Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Dead of Winter

YA supernatural books.  While they've always been popular, it seems that supernatural romance has overcrowded the field. While books about conflicted supernatural beings do (sometimes) offer more complex characters (like Anna Dressed in Blood), there's plenty of room for straight-up evil villains and neatly solved mysteries.  If you've been missing that in your horror reading, you should give The Dead of Winter a try.

A young boy named Michael goes to live with a mysterious guardian after his parents die, only to find out that the remote manor holds many tragic secrets and histories. Let's see...set during the Victorian era in England, a detached guardian, a house full of secrets....oddly enough, for a horror story, The Secret Garden (and with a friend trying to do right by his dead friend, shades of A Little Princess too) came to mind while reading this. Chris Priestly has created a moody and cryptic atmosphere reminiscent of tragic Victorian literature; ghosts with secrets, mental illness, and a shocking finale that brings all the mysteries to life. For readers that prefer creepy stories to bloody stories, The Dead of Winter should be on their list. It's very much in the vein of classic mystery/horror: a ghost that lingers between here and the afterlife, a large house with secret rooms, and a surprise villain that, when caught, reveals all before attempting to kill the main character. Horror comfort reading, if you will.  I had one significant criticism (the dog seems to have been forgotten at the end of the story), but other than that, I thought it was a fun read, horror style. And when Christmas rolls around and you've had enough of wholesome Christmas literature, you can turn to The Dead of Winter for some Christmas themed horror. Jolly good!

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