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Posted July 4, 2011
A Unique Tale By a Fresh Voice in Horror
If a Filipino Vampire terrorizing a young girl with lots of action, snappy dialogue and fast pacing are your cup of tea, then this book is for you.
When we first meet Sasha, she's 12 years old and not a happy camper. Her mother is of the strict variety, strict enough when she metes out punishment, she ties Sasha to the television antenna on top of their house, to spend the night and contemplate her sins.
During one of these punishments, an Aswang, (pronounced Us-wong) or Filipino Vampire for those not familiar with the term, shows up and snatches Sasha. It's up to Sasha to free herself and find her way back home.
An Aswang is pretty disturbing as vampires go - they appear perfectly normal during the daylight hours, but come nightfall, they detach their legs from their bodies and fly around, intestines breezing in the wind. Yuck. They'll attack just about anyone, but their preference is for children.
I don't want to tell much more about the story, because it will involve major spoilers. I will say we have a fine voice in Raymund Hensley's story telling. He sites Clive Barker as an influence and I could definitely detect that flavor in this story.
Aimed at the 14-21 year old crowd, it's good.
Sasha's voice is that of a street savvy 12 year old, one who isn't scared to get her hands dirty if the job calls for it. I liked her and admired her take no crap attitude. She is smart - something horror novels often overlook in the make up of their characters.
Her mother is, well...awful and is painted as a true harpy.
The action and dialogue marry together well, even when we are definitely not in Kansas anymore Dorothy.
Make no mistake, there are some over the top gore scenes, but that was part of the fun of reading this story - As our narrator, Sasha makes no apology for giving it to you straight.
The book is short, technically considered a novella, weighing in at 44 pages (this count includes listings of Hensley's previous works), but don't let only 41 pages fool you - this is a solid read.
I want to see Mr Hensley go balls out (yes, I said "balls out") and give us a longer ride on the roller coaster the next time. I don't think it will matter if he aims for the YA market or adult - he's got the chops to succeed at both.
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Posted May 24, 2011
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