Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{September 16, 2012}   {ARC Review} Something Red by Douglas Nicholas

From Goodreads: From debut author Douglas Nicholas comes a haunting story of love, murder, and sorcery. During the thirteenth century in northwest England, in one of the coldest winters in living memory, a formidable yet charming Irish healer, Molly, and the troupe she leads are driving their three wagons, hoping to cross the Pennine Mountains before the heavy snows set in. Molly, her lover Jack, granddaughter Nemain, and young apprentice Hob become aware that they are being stalked by something terrible. The refuge they seek in a monastery, then an inn, and finally a Norman castle proves to be an illusion. As danger continues to rise, it becomes clear that the creature must be faced and defeated—or else they will all surely die. It is then that Hob discovers how much more there is to his adopted family than he had realized.

An intoxicating blend of fantasy and mythology, Something Red presents an enchanting world full of mysterious and fascinating characters— shapeshifters, sorceresses, warrior monks, and knights—where no one is safe from the terrible being that lurks in the darkness. In this extraordinary, fantastical world, nothing is as it seems, and the journey for survival is as magical as it is perilous.


This novel was really not for me.  I think it’s more for those who like Tolkien’s style of writing, very descriptive and a bit slow paced, fueling the story with few events and much journeying along dangerous mountains.  To be quite honest, I was bored throughout most of this novel, dying to get to the shape shifters and sorcerers.  While warrior monks and knights are okay, they didn’t really do anything for the story, in my opinion, aside from creating a pit stop for the main entourage as they traveled through the mountains in the bitter cold.  The synopsis makes the reader think that the novel will surround the pursuing monster, but I really didn’t feel like the characters were threatened along their epically long journey, nor was I all that interested in their trek.  There just weren’t enough events to keep me grounded as I read, and again, I felt there was way too much description.  In some cases, less is more, and while I liked the characters enough, I would have liked much less traveling and discussing of their clothes, their sex lives, and their observations and much more action.

Yes, Nicholas does have the characters continually stumble upon gruesome scenes of murder, but as they just stumbled upon it and nothing ever seemed to happen to them, I didn’t find the read all that interesting.  I need a much faster paced read, which Nicholas delivers in the end, once the evil that has been chasing our four main characters finally reveals itself. Had the novel been like the end is, fast paced, gruesome, and extremely riveting, I think I would have liked this story much, much more, but as is, I can’t say I enjoyed it all that much.  One and a half stars.

Simon & Schuster, Inc., along with Atria Books have been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on September 18, 2012.

stilettostorytime says:

Thanks for your honesty….I had been wanting to read this one. The cover is really eye-catching and the description drew me in a bit too. I like Tolkein and I still want to read the book but I am glad I know how you felt. I have a 50 page rule…if you don’t have me by then…I usually go on to another book!

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