"review" · cinema

{film} horns

55943

“In the aftermath of his girlfriend’s mysterious death, a young man awakens to strange horns sprouting from his temples.”–IMDb

I wasn’t sure what to expect with director Alexandre Aja’s Horns (2013), but when it opened with artful, tidy shooting, I became hopeful for more than an impressive American accent from British actor Daniel Radcliffe (Ig Perrish). Add the transitions via the logging, the biblical references, and top it all with a cinematographic color schema (high chromas and deep shadowing) and setting that calls to mind fable-creator Guillermo del Toro and I’m giddy.

Just about the time Iggy embraces the devil with a tongue-in-cheek flair, the film begins to embrace the B-rated Horror flick—except, it keeps its not-low-budget sensibilities. I hope they paid that sound-editor (Rob Bertola) handsomely. I had my eyes closed but struggled to block out the ambient sound of breaking bones and squish and gush of bodily fluids.

Horns Movie Picture (6)

The pacing begins to lag beneath an extended Trainspotting sequence. Otherwise the mystery unfolds rather nicely, if not predictably. I say predictably, but the viewer will know better than Ig and company not to underestimate the villian’s tenacity for, well, evil. The non-linear narrative is ideal, and while I found the voice-over a bit too cheesy for my palette, Sean felt I was a bit sensitive. Regardless, Ig’s disembodied moments were necessity.

Outside of the nauseating sainthood of the flattened sexy red-headed girlfriend*(Merrin Williams played by Juno Temple), the film is entertaining. It rolls the eyes and snickers. It is also kinda gross. It is a bit raunchy for the young teen (sorry Natalya), and a bit sexy. The sarcasm is lovely, and the question of wielding vengeance on behalf of the innocent is provocative.

Put yourself in good humor (especially if devoutly religious) and enjoy the inventiveness behind this modern day devil-origin story.**

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*sexual and manipulative, and yet wrings nobility out of it nonetheless (a statement in itself?). The town also lacks subtlety. But the narrative is driven by singular points of view.

**There is an intriguing left-turn discussion of: the Devil (Satan) as accuser. People are compelled to share the ugliness and act on it.

——-Horns (2013)——-

Director: Alexandre Aja. Screenplay by Keith Bunin. Based on the novel by Joe Hill. Produced by Aja, Riza Aziz, Joey McFarland and Cathy Schulman. Music by Robin Coudert. Cinematography by Frederick Elmes. Edited by Baxter. Production: Red Granite Picture, Mandalay Pictures. Starring Daniel Radcliffe (Ig Perrish), Joe Anderson (Terry Perrish), Merrin Williams (Juno Temple), Max Minghella (Lee Torneau) and David Morse (Dale Williams).

Running Time 120 Minutes. Rated R for “sexual content, some graphic nudity, disturbing violence including a sexual assault, language and drug use.”

"review" · fiction · horror/scary · Illustrator · juvenile lit · recommend · Tales · Uncategorized

{book} 9 Reasons to read The 9 Lives of Alexander Baddenfield

9 lives The-Nine-Lives-of-Alexander-BaddenfieldThe 9 Lives of Alexander Baddenfield

by John Bemelmans Marciano

illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Viking (Penguin) 2013.

9 Reasons to Read The 9 Lives of Alexander Baddenfield

#1  The Premise:

Alexander Baddenfield is a horrible boy—a really horrible boy—who is the last in a long line of lying, thieving scoundrels.  One day, Alexander has an astonishing idea.  Why not transplant the nine lives from his cat into himself?  Suddenly, Alexander has lives to spare, and goes about using them up, attempting the most outrageous feats he can imagine.  Only when his lives start running out, and he is left with only one just like everyone else, does he realize how reckless he has been. (publisher’s comments)

I felt sure that between the jacket copy and the illustrator, I was going to like this one. It was going to be deliciously dark and, thus, right up my alley. [#2 It is deliciously dark, by the way.] While there was some concern that the clever narrator would be a bit too much, I knew I would love this read after page 2. The reason why:

“But now you say to yourself, “Aha! I know: The twist is that the boy is not really dead. It says it right there in the title–Alexander has nine lives. he will be reborn, again and again, so that by his ninth life this awful child will have learned his lesson. His heart will fill with love for his fellow man, and he will become a Not-So-Baddenfield, or even a Goodenfield, and he will turn all his money over to the poor and dedicate his final life to charitable good works.

“If this were a  Hollywood movie, or a fairy tale, or a run-of-the-mill chapter book, this would undoubtedly be the case. But in the real world such things rarely happen. The truth of the matter is that Alexander Baddenfield used up all nine of his lives without the least bit of remorse or redemption, because Alexander Baddenfield only ever cared about one thing: himself.” (2-3)

John Bemelmans Marciano earns major points with me for consistency of character.

#3  Like his Baddenfield men before him, will die “in particularly grisly and poetically justified ways” (8). The tricky thing about the book, of course, is: how to kill of a child character and still maintain the resulting exclamation: what an entertaining book! I’m still laughing about _____! [I could be heard saying these things as I was encouraging Natalya to take a break from Virgin Suicides to give it a go.] It doesn’t hurt that Alexander is really and truly horrible. Two, there are quite a few fantastical elements. Three, if Edward Gorey can do it…

9 lives tumblr_mtdo49ZDT91r0yglfo1_250

Marciano was evidently up to the challenge. And in case, you aren’t a reader of Grimm or Gorey, the author offers a disclaimer, a dare and a tantalizer:

“Warning to All Readers : You are about to embark on a tale that recounts the sometimes gruesome deaths of a young boy, and his not always pleasant rebirths. If you are squeamish, sentimental, or faint of heart, I suggest that you turn back now. You have hopefully enjoyed the story so far. Why not quiet while you are ahead?”

It is nicely done, a black page and a skull and cross bones. #4 His sense of humor is spot-on for this sort of storytelling.

#5 The 9 Lives is as much about Winterbottom as it is about Alexander. A Winterbottom has served a Baddenfield “since time immemorial” (2), and how does one suffer such horrible human beings; further, how does one stick around to watch him self-destruct x9? Here is the heart that functions as the foil to Alexander’s heartlessness. Here is the helicopter parent to Alexander’s extreme risk-taking. What I can’t say is: Here is the perfection to Alexander’s imperfection–and I am glad to be unable to say it.

9 lives stroller.final

#6 Sophie Blackall’s illustrations. You know by now that I am a fan of Blackall’s work, but I wasn’t sure about the sweetened edge to her illustrations would do in a book full of horribleness. The rounded over sharp, skritched carvings of characters lend a deceptive sweetness that makes a glaring Alexander all the more awful…and humorous. Blackall’s charming illustrations make the macabre turns surprisingly all the more disturbing.

#7 Mention of Thomas Pynchon on page 36. another reason why juvenile fiction can be enjoyed by the well-read grown-ups in the family.

#8 The book itself is having fun. Besides the great illustrations and entertaining narrator, the text is manipulated and lives are counted down via eyeballs. Chapters are as long as they need to be, and the re-write of history in chapter two is perfectly paced and hilariously re-imagined (my favorite may be the Boston Tea Party); and such is what you can expect in following chapters–unexpected takes that are highly comedic.

#9 “The End” wherein the narrative shifts, and we get two amusing pages of text before that closing full-page illustration. It is a truly delightful ending to a marvelously entertaining book!

{images belong to Sophie Blackall}

"review" · Children's · fiction · horror/scary · Picture book · recommend

when snacks turn deliciously sinister

30 DAYS OF PB 2013 aDay Eleven: Creepy Carrots!

by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown

Simon & Schuster, 2012.

creepy carrots coverJasper Rabbit loves carrots. and he can take the fattest, crispiest carrots from Crackenhopper Field anytime he wants. that is, until they start following him home… (jacket copy)

Is Jasper imagining creepy carrots creeping about, sneaking up behind him in the bathroom mirror or across the bedroom floor. He is seeing them everywhere! The only reason to question this is because there are plausible explanations for what he could actually be seeing. Perhaps too much of a good thing (ala gluttony or general excess) could lead to some wild hallucinations (read manifestations of guilt). Nah!

Creepy Carrots! is: psychological thriller meets sweet little children’s picture book. It is exciting! When your imagination turns on you…or your vegetables.

creepy carrots interior 3left

The opening end-page is something to consider pausing on, the rows of carrots interspersed with the creepy. This image is recalled as Jasper before a darkened woods, happy amongst his field of carrots. The creepy carrots were there all along, hiding in the field.

The old-school B-rated horror touch to the illustrations is a lot of fun, and, of course, perfectly suited. The orange is vibrant against a filtered black and white, drawing the eye and fueling Jasper’s paranoia. The punctuation of the text guides the reader into a dramatic rendition for the listener (self or other). A Hitchcockian Vertigo-esque illustration marks the mental break. Jasper’s solution to his problem is extensive, but warranted. The moat with gators is genius.

Creepy-Carrots-spiraling2

Creepy Carrots! is thrilling…and best unaccompanied by a serving of carrots, or really any vegetable; because the ending? It’s pretty creepy, too!

pair this one with The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005); as if you should require an excuse to watch anything Wallace and Gromit.

{images belong to Peter Brown}

discovered this book (and the cool video) last year thanks to Shelf Elf, see her review.

"review" · Children's · horror/scary · Illustrator · Picture book · recommend · Tales

the dangerous alphabet

30 DAYS OF PB 2013 aDay Four: The Dangerous Alphabet

written by Neil Gaiman, Illustrated by Gris Grimly

HarperCollins, 2008.

TheDangerousAlphabet_Hardcover_1210447336I’m not sure how the rule works, but surely there must be so many alphabet books per so many Picture Books. I am going to share at least two. You’re welcome. Every child should become expert on the alphabet and expanding their lexicon is just as important (e.g. “E is for evil,” “V is for vile,” “H is for ‘Help me!’) . Of course, The Dangerous Alphabet includes a warning that reads: “The alphabet, as given in this publication, is not to be relied upon and has a dangerous flaw that an eagle-eyed reader may be able to discern.” Even so, they make the 26 lines of rhyme exciting to the most reluctant early reader–educationally speaking, because that is what these alphabet books are for, right? …

thedangerousalphabet

page one: an introduction: and the reason you either will or will not get this book:

“A piratical ghost story in thirteen ingenious but potentially disturbing rhyming couplets, originally conceived as a confection both to amuse and to entertain by Mr. Neil Gaiman, scrivener, and then doodled, elaborated upon, illustrated, and beaten soundly by Mr. Gris Grimly, etcher and illuminator, featuring two brave children, their diminutive but no less courageous gazelle, and a large number of extremely dangerous trolls, monsters, bugbears, creatures, and other such nastinesses, many of which have perfectly disgusting eating habits and ought not, under any circumstances, to be encouraged.”

—————————-

recommendations:  After your child has graduated from this one. Be sure to have a handy copy of Edward Gorey’s The Gashly Crumb Tinies (my review) on hand for their middle-school review of the alphabet…

{images belong to Gris Grimly..whose Edgar Allen Poe books are not to be missed}

"review" · fiction · horror/scary · juvenile lit · Lit · recommend · Tales · wondermous · young adult lit

{book} a monster calls

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd

Illustrated by Jim Kay

Candlewick Press, 2011.

hardcover, 206 pages (ages 12+)

I had been warned and still I read it before bed. I had been warned that hankies would come in handier than a well-lit room. That terror subsides for grief, and not just thematically.

While A Monster Calls is not what one would expect as a traditional R.eader’s I.mbibing P.eril (RIP) read it is perfect for autumn into winter. It has the ingredients of a RIP read: a monster does call, more than one actually, and there are nightmares, death, murder, witches, bleeding, and creepy tales… and there is an unnamed terror that when it comes to light you understand its horror, how it tormented the hero, how that monster could be more terrifying than the one inhabiting the yew tree. It’s just not chilling in the usual way, nor thrilling in any way other than the kind we find in a really well-crafted story. But it is one you shouldn’t stay up with while everyone has long since fallen asleep and all the lights but yours are out.

At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting– he’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd– whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself– Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.—publisher’s synopsis.

A Monster Calls is a thin volume and heavier than it looks, paper and pages weighted for gorgeous illustrations by Jim Kay. Patrick Ness doesn’t need any more words than he’s found the spin truly impressive tale of a boy dealing with his single mother’s illness. Conor’s father has a new family in the U.S., his maternal grandmother is hard, there are bullies at school, concerned teachers, an ex-close friend, and a monster who keeps showing up to have a talk with him—but then, of all the people who would “have a talk” this monster is the most relentless—nearly as relentless as the other monster.

The monster who walks, who comes to call is ancient and wild. He has many names (34) and can take many forms but he prefers the yew tree (a very complicated symbol). The monster finds stories to be powerful and as wild as he and he wants to hear Conor’s story. Conor is not keen on the idea, but he bides his time as the monster wants to share three tales of his own first. The tales are exquisite and their outcomes baffle Conor. As they find correlation with the things going on at home and school, Conor’s life adds further consideration to the tales—and deepen the mystery surrounding Conor’s repetitive nightmare.

There is an aspect to the story that brought to mind Adam Haslett’s short story “The Beginnings of Grief,” it is where Conor seeks out punishment, not actively per se, but he actually looks forward to blows from the school bullies. He wants to see justice mete out in the tales, the more destructive the better. But he seems immune from punishment from others (and eventually all), who always counter with: “What purpose could that possibly serve?” The question follows the Monster’s tales as well.   A Monster Calls and its tale(s) talks also about power, isolation, (in)visibility, belief and guilt—and to what end? That is what Conor wants to know and what he is not sure is possible or even deserved.

Much of the pleasure of the read is not only the clever weaving of this tale, but the characters who populate it–the Monster and Conor foremost. For all the weight they give the story, the characters drive the action that buoys the story pursuing it with mounting dread–and increasing relief. The more out of control things seem to spiral the greater the optimism that it will all soon be over, one way or another.

I know I have not done my best with this review as I really hope anyone and everyone would read it, at least once. It has the dark and the mischief and the raging that is so extraordinary to experience in Patrick Ness’ writing.

—-

recommendations: 12 & up, boys and girls, and not necessarily only someone experienced with or experiencing grief, fans of David Almond as he came to mind with this one; those who love tales.

A RIP VII read

{those loverly dark images belong to Jim Kay}

"review" · fiction · horror/scary · juvenile lit · mystery · recommend

{book} skary childrin

In Widowsbury, an isolated village where people believe “know is good, new is bad,” three outcasts from the girls’ school join forces with a home-schooled boy to uncover and combat the evil that is making people disappear. –publisher

Have you seen that Care Bear television episode or movie where there is a boy who is bullied and this monster takes him over and he becomes super creepy? He was so evil no one was sure the Care Stare would be enough. It came to mind near the end; which is strange because Skary Childrin and the Carousel of Sorrow is far from cheesy or sappy—but it may cause nausea. However, the nausea would come from picturing oozing vomit-covered bodies, and that crow plucking at a worm—no! a finger?! Or physical illness may result from serious anxiety, because there is something seriously creepy going on in Widowsbury and our Skary Childrin are not going to have an easy time figuring out what is going on, and even then…

It was a very odd thing, how starkly the atmosphere changed once one crossed the border between the park and the woods. It was as if someone had drawn a line in the perpetually brown lawn of the park and said, All right. This is ours. The rest is for evil. It wasn’t merely the landscape that changed. The sky was actually darker in the woods. The park sounded miles away even if one stood exactly at the edge. Here the trees reached their naked limbs up and scratched at the dark sky, distortions in the bark making faces paralyzed in anguish. Mist crept low to the ground, curling around each whispering tree as if searching for something it had lost. (158).

Katy Towell has certainly captured that atmospheric in her isolated community of Widowsbury and even more specifically, Madame Gertrude’s School for Girls. The Headmistress is horrid and so are most of the students. There are the ghosts and the Wailing Room. And there are three peculiar girls: “Adelaide Foss has an uncanny resemblance to a werewolf, Maggie Borland is abnormally strong, and Beatrice Alfred claims to be able to see ghosts (she’s also an atrocious speller)” (jacket copy). Things are creepy and weird, and not solely in that quirky-charming kind of way. No, Towell may have humor and style, but she is hard-core set on sending some real chills her young readers’ way. And very real uncertainty. If Towell were to be accused of using a cookie-cutter, it would be deliciously warped one. Maybe something borrowed from when scary stories where still skary.

A less peculiar yet delightfully unusual boy shares the narrative and the adventure: Steffen Weller, son of the cook at Rudyard’s School for Boys (where he cannot afford to attend). He is homeschooled, invents various contraptions, and eats peanut butter sandwiches. He is our access to the world outside Gertrude’s and proves a great counterweight to the peculiar girls. While readers are sure to empathize with the girls, our empathy with Steffan is the more “normal” outcast. Still, especially thinking as a girl, the “gifts” the girls have aren’t the sort a 9-12 would see as kick-ass in real life application, not when normal could mean torment avoidance. And while one would think ‘at least the three girls have each other’ that isn’t the case—not initially. It is only when Miss Delia Peet—the new Librarian—shows up—and then disappears—that everything changes for Adelaide, Beatrice, and Maggie. Steffen finds his own pivotal meeting…

The chapters can be long, and we can be left hanging and wondering a bit. The chaptering makes sense, its just something even Natalya noted as unusual. Towell apparently trusts herself and the attention spans of readers—and well she should. The story isn’t interested toward racing to the end, more like creaking down the hallway and peering through cracks and keyholes in locked doors. I was unable to read this without interruption, but it is absorbing and the story favors an anticipation that has you peeking through fingers—you want resolution and hopefully one person to survive. But there are hardly guarantees. And then you are near the end and the girls, locked in a room while the towns folk are being, well—anyway, the girls are actually getting to know one another while they pass the time in a state other than abject terror.

I see another book coming. The girls and Steffen are resourceful, having interesting abilities, and are very brave, very good, and pretty likeable. You know, with that storm 12 years previous having opened up a gate for weird things to enter Widowsbury, the inhabitants of Pernicious Valley could have their own “Hellsmouth under Sunnydale” (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Katy Towell creates a great dynamic between characters, and she translates horrible images really well—whether it be someone’s humiliation on stage or their sharp nails scritching on your upper story window in the middle of the night. She is a nice addition to the relatively small collection of truly creepy tales haunting the juvenile fiction shelves.

recommendations… Upper Grade-school into Middle; girls and boys. It is not as scary as Chris Priestly and his Tales of Terror, but it flinches less than Adam Gidwitz in his A Tale Dark and Grimm where he warns you something outright gross or evil is about to happen—I wasn’t sure with Towell… She doesn’t seem as interested being clever so much as just entertaining and meaningful—normal juvenile fiction fare—only with that nice touch abnormal and–well, children have grown out of carousels by this age right?  Anyway–if you like scary stories; messages about the evils of bullies; and/or courageous figures with peculiarities.

of note… this is a good R.eader’s I.mbibing P.eril (RIP) read for your youth; even the more sensitive and/or non-reader may find this a pleasant foray into the skarier stories–you’ll at least be sure they’ll never take candy from a stranger again anyhow.

Skary Childrin and the Carousel of Sorrow  

written & illustrated by Katy Towell

Alfred A. Knopf, 2011. hardcover, 265 pages.

{images belong to Katy Towell; more book themed flyers can be downloaded from here; illustration by Katy Towell is from page 50, “Chapter Three: The Smell of Fear;” )

"review" · fiction · horror/scary · recommend · sci-fi/fantasy · Tales · wondermous · young adult lit

{book} chime

Chime by Franny Billingsley

Dial Books, 2011.

Hardcover, 361 pages. Library borrowed.

They cannot hang an Old One without a trial, and we can’t have a confession without the story behind it. While Briony’s life had begun to disintegrate into madness much earlier, she’d become resigned to her new normal until the swamp cough and a certain young Mister Eldric Clayborne came to Swampsea. How’s a girl to keep her masks and secrets with both a Boggy Mun and a charming boy determined to interfere?

One of the first lessons of storytelling is minding your entrance and many heed this well enough. We all understand the import. Franny Billingsley does when she opens Chime with: “I’ve confessed to everything and I’d like to be hanged.” The resignation, the casual disregard, the impropriety and all in the use of contractions/the informal in that line and it sets the tone. Of course the idea of a confession and an possible execution doesn’t hurt either. What on earth could this girl have done?

Sticking the ending can be just as important and I know it has rescued more than a few reading experiences. Yet, a solid landing doesn’t make it memorable. I do not think I read many poorly written works, but I find those endings that linger–that take your breath, that infatuate you with anything and everything for several minutes after, that captures and closes everything from the story not with a tidy bow but a punctuated kiss—I find those kinds of endings all too rarely. Isn’t that sad? Maybe that is why I tire of trilogies; book ones offer some semblance of one, but must be coy, and two can’t afford it for the sake of the book three. I rarely make it to book three. I need to make a list of “gorgeous endings.” Chime  would be on it. I would copy those lines for you, most remarkable being that final sentence, and it wouldn’t be too much of a spoiler, but it wouldn’t have the weight of the story behind it.

From the very beginning we understand that Briony believes many things of and about herself. It all seems very matter of fact and who are we, as readers, to argue. We are still becoming familiar with this magical place where she lives near a swamp in rural England where the Old Ones still roam. We aren’t sure what to believe. But not everything is as foreign as the creatures of lore, like the Chime Child, Dark Muses, Mucky Face, or the Dark Hand. There are things even more familiar than witches and vampires (vampires who are the only Old Ones to remain in the cities, “They’re remarkably tough, which is lucky for them, as they don’t embrace country living” 57). We recognize jealousy and guilt and impatience and love. We begin to notice something very very wrong with Briony. I was honestly ready to strangle Rose and her inability to tell any one of the secrets she was holding. Briony’s self-image is so distressing, I can’t tell you—I probably needn’t.

You could write your way into happiness. It might not be the happiness you’d experience if Eldric pushed Leannee from a cliff, but there’s a firefly glimmer in writing something that would please Rose. (218)

It would be easier to count the books where the protagonist is not a writer, but few use this so beautifully. Or maybe I am that easily charmed by madness. The story is a collection of paper straight from Rose’s hoard of scraps, found and fashioned, cut and paste into images sometimes lost to abstraction anticipating the moment when all the secrets can be revealed and certain persons are unmasked for who they truly are. I have to say, there were hints I didn’t catch and I had the pleasure to impressed by Chime’s revelatory endings. Billingsley captures a Briony who can’t quite capture everything into a singular enough image to provide anything revelatory to herself or anyone else (e.g. the reader). She and her memories, her confessions, they are a puzzle to work out over the course of the book. And to the reader’s good fortune, her journey toward self-realization is marked by an irreverent humor. The self-annihilation she faces at the beginning is extremely liberating; nor, as a witch, does she consider propriety part of her nature, so we find an unguarded young woman prone to thinking just about anything. An additional loveliness would be the identical twin Rose who is prone to saying  just about anything (“Rose screams on the note of B flat” (39)).

“If you were a game,” said Eldric,” you’d be a puzzle. If you were a piece of writing, you’d be a code.” (292)

Billingsley makes use of our ability to observe things without seeing them (tangible in quality or no). The narrative style demands Briony’s skew, but even still, a character resists her perception. She shifts, and while other characters do undergo change, they feel the most steadfast (or consistent). This isn’t new, of course, but I can admire the Billingsley’s craftsmanship in Chime.

I can also admire her use of words.

The Wind smacked at everything. It smacked the river into froth. It smacked the willow branches into whips. It smacked the villagers into streamers of hair and shawls and shirttails. The wind didn’t smack us up, though, not the Larkin family. We were buttoned and braided and buckled and still. (5)

I was a bit overwhelmed by Briony and Chime at times, at how beautiful the verbs and metaphors were, the descriptons. I found this with Karen Russell’s collection St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves—but they are short stories. I’ve concluded that I really have to adjust my reading diet.

There is a romance, the loverly Eldric being a major catalyst for change in Briony’s state. Chime takes its time developing a friendship there and the interactions sustain other anticipations, like will she hang? what is actually going on? The patient development and progression of characters and relationships is an aspect of the novel’s success, but it can come into conflict with the less patient reader who wonders why it is taking so long for Halloween to arrive! And oh! but when it does arrive! And yes, I know I can’t have my ending without a bit of patience.

_

recommendations: ages 12 & up; those who enjoy a good story on identity and/or romantic tales; lovers of lore and its creatures, fantasy and mystery and/or historical pieces; those who are looking to improve their own writing. Yes, I’ve seen the cover, but I think boys could like this story, too.

of note: >>when returning for quotes, I suddenly had Doctor Who’s Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) narrating the text in my head—you’re welcome. I’m sure they’ve done the audio-book, but if another opportunity arose?  >>the conversations on preserving the Old Ones and their stories pairs nicely with the preservation of ecosystems; makes me think of Hayao Miyazaki’s work; which makes me think Studio Ghibli could do a really lovely take on Chime except viewers would miss Billingsley’s use of slam, slap, weep, and bleed, etc.

——–

I read this for R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril (VII). A witch and a mystery were involved so I figured it would be good—and it is. The ambience of the swamp and impending disaster (e.g. hanging) is a good seasonal treat to say nothing of the body gulping Quicks, the Dead Hand who’ll rip the unprotected body’s own hand off, the Unquiet walking amongst the living on Halloween, Dark Muses, and witches flying about without underpants.