My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I kept walking past this book every time I did some shopping in Target and zeroing in on the fascinating cover. I just knew that this book was meant for me. I was so excited to finally load it onto my Kindle. And yet…while it was good, it was not what I expected.
I started to read this book with little prickles of excitement in my spine. I was prepared for a creepy book, the sort of book that would make me cuddle under the covers with my cat while I hope the shadows don’t leap out to get me. The opening was beautifully promising- the foreboding setup, the eerie photographs, the brutal incident in the very first chapter. I didn’t like the protagonist much, but I was prepared to see him grow and change as the story progressed.
And then…I got lost. The spooky tale I was expecting got lost in a myriad of eccentric one-off characters. The mystery unfolded too quickly, but crumbled in a maze of weird magic timey-wimey stuff and Welsh jargon. The love story was just plain awkward. And the protagonist I was hoping to root for was stuck as Bratty McSulkpants.
There were some absolutely brilliant moments in the book- a major plot twist involving a particular character made me gasp aloud, for instance, and a scene in the fishmonger’s shop had me scrabbling to hug my cat. For those moments, I think the book merits the three stars. But I was so torn between lauding the great moments and despairing over my disappointment over what I was hoping the book would be.
The book ends with clear plans for a sequel, and I’ll probably pick it up and read it. Hopefully it’ll take all the brilliant high points of this book and leave behind the muddle.