When twelve-year old Eliza Winter finds a secret room in her missing grandfather’s sprawling, Gothic house, her safe, sheltered life is blown apart. Inside, below a stained glass window where moonlight shines no matter the time of day, sits The Book of Kindly Deaths.
In defiance of her controlling mother, who has always forbidden her to read anything strange or imaginary, Eliza takes the book. As night sets in, Eliza reads one haunting story after another. And the further she journeys inside the book, the more the boundaries between our world and a shadowy land of monsters and forbidden places begin to blur.
When the strange, crooked man from the book arrives on the doorstep claiming to be a rare book collector and demanding entry into the house, Eliza’s world is turned upside down. To escape him she must dive all the way into the spine-tingling world of The Book of Kindly Deaths to save her grandfather-and write an end to the nightmare she’s caught inside.
When I first came across this book, the title itself caught my attention (along with the author's name – Eldritch Black - which is rather cool!) and that was a huge draw to wanting to read and review it. I fell into in to the flow of the story quite easily from the opening paragraphs, which served to set the tone for the rest of the novel. In my mind, it was very atmospheric, with a certain level of creepiness throughout, especially some of the stories within the main story. I also thought the pacing of the book was good as well.
What I loved the most about The Book of Kindly Deaths is it was easy to form a mental image of the scene and characters as they were described in the book. On a number of occasions, I found myself thinking of a possible comparison. The author that kept coming to mind is Neil Gaiman, and his books The Graveyard Book and The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which both revolve around pre-adolescent characters. I also loved the fact that while this book called be called fantasy, it's a little darker too.
Twelve year old Eliza was a character I really liked, especially for someone as young as she is, and I enjoyed reading about her. She's drawn into a mystery of sorts which revolves around her grandfather. Along the way, she has her own adventures, coming across both scary characters and helpful ones as she's drawn deeper and deeper into what's really going on. I'd love to know if there's going to be a sequel, as there is enough hinted at the end of the book that it might be possible. Either way, I really enjoyed The Book of Kindly Deaths.
Definitely a 5/5 platypires. Recommended for those who enjoy YA literature with a little darker slant.
It was a thick volume with a worn and cracked black cover showing a gold symbol, a rectangle within two circles that sparkled and flickered as if teased by ghostly fingers. Voices whispered from inside the book, growing in volume, a few human, a few not. As their distant howls and cries grew, the book rocked with such force that it flew into the air and hovered.
When it thumped back onto the desk, the thick fountain pen next to it leapt into the air like a small brass salmon. As it clattered down upon the desk, a spark shot from the pen’s nib, playing over the book and sending its pages flying open.
One by one, the pages flipped, faster and faster, an animated blur of neat blue writing seeming to jump with the book as its dusty pages turned.
Beyond the room with the book and the stained glass window, the room that had no business being there, the dark, sprawling house was silent.
Like a cat, tensed and still and waiting for its prey to make a move.
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About the Author
When he isn’t writing, Eldritch likes to collect shadows and discarded dreams.
His first novel “The Book of Kindly Deaths” was published by Spencer Hill Press and will be released on the 16th September 2014. You can find out more about this ghastly tale of dark bookish adventures here.
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