Publishing Date: June 2015
Publisher Description: Carolyn’s not so different from the other human beings around her. She’s sure of it. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. She even remembers what clothes are for.
After all, she was a normal American herself, once. That was a long time ago, of course–before the time she calls “adoption day,” when she and a dozen other children found themselves being raised by a man they learned to call Father. Father could do strange things. He could call light from darkness. Sometimes he raised the dead. And when he was disobeyed, the consequences were terrible.
Review: This story line was very familiar. Like I had read the very same story but with a different cast of characters and some scene/event changes. As I read through the story it became evident, whether by planned direction or lucky circumstance, that this story parallels Otfried Preußler‘s, “Krabat“. It goes something like this: Group of abducted children learning the dark arts under a terrible Father/Master in a remote wooded farm area with terrible events transpiring should they deviate from the Masters plan. This version seeks to modernize the story-line from the darker European version written in 1971. Now whether this is an intentional exercise or an original development I cannot really say, although the parallels are too similar to disregard. The main deviation from Krabat is that the children/teens battle for control over the subsequent power vacuum that ensues after the Fathers mysterious departure. A fantasy version of “Lord of the Flies”.
This was a fantastically bizarre novel. To wit it was “trippin’ balls”. Carolyn as a main character is spot on. She manifests this eerie attraction for the reader by being at once demure and unsettling. As each character is given dominion over a certain area of expertise, Carolyn uses her skills to gain knowledge from other disciplines/abilities. What ensues are inner battles that manifest on the material plane and end in the death of her cohorts. Or are they dead?
This lost a star due to the overuse of words (phrasing) to expedite scene development. Only one other novel that I have reviewed exceeded the overuse of the word “Actually”. This one comes in at a staggering 83x. With the novel “Equinox” that earned a DNF for using “Actually” 117x, I resisted the urge to give this work a DNF and I am glad I did. Despite the word bludgeoning the novel gains a lot of ground with good writing, good character development and an interesting story-line. While the plot feels like it has been done before, I still enjoyed the change of scenery.
A sometimes funny, witty and poignant novel that hints at the depths of wickedness in children when they roam uncharted emotional pathways with only themselves and an evil man to guide them. Or is he evil?