Review: In The Dark, In The Woods – Eliza Wass

image

****

I received this book, signed from the author as part of the Goodreads Giveaway Win!! However, this is not going to affect my review, as it will be 100% honest and unbiased, just like all of my reviews.

This book is told from the point of view of Castley Cresswell, one of six siblings, being raised dominantly by their heavily religious and controlling Father. Castley is beginning to question and doubt what she has been told for the whole of her life, starting to want a normal life like everyone else. She wants a future and friends. She doesn’t want to marry her own brother, in Heaven. She wants to live!

I was greatly surprised with this book! When I first started reading it and first read about all of the religious aspects in this book, I was instantly turned off, but there was something about this book that just kept me hooked. All I can say is that I’m so glad that I kept reading. The way and how this book was told and from the perspective it was told from, was brilliant! It was a different way to tell this kind of story in and this form of religious form of child abuse, where the child doesn’t even realise that they have been suffering any form of abuse, until they’ve grown up and by then it may be too late. This was because everything in their life seemed normal to them, even being told that it’s God’s plan, if they are running low on food and are practically starving, being punished for their sins and so on.

I loved the fact it was told through Castley’s perspective, through the eyes of a sixteen year old girl. That we get to see the inside of her mind, her thoughts, her actions and what triggers her with her beliefs and how they adapt. It was great because you never really get to hear or see this type of story or experience told or expressed from the child, or children’s point of view. We even get glimpses of what or how the other siblings are thinking or feeling, but that’s just through what they are saying, so whether they are true emotions or answers, we never truly know. They could just be saying that out of fear of their father. As they believe and fear, as they are told, that their Father and God are virtually the same and if not, they speak to each other.

There were things and questions that were left unanswered that did leave me disappointed. It would make sense if Eliza Wass was planning on writing a sequel to this book and then those questions could be answered. I didn’t like the sudden change with George at the end, which seemed rushed. I didn’t like the fact there wasn’t a conclusion with the father at the end, which again would be good if Eliza was planning on writing a sequel. Now here’s a somewhat spoiler, so skip the next part if you don’t want to be spoiled: *Where did the second Casper from? That was never answered! Did they have another kid? Did they kidnap a kid? Please explain. That’s my biggest problem*

I read this book in two sittings while on my holiday and thoroughly enjoyed it, and I’m so glad that I wan it because it wouldn’t have been something that I would have usually have picked up because of the strong religious element. I really loved it and really hope that there is a sequel because I would love to have answers to some of the questions, especially my questions about Caspar!. I’m glad I have a new author to look out for and to follow now. I definitely would recommend this book highly. A very good read and it did make me think. I’m also so glad that I have a signed copy of this book!!! YAY!!
image

I would defiantly recommend this book and it gives an insight into a world that you may not have otherwise have had. This is why i love reading!! That’s why I have given this book a massive 4 out of 5 stars and would’ve given it 5, if I wasn’t left with questions. A brilliant breakout debut novel.

Click Here: My Goodreads Giveaway Win! (In The Dark, In The Woods – Eliza Wass) For more information on this book.

Review: The Loney – Andrew Michael Hurley

image

***
I received this eARC thanks to Netgalley and the publisher and author, providing an honest and unbiased review of this book.

Where do I start with this book… There is this place, a truly strange, somewhat near deserted place, between Wyre and the Lune, that is known only by what the few locals who remain there call it. That place is called The Loney. Every Easter, Mummer, Farther, Mr and Mrs Belderboss and Father Wilfred, the parish priest, would take a pilgrimage here for its mystical Shrine, along with the unnamed boy narrator and his suggested mentally ill and mute brother Andrew, known better as Hanny, in order to help heal Andrew thanks to God. This year is different however. Father Wilfred is dead, declared accidental, but is there more to the story? So now there is a new priest to take his place, Father Bernard, who has his own ways, but are people willing and ready to accept him and his new ways or do they prefer things how they were?

In all honesty, I am really in two minds when it comes to this book about whether or not I enjoyed it or not. It took me a while to get into the story and when I say a while, I mean at least a third of the way through. If I hadnt been reading this book for Netgalley then I don’t think I would have finished reading this book, that’s how long it took me to get into this book. It started off slow and for me, it wasnt until they actually got to the coast or The Lonely, where it started to actually pick up. But then when I got into the book, it did hook me. I wanted to find out more and therefore needed to keep reading! I had questions I wanted answered, or I just simply wanted to read another chapter and another chapter because I didn’t want to stop.

I will admit that I didn’t realise how much this book was going to be centred and based on religion and maybe that’s why it took me so long to get into the storyline, as it was a bit off putting. It was interesting to read a book that did focus so fully on religion is this way, but it did come a bit unexpected. This cover grabbed my attention instantly and has to be one of my favourite covers I’ve seen in a while, I love it, and I knew it was meant to be a horror book, so I barely read the description before requesting to read this book on Netgalley. Maybe that’s my mistake, but descriptions can sometimes give away too much information and then spoil the book. Like trailers with movies.

One thing I loved about this book is how it was told. The beginning of the book starts off with the unnamed protagonist narrator beginning his story to us, the readers, at his current age, trying to get his point of view of past events across, before it is too late. The book then goes back to when he was younger and he then begins that part of his story to us. We get to see everything from his eyes and how he saw and remembers it, which shamefully took me a while to realise what was happening. Throughout the whole book, we never get to know his name! This does annoy me, but yet I also think that its fitting for his character, as he never really gets any of the attention in this book. The character who shows him the most attention is Father Bernard, who subsequently gives him his own little nickname, which is the only name we hear him called throughout the entire book, and that’s Tonto.

I personally believe that there are some very strong characters, with great development behind them, illustrated in this book. Even though I couldn’t connect to several of the characters because of their strong religious beliefs and how much it defined them, how they were presented in the book was strong. There were others I loved. I loved the relationship between the brothers ‘Hanny’ and the main protagonist ‘Tonto’ and how only siblings are and how they have their own special relationship. They are able to communicate in way that no one is able to in the whole entire book. In fact, ‘Tonto’ is maybe to only person who is able to properly communicate with Hanny. Their relationship kind of reminds me of George and Lennie’s relationship in “Of Mice and Men”.

I don’t think that I would class this book as a horror book, as it didn’t frighten or scare me, especially compared to more thrilling and terrifying books. It just wasnt creepy enough. But maybe that aspect was lost on me as I wasn’t fully engaged enough to be afraid of what I was reading. There are elements of supernatural, I think, mixed in with religion, but its hard to identify which is meant to be which.

When it came to the ending, it definietly left me wanting more. In my eyes, it had been building up to this big ending, or big reveal, and it just left me completely unsatisfied, with questions left unanswered. I’d even been expecting some plot twist at the end for some reason, which didn’t occur. For a book that was 367 pages and wasted pages on unnecessary parts, it could have used that time to spend it answering those questions and building towards a better ending.

So when it comes to my recommendation of this book, I will say that it all depends on what your personal preferences are. This book does have some high reviews, so I may be in the minority that didnt appreciate it to its fullest. I did enjoy it, but was left dissatisfied and it did take me a while to get into it. If you don’t like overly religious books, then maybe pick a different book.

I’m only giving this book 3 out of 5 stars because it wasn’t a bad book, but it wasn’t my favourite either, just maybe the wrong book for me. Have you read this book? Let me know what you thought? Comment below 😀