Adult Fiction, Arthurian Legends, England, Historical Fiction, Horror, Loss of a Child, Supernatural
Thanks to NetGalley and Solaris for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: December 6th, 2016
Synopsis: Alice’s house stands at a gateway between worlds. Now something has awoken on the other side–and she’s in its way…
378 Collarmill Road looks like an ordinary house. But sometimes, the world outside the windows isn’t the one you expect to see. And sometimes you’ll turn around and find you’re not alone.
The suburb of Crawbeck , on a hill outside the English city of Manchester, overlooks the woodlands of Browton Vale. Alice Collier was happy here, once, but following the end of her marriage and loss of her daughter, she’s come back to pick of the threads of her life.
John Revell, an old flame of Alice’s, reluctantly comes to her aid when the house begins to reveal its secrets. The hill on which it sits is a place of legends–of Old Harry, the Beast of Crawbeck, of the Virgin of the Height and of the mysterious Red Man–and home to the secrets of the shadowy Arodias Thorne.
And now Alice and John stand between him and the rest of our world…
What happened? I should have LOVED this. It had all the right ingredients for a perfect story: a haunted house, ghost children, multiple mythologies, horror beyond imagination… I’m going to stop there because I don’t want to give any spoilers away. Let me say that the story itself more than lived up to its incredible premise. As soon as I read the first couple of chapters, I was immediately sucked in. The story is told in the third person from the perspectives of Mary Carson in the 1830s, who was the secretary for the previous occupant of the house, Arodias Thorne and Alice Collier in the present day, who has suffered one of the worst losses one can suffer, that of her daughter. Separated from her husband Andrew, Alice moves into this neglected house hoping to get a new start. Instead she gets ghostly children who right from the onset seem bent on killing her, supernatural monsters and sinister figures, a mysterious man in a red cloak and white mask, whose intentions are unclear, and multiple dimensions. Then, as Alice and later on her ex-lover, John investigate, even Arthurian legends come into play. And this all works. It truly does. There’s no confusion and the chapters seamlessly alternate between the two women. The world-building was spectacular and there wasn’t a single thing that left me wanting. So, why you may ask am I giving this only 3 stars? Well, it mainly comes down to Alice and Mary, neither who I was able to connect to even though I had the utmost sympathy for their positions. It’s not that they’re unlikable. They both are written as very nice women. I guess the best way I can describe them is bland. There’s nothing that stands out in either of them. They both find themselves in horrifically unimaginable circumstances yet I wound up feeling completely disengaged. I wound up being far more interested in the villainous Arodias Thorn, which now has me questioning what kind of person am I. The secondary characters are even worse, coming across a wooden, or in a couple of cases, completely unnecessary. Because of this, well before the halfway point in the book, I was forcing myself to continue. It took me close to two weeks to finish this, which if you’ve been following me any length of time you’ll agree that this is a highly unusual occurance. When I finally got to the ending, it wrapped everything up, but it finished so abruptly it left me a bit discombobulated. Now, I cannot stress enough that Feast of All Souls is getting mainly rave reviews on Goodreads, so I’m thinking that maybe this is a case of “it’s me, not you.” If you enjoy horror mixed with historical fiction and the supernatural, I encourage you to try this. You’ll quite likely love it and be left wondering what on earth I was blathering on about!
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