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The Dead of Winter

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  • Posted May 5, 2012

    Good Middle Grade or younger teen ghost story I could not help b

    Good Middle Grade or younger teen ghost story
    I could not help but think of The Woman in Black the whole time reading this and finding comparisons. Mostly because The Woman in Black recently came out on film and because there are a lot of similarities. But this book was written for a younger crowed, more 12-15 years of age.

    Characters: I liked all of the characters in this novel. I thought that Michael was very brave and that the lawyer was above and beyond nice by taking him into his home. Michael is not afraid to ask questions and as most people are, very curious about the mysterious things and people he begins to see.

    Originality: There was not much that was particularly original about the story, But the main ideas that it is a young man solving the mystery and that he seems to have more guts than the adults do around him was a nice change of pace. Michael was everything a reader looks for in a good main character for a mystery setting. He asks the right questions at the right time and determined to find an answer.

    Plot: Michael's life is thrown upside down when his mother dies and leaves him orphaned. He is told at the funeral that he will now be living with Sir Stephen Clarendon and moved to his country estate. Upon arrival he begins to hear the whisperings of the help and staff of the haunting and rumors and stories of suicide. And then it's not long before he starts seeing them himself, through the windows and the mirrors and decides that he wants answers to this mystery.

    Writing: Set in Victorian England this story has a Gothic overtone along with the suspenseful mystery of the plot. Although the poltergeist is meant to be more of a lean towards a horror novel, beyond being creepy I do not believe it will cause any nightmares, even for younger readers. It is a shorter book that can easily be read in a day or two and ideas that are geared towards younger readers.

    Rating: I have never read anything by this author before. I think that the writing is more for the younger readers and tweens. The scare factor of the story can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Although I never lost any sleep over it, I did have moments where the hair on the back of my neck stood up. For younger readers I would rate this story 4 stars. The concepts and writing are easy to follow and the shortness of the book still falls into the novel range, but engaging enough that reluctant readers will keep reading. For teen readers or older this story may seem a little simplistic, the plot can be easily followed but it really made for a great weekend read for me. I think that readers would also enjoy reading The Poisoned House. Same Gothic feeling, with a female main character and a great ghost story as well.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 15, 2012

    Chris Priestley is definitely a young reader¿s Stephen King

    Angels and statues that have been colored green by time surround Michael when the reader is introduced to this young man who has lost his mother. Standing at the funeral, Michael has no idea what he’s going to do next. What he doesn’t expect is a man to come out of the mist to let Michael know that he has now become the ward of a stranger by the name of Sir Stephen Clarendon.
    Sir Stephen has been sending money ever since Michael’s father sacrificed himself so that Stephen could live and Michael soon finds himself traveling to a place called Hawton Mere, a castle owned by this stranger. Upon approach, Michael is faced with the pale, ghostly figure of a woman who begs him for help.
    Inside the castle, he’s meets people who have very strange issues. They all seem rather nervous, and it feels as if Michael is suddenly caught up in some horror film. Sir Stephen is a gangly man who looks as if he’s about to fall into the first grave he sees. Along with him comes a rambunctious wolfhound and a sister named Charlotte has an air of evil. The only ones who seem sane are the ‘help’ of the house who whisper stories about happenings that occurred in Hawton Mere throughout history. Anger, cruelty, and hatred enclosed in the mansion have made Sir Stephen insane. He sees things, hears things, and his wife committed suicide.
    Funnily enough, it takes a boy seeing and hearing these things to get people to listen to the Lord of the Manor, and Michael is soon embroiled in not only a paranormal, ghostly world, but in the discovery of murder and solving this deadly crime.
    Stories aimed at the pre-teen market have been missing for some time, and readers are truly excited about the fact that they have found their niche once again and writers are creating phenomenal stories, such as this one, to invigorate young readers. A chilly, spooky, goose bump thrill ride, Chris Priestley is definitely a young reader’s Stephen King.
    Reviewed by Amy Lignor, author of “Tallent & Lowery - 13” for Suspense Magazine

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2012

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