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Bun's Books

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All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation
Rebecca Traister
Fitcher's Brides (Fairy Tale (Tor)) - Gregory Frost The Bluebeard tale reset in a 19th century cult waiting for the end of days in upstate NY. On the plus side, this is good and creepy. The author captures the atmosphere of upstate NY really well. In fact I will admit that may be that he captured it well enough to make me uncomfortable and dislike parts of the book just because I live in NY state and I don't want to be afraid to go into the woods.

The cult is well portrayed too - the evil charismatic preacher in his utter self assurance is one scary guy. His followers may be even scarier, so defeated that they are actually glad to hear that the world is ending and they don't have to keep trying to make sense of it, so eager to turn over their decisionmaking to a charismatic who looks like he might have some answers.

On the minus side, the story is a tale of three sisters - but a lot of time is spent with the first sister, less with the second, and even less with the third. The balance didn't work so well for me. I could have done with a little less time listening to Vern go over the same ground repeatedly, and a little more getting to know Kate.

The major difficulty for me was that somehow the balance between the natural and supernatural elements didn't quite work. Gothic horror is hard to write, it is supposed to be inchoate, you're supposed to spend a lot of the story wondering if the central character is seeing ghosts or just going insane. Its not easy to make that work, and here it doesn't always.

A lot of the book was so extremely realistic in its tone, very specific descriptions of architecture and clothing and place names, and landscape. Because of that level of realism I felt like I wanted the gothic horror elements to be more grounded too. For example, its summertime - I don't understand how the chamber of blood doesn't clot, or smell, or draw flies. I don't understand what the ghosts are doing the third floor or what their role is in the story. I don't know who the Angel of Darkness is, or even if it exists. I'm left with too many questions.

Its still a good, scary, well written story, it just feels like it came really close to being something even more interesting but in the end it didn't quite gell.