The Telling by Alexandra Sirowy
Welcome to the second book on Spooky Saturday, and was moderately spooky. It definitely made me second guess what I was going to see if I peered out the window at night, but definitely wasn’t enough to have me cowering in the corner. A great horror novel, though! This is definitely second spookiest out of the three for this wonderful Spooky Saturday!
“He’s all mad steps and sharp pivots.”
I think if you replaced the pronoun in this quote from the book, and instead, just put The Telling, I think it would describe it perfectly. This book honestly is all mad steps and sharp pivots, and I loved every second of it.
I will admit after reading Alexandra Sirowy’s first book, The Creeping earlier this summer and not completely loving it, I was a bit afraid I wasn’t going to love this book as much as I first anticipated. However, I was pleasantly surprised because this book lived up to its high expectations I had placed on it based on its haunting and beautiful summary – who doesn’t want to read about gruesome fairytale stories being reenacted with your dead brother being the only other person to know it?
Well, I mean, possibly a few people, but eh.
The story first introduces us to Lana, a girl who is grieving the lost of her brother who was most likely killed in front of her on a deserted road in the middle of the night with a man with nothing but a red face – a story that was completely out of her stepbrother’s dark and gruesome stories that he used to tell her as a kid. It’s a few months later, and Lana is just now starting to feel like herself again – hanging out with the cool kids, worrying about kissing her ultimate crush, until, well, new murders start happening just like in the stories her brother used to tell her. What does Lana have to do with it? And is just who is next?
The storyline and concept was original and haunting, and yes, I do agree that perhaps Ben’s stories could have been incorporated a bit more. However, when they were added, I was impressed with the creativity and imagination that Sirowy used to come up with these frightening tales. At certain points, I thought I had it all figured out, but the author managed some amazing feats and would pull out a plot twist that had me confused on what was real or not and if I would ever guess the true killer. Yeah, I didn’t by the end, but I did predict the third murder victim, so yay for that? Sherlock Holmes would be so…disappointed.
Sirowy also greatly finessed her writing style from her first book. She has a lyrical, haunting quality to her prose, and I found myself constantly rereading a few lines because I thought they we beautiful. I loved the one I opened this review with and also, “I am a bursting heart and an unbound smile.” I don’t know what that even means, but I loved it. There were also a bunch of also lyrical lines that the quote lover in me was devouring.
The characters were also quite interesting and while I didn’t always love them at times, I still felt a certain realness to them. They were all jagged edges, and it gave them all an interesting dimension to their character. And I will admit, for a while, I did ask if this was the Ben show instead of the Lana one, but I did understand for certain reasons. I felt that Lana herself was a great narrator since she really grew and changed and this dynamicness felt so believable to me. Some of the other characters could have been defined a bit more, but the definition on the main ones kind of made up for the others being hazy figures.
Ben has a thing for heroes and villains, and while I may not have fully gotten behind the reveal of this villain, I thought it was a crazy ending to a crazy story. I truly couldn’t wait to be off this ride only to know who was behind it. I will definitely be on the lookout for Sirowy’s future novels. This book is definitely a contender for favorite possibly and I definitely recommend for anyone looking for a novel filled with flesh and blood and murder as Sirowy would say.
“The good and bad are indistinguishable in the dark.”
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