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A man and his wife go on holiday in the New Forest, where they find old ruins and among it, a tattered diary. Intrigued, they begin to read, and are drawn into the tale of a bereaving man from the 19th Century, who has visions of a green sun and creatures clambering from the well outside his house. Slowly, as madness takes him, these cosmic visions intensify and he finds himself under siege; his daughter, pet cat and his independence are under dire threat, leaving him alone, afraid, and at the mercy of horrific, otherworldly invaders. He witnesses alternate histories of the world, grim futures, and at the end of all, a dreadful predator patiently broods – hoping to sate its hunger.
What fate awaits the Victorian man? Will the diary reveal secrets best left in dust? And what is the ultimate purpose of the green sun, looming over the Earth like an emerald?
I’ve been on a high of romantic young adult books, the mind-blowing ending of the Divergent series (seriously, what happened in that last book?), and moving to London so I can buy stacks and stacks of books.
So to read a horror story was a major leap and now I'm wondering if it was a good idea.
I was approached by the author of Spider from the Well, Tim Reed, to see if I was interested in reviewing his story and I want to say first off: I’m not a horror expert. I don’t have a canon of books to compare it to nor do I usually look at that section in the store. This could very well influence my review.
The story itself was very creative. A couple finds a diary that tells the story of an old Victorian man, who very clearly, was a little bit (read: totally) crazy.
Characters that read out loud all day.
However, the characters didn’t really draw me in. The man of the contemporary couple didn’t seem realistic to me - he came across as very arrogant, but then had an eery feeling about the dairy. I guess I’m not superstitious enough, because it’s just a book. No need to have a bad feeling. And he also reads the whole diary, a good 30 pages, out loud to his wife? Not sure that would ever happen.
The Victorian era man immediately sounded like a wacko to me, so I took everything he said with a grain of salt. I think that if a reader would be able to relate to the man, the story would have been so much better, because there would be tension and drama in there. I would have liked some diary entries where the man is still sane. Let me hear about his normal life with his daughter and let him slowly demise into craziness - right now it was too much, too quick.
I like the premise of the story and the idea of the mixing dreams with reality. There was real potential in that creativeness, but I just couldn’t relate to any of the characters. I’m going to be a repetitive drag, but plot and characterisation together make my kind of stories. I really missed the characterisation here.
What I did enjoy was the writing style. The dreams were very descriptive, but not too descriptive, and Tim Reed was able to create a distinctive 19th century voice, which I can only assume requires a lot of research and effort. Thankfully, it really paid off.
This book will get a 2.5 out 5 stars. There was so much potential in there, and I really think Tim Reed is an author to look out for, but this book just didn’t really hit the mark for me.