I gave this ‘book of the month’ club a 3.0/5 stars. It’s hard to classify the genre: dark literary is what I would’ve done on my own but the blurb says gothic fantasy. Yes there were paranormal things in the plot but I’ve never read a book like this so it’s hard to classify. A lot of the dialogue felt pointless and many sections felt confusing. I did enjoy the unexpected LGTBQ+ representation.
Here’s my live thoughts while reading:
The prologue did a great job of setting the tone of the novel, but I didn’t like the first sentence of the novel to the point that I’m commenting on it. “It was Hag Night.” That means nothing to me, feels boring, & doesn’t make me care about anything. It’s also telling instead of showing. So, I’m already longing for the vibe from the prologue to return.
In chapter one, a lot of characters names are thrown at me at once. Chloe. Sam. Elizabeth. John. Brian. Another John. Selina. Paul. Kate. Beth. Nicole. Bill. Birdie.
But the unfinished story of the mysterious family living by Small Angels was awesome.
Who is Lucia now? I feel pulled in many different directions. And Elphine? Grandpa. Nan. Ruby. Helena.
Alrighty, I think I have a grasp on it. There’s two timelines. In the past, a young girl who doesn’t fit in with her family or know their secrets yet feels left out so she tests the limits of their rules by adventuring on a trail out of bounds in the woods. Something ominous will come.
Then current day is a town of villagers preparing for a wedding and only some of them know the story of what happened to that family in the woods from before.
I can’t wait to find out.
Wait. Is Kate and Lucia the same person or no? I’m confused.
Now chapter 4 is from Selina’s POV. I hope we don’t have too much head hopping.
Lauren Owen is an amazing story teller.
The chapters are a bit long and I’m needing to take breaks from the heaviness of the story’s energy but it’s overall intriguing. I’m hoping the different parts of the story clash sooner than later.
The chapter mini-headings are awkward like “Lucia in continuation” …
How did the dress tear? What will happen to the tree?
I’m not sure who the protagonist is. Lucia? None of the characters have a goal they’re striving toward. I’m just along for the rude of the storytelling aspect. 100 pages in I’ve already gotten the answers I’m looking for. So I’m not sure what’s compelling me to continue. Maybe what’s gonna happen at Chloe’s wedding? Which means that maybe Chloe is the heroine?
I’m having a hard time figuring out what is present and what is past and the age of the characters. A lot of the story feels quite abstract in nature.
In Chapter 9 I’m starting to wonder the point of everything. Where is the story going? What am I supposed to care about? This feels like filler info that doesn’t mean anything.
What is coming back? What are they so fearful of? They already seem so aware of what’s in the forest and how to maintain it. So what’s the big monster?
Why do humans go towards danger when they’re curious? It doesn’t make any sense to me. When I see a flock of people gathering because of a fight in the middle of a street, I immediately go the opposite direction. I’ll never understand people’s interest in going towards a harmful situation because of entertainment or interest.
How are ghosts making things happen?
Also, I’m confused about the timeline of things. Some parts of this feel like they’ve already been told, so is the narration filling in the gaps? I can’t tell what’s chronological because it’s not clear.
Halfway and I’m kind of exhausted from this story. When there are mini cliffhangers, they all seem repetitive. I don’t know what the story is moving towards. Overall I’m bored and starting to skim.
Afterwards, if someone asked me to tell them what this book was about I’d be at a loss for words. The beginning started out with a dark and intriguing atmosphere. Over the pages it lost all grip on me and I ended disappointed.