Monday, May 20, 2013

The Darkling, R. B. Chesterton


Blurb-----  When the Henderson family takes in a mysterious teenager, they are happy to have a new addition to the family, but it soon becomes clear that Annie is no regular orphan . . .
In the 1940s, Coden, Alabama was a hideaway for movie stars—an isolated playground tucked among live oaks and placid bay waters where pleasure and vice could be indulged. By the summer of 1974 Coden's glamour has faded, but it doesn't bother Mimi Bosarge, who is just happy to have a job as a live-in tutor with the wealthiest family in town, the Hendersons. When the Hendersons generously open their arms to Annie, a troubled teenager with no recollection of her past, Mimi's greatest concern is creating a curriculum for the family's new ward.

But it soon becomes obvious that something is wrong. Annie seems suspiciously savvy for her young age, and Mimi can't quell the unnerving sense that there is something malicious about the waiflike beauty.

Okay, I don't know where to start so this is probably gonna be a messy review for now until I work out what I really need to say.

So, first thing I feel has to be said even though it isn't actually anything to do with anything, is the price. This is stupid expensive £14/$22 for kindle. I know this isn't about content, this is going to hugely impact on opinion when recommending it. If this was much cheaper I would be saying it is worth getting.
As it is I am not going to tell anyone to buy it unless they're a millionaire.
If this hadn't been from NetGalley there is no way on earth I would have read this.

Anyway....onto the review!

Mimi is a live-in tutor for the Henderson's. Annie, an orphan (Orphan Annie, where did this amazing idea come from?) is taken in by the Henderson's and things quickly become strange around the estate. Freak accidents, birds dying in strange ways, Margo- the eldest daughter goes missing and Mimi is the only person who believes there is a connection to Annie and the bizarre goings on. And what about the strange girl who some of them keep seeing in the garden? The giggling and whispering? And what is true history of the estate?

It's a slow burner. Slowwww burnerrr. One thing I did like though was how -I don't know the word- contained it felt, contained to the house and the characters. This was their world and they were so cut off, this really come across wonderfully and added so much to the tone of the book. The writing was great apart from being faaaaar to liberal with the comma (which drove me crazy) there wasn't much wrong with it at all.

The thing that tends to happen when you read a mystery though is you break it down into pieces. Making it incredibly predictable.
You know the parts people are going to play; The person who knows the truth, The guilty character who will never be suspected, the innocent victims, The people trying to stop the truth being revealed. I could give more but it would be a spoiler.
So the characters start to feel less like a character and more like an ingredient. And then from that you can predict the path the book is going to take. It turns out I was right about nearly everything hence why I was soooo pissed off by the end of the book.

Mimi is 21 but really if you hadn't been told you would think she was about 40 or 50. It's set in the 70's but I think it could have benefited from being set earlier.
The scary bits did actually scare me, even though they were all basically the same thing and it was some of the more surreal-y creature-y kinda creepy which usually doesn't do it for me at all, but the spookiness was the best part for me.

It bugged me that one of the kids kept seeing and hearing the same creature as Mimi, Mimi didn't want to tell the family because she didn't want to look insane. Yet she also didn't want the child to say anything because the family couldn't handle that on top of Margo going missing?!?! WTF? Why? So Mimi thinks the family is in danger and the creature is responsible......but won't say anything or let anyone else say anything either's to much to handle? Or what? I don't get it.

Also, out of nowhere the creature is labelled a Nestor. She literally goes "I know what it is, I can name it now." Maybe I don't know much about creatures and stuff but it just seemed to be suddenly decided. It made sense but it just felt wishy-washy.
Gonna do the ending in a plot spoiler because good lord it made me wake my man up and go I TOLD YOU AT 26%!!!! DIDN'T I!!!?!?!?!?!

It's just gonna be a big rambly paragraph spoiling everything okay? There's your warning. Once the yellow has finished so have the spoilers

 Mimi and Annie are sisters. Dun dun duuuuuum. It's so obvious, if I can guess it at 26% that's not a good sign. And the house has an awful history with all kinds of killings. Turns out Annie and Mimi are descendents of this evil woman who owned the house before the Henderson's and Annie is carrying this evil. I just....I don't even know what to say, Annie runs away at the end never to be found again. Until a new family move in 40 years later then she is seen again on the edge of the estate. Mimi knows Annie is going to do the same thing again (Kill the family). She considered burning the house down to stop it all but she couldn't bring herself to do it. I..... Whyyyyy????? Moralistic Mimi is just gonna go work for this new family again and what? try and stop Annie...and fail again. I dunno, I may re-read the ending and see if I get less pissed off by it. 


There's other stuff that happens too but that's the general gist. It's revealed slowly and stuff but because you kinda know where it was going it just annoyed me. It wasn't the slow unravel I like. It was like drip feeding confirmation that made my eyes roll like 'yep yep, I knew that.'

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