someone that Ivy doesn’t know about. At the same time, brutal and cruel animal killings are taking place all over The Glen. Nobody knows exactly who is murdering the animals but everyone has a strong idea, if you are to believe the old stories. Things within The Glen start getting stranger and more dangerous when Heather goes missing after the May Day celebration. Secrets of The Glen won’t stay hidden for long as the truth behind the murders and Heather’s disappearance are discovered.
This story had so much potential but I think it fell short. Maybe the author tired to put too much into one story. Whatever she was trying to do, it hurt this book. Let’s start with the characters.
I liked some of the characters but I didn’t love the characters. Ivy, the protagonist, needed to grow a freaking backbone. She was so tied to Heather that she felt she couldn’t exist without her. I’m all for close families but that was too much. That’s called obsession. She also was so gullible and naive. All of those characteristics and more made for a less than desireable protagonist. Heather, Ivy’s cousin, felt like the typical rebellious teenager that wanted something bigger than the simple, small town she was born in to. She was downright reckless and careless… I cannot find myself caring when characters are stupid like that. The only one I actually felt something for was Rook. (You find out very quickly that all kids born in The Glen are named after plants, trees, or animals: Heather, Ivy, Rook, Raven, Birch…) Rook was such a sweet and caring young man that I wanted nothing but good things for him. He had such a big heart and caring soul. The other characters did not stand out and were not very memorable.
Now the story line. Again, this story had so much potential but it was lost because too much was going on: superstitions, traditions, ghosts, murders, cult-like killings, animal killings… it was just an overoad. All of these elements combined made it very difficult to figure out what the actual story was supposed to be. The more the story continued, the more I realized that the pacing was completly off. It started out with superstitions and then talked about the type of tea Ivy’s mom made her so she could sleep at night. Uh…. you lost me there. The story really did feel like it was dragging. Right when something interesting (finally) happeend and you thought things were going to get good, the author started talking about old traditions and old wives’ tales. UUUUUUUGH. Another thing that confused me about the story was there were journal-like entries at the top of each chapter that were never ever explained. WHY? Why include them to begin with if you are not going to explain them?! What was the point of adding them??
Here is what really got me about this book: the gore. Oh my goodness… the gore. Parts of this story were gory simply for the sake of being gory. There was absolutely no need for that level of description. Please, heed my warning if you plan to ever read this book. Be prepared for animal killings and descriptions of said animal killings. There are also incredibly descriptive paragraphs pertaining to human killings and all that entails. Those items alone nearly caused me to put this book down and walk away. I’m not sure that level of detail is ever needed in any story unless it is some heavy duty cult-like horror fiction book. Horror books are not my bag but be warned this book lives up to that category.
The ending of the book made me want to scream and throw things. Why? It was a complete rush to end the story. Too many twists, turns, plot twists, characters out of nowhere happened in the last two chapters of the book. Imagine that. The author rushed to cram a wrap up the entire story in the last ten pages or so. The reveal was just complicated and none of it made sense. It did not leave me with warm fuzzies and it did not answer all of my questions. The ending just felt MEH, like it was an after thought.
Overall, I did not enjoy this book as much as I wanted (if you couldn’t tell). My initial rating was 3 stars, but as I write this review I believe I may drop that. The more I think about this story, the more I wish I had DNFd it early on.