Posts Tagged With: fantasy/horror

Denied by Pat Brien

Title: Denied
Author: Pat Brien
ISBN: 978-1848764132
Publisher: Matador
First Published: September 2010
No. of Pages: 402

Rating: 2/5

Synopsis (Amazon):

The battle between good and evil has become a war between love and lust As the black clouds of the industrial age begin their creeping domination of Northern England, a brooding vampire, Bachell, settles on the outskirts of a bustling Lancashire town, searching for the perfect victim. Under a death sentence by a powerful female vampire, Maria, with whom he is obsessed, he has neglected his needs to a dangerous degree. Now he must either feed successfully or face a fate worse than death. And his perfect victim must be willing. Not only is the strong-willed but naive Katie not willing, she is soon to be married. This leads Bachell into a desperate game of manipulation and seduction, dramatically pitting the ideals and emotions of young love against the dark forces of sexual fantasy and lust. In the bloody aftermath, a group of vampire hunters head to Paris to destroy their enemies. However, with Maria reigning from the shadows, they find themselves having to make dark choices. As disaster looms, they seek the help of a shy, beautiful young man, whose deadly power stems from a tragic curse.

As someone who loves vampire fiction, I was very much looking forward to reading this new addition to the blood-sucking canon.

Denied showed so much promise, but despite having a slightly more original concept than most recent vampire novels (most of them for the teen market and angsty Twilight Saga rip-offs), but it seems to lose sight of its aims half-way through, with far too many threads that take too long to go pretty much nowhere.

The novel is split into two halves where it really should have been split into two books – Denied and its sequel, and it even leaves things slightly open for a further foray into the story without promising to do so. Even so, I don’t think I would personally bother picking up a sequel were one forthcoming.

None of the characters really ring altogether true and there are many stereotypes as well as characters that pop up in places with no real purpose, which is a shame, because if Denied had been tighter it could have been a riveting read. Unfortunately it was just too long for what was there.

Reviewed by Kell Smurthwaite

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The Magic Lands – Mark Hockley

Amazon Synopsis
When two teenage boys, Tom Lewis and Jack Barton, climb the gigantic oak at the bottom of Tom’s garden they embark on a journey that takes them toward adulthood, a change embracing both enlightenment and loss. Finding themselves in a dangerous, alien realm, where dreams and reality seem to interweave and deception is at the heart of everything, they come under the malevolent influence of a creature known as the White Wolf. What had began as a childish adventure is in fact something far darker and deeper, for the Wolf is playing a momentous game, an arcane puzzle that must be resolved. The boys walk a dark road of treachery and pain, love and lust, sacrifice and redemption. Friendship and loyalty are put to the test and corruption comes in many guises. Finally, truth can only be revealed through pain and forfeit. It is a journey into the heart of darkness where nothing and no-one are what they seem and the rules are the logic of a dream.

My Thoughts

What a magnificent read this was. I was drawn into the story with the opening pages. Don’t be lulled into thinking that this is a YA book though as there are some very graphic scenes that verge on horror writing. To me it seemed like Hockley has written a modern version of Narnia, but one that is far darker,  full of fantastic twists and completely his own. I had to read some of the last quarter of the book over again as I couldn’t believe what had just happened, that’s how unexpected the turns of events are. Hockley’s writing style is captivating and he manages to make dreams, illusions and reality all blur seamlessly together. The overlying message in this tale is of good over evil, that nothing in life comes without a price but hope is always with us. It’s difficult to categorize this novel but if I had to I would class it as fantasy/horror. I loved the mystical and pagan elements too.

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