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The Darkening Dream

The Darkening Dream

4.4 30
by Andy Gavin
"Wonderfully twisted sense of humor" and "A vampire novel with actual bite"
- Kirkus Reviews

Even as the modern world pushes the supernatural aside in favor of science and steel, the old ways remain. God, demon, monster, and sorcerer alike plot to regain what was theirs in Andy Gavin's chilling debut, The Darkening Dream.

1913, Salem,


"Wonderfully twisted sense of humor" and "A vampire novel with actual bite"
- Kirkus Reviews

Even as the modern world pushes the supernatural aside in favor of science and steel, the old ways remain. God, demon, monster, and sorcerer alike plot to regain what was theirs in Andy Gavin's chilling debut, The Darkening Dream.

1913, Salem, Massachusetts - Sarah Engelmann's life is full of friends, books, and avoiding the pressure to choose a husband, until an ominous vision and the haunting call of an otherworldly trumpet shake her. When she stumbles across a gruesome corpse, she fears that her vision was more of a premonition. And when she sees the murdered boy moving through the crowd at an amusement park, Sarah is thrust into a dark battle she does not understand.

With the help of Alex, a Greek immigrant who knows a startling amount about the undead, Sarah sets out to uncover the truth. Their quest takes them to the factory mills of Salem, on a midnight boat ride to spy on an eerie coastal lair, and back, unexpectedly, to their own homes. What can Alex's elderly, vampire-hunting grandfather and Sarah's own rabbi father tell them? And what do Sarah's continuing visions reveal?

No less than Gabriel's Trumpet, the tool that will announce the End of Days, is at stake, and the forces that have banded to recover it include a 900 year-old vampire, a trio of disgruntled Egyptian gods, and a demon-loving Puritan minister. At the center of this swirling cast is Sarah, who must fight a millennia-old battle against unspeakable forces, knowing the ultimate prize might be herself.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This horror novel by the creator of the video-game series Crash Bandicoot is a gorgeously creepy, strangely humorous, and sincerely terrifying tale of clever teens trying to rid the world of ancient monstrosities. In Salem, Mass., in 1913, Sarah Engelmann and Alex Palaogos bond over scholarly pursuits while trying to ignore their awkward mutual attraction. But Sarah's strange dreams, the pair's discovery of the mangled and then reanimated body of a local boy, and the bizarre amnesiac illness that afflicts one of their friends pull them—with grudging support from Sarah's father, a powerful Jewish magician, and Alex's grandfather, an elderly vampire hunter—into a battle with centuries-old vampires and Egyptian gods who seek the lost horn of the Archangel Gabriel. Gavin's prose has both beautifully dark and startlingly scary moments, and his characters and their behaviors are refreshingly authentic for the genre: young people who are impulsive and full of bravado; older magicians who are slow to act, but protect their children; and vampires, who though undone by ambition, old enmities, and greed, act like people who have the perspective of centuries of (un)living.
Kirkus Reviews - Perry Crowe
A mash-up of Greco-Roman mythology, Judeo-Christian imagery and the occult, making it a fresh take on the overdone vampire genre. Gavin�s writing also hints at a wonderfully twisted sense of humor, notable in one early scene with the beheading of a vampire that quickly turns comical as the young protagonists add �vampire killing� to the already stressful load of puberty. The action throughout is fast-paced and compelling.

A vampire novel with actual bite.
Kirkus Reviews
Vampires run rampant in Gavin's debut supernatural thriller. Teenager Sarah Englemann finds her life in 1913 Salem, Mass., turned upside down with the murder of a classmate—and his reappearance as a feral vampire. Drawn into an underworld of the occult, Sarah, with the help of her friends and a new classmate (a mysterious Greek named Alexandros Palaogos), must confront the forces of darkness in their town. These forces include Parris, a local pastor who is secretly a warlock, and an ancient, mysterious demon named Al-Nasir—together they search for Gabriel's Horn, an instrument designed to bring about the end of the world. The teenagers struggle to stop their enemies in time, and they try to understand Sarah's mysterious connection to Gabriel's Horn. Before Sarah's battle against the forces of darkness is over, there will be blood spilled, questions asked over who can actually be trusted, trips taken to other dimensions and all will be touched by tragedy. Gavin struggles early in the book, relying on awkward analogies that distract from the narrative flow, and veers into unnecessary explanations of the story's events. But he finds his footing and these rough spots quickly even out as the author's prose becomes clear and he gleefully transforms a story of teenagers battling vampires into something much more. The story turns into a mash-up of Greco-Roman mythology, Judeo-Christian imagery and the occult, making it a fresh take on the overdone vampire genre. Gavin's writing also hints at a wonderfully twisted sense of humor, notable in one early scene with the beheading of a vampire that quickly turns comical as the young protagonists add "vampire killing" to the already stressful load of puberty. The action throughout is fast-paced and compelling, and the ending hits the right note, a brutal turn of events that strongly hints at a sequel—an enticing prospect. A vampire novel with actual bite.

Product Details

Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.87(d)
Age Range:
13 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

Andy Gavin is an unstoppable storyteller who studied for his Ph.D. at M.I.T. and founded video game developer Naughty Dog, Inc. at the age of fifteen, serving as co-president for two decades. There he created, produced, and directed over a dozen video games, including the award winning and best selling Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter franchises, selling over 40 million units worldwide. He sleeps little, reads novels and histories, watches media obsessively, travels, and of course, writes.

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The Darkening Dream 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
TurningThePagesBlog More than 1 year ago
The Darkening Dream was completely unlike any book that I've read before. At first I was really caught up in the summary of the novel which definitely catches the reader's attention as well as the stunningly dark and mysterious cover paired alongside it. The fact that I liked the book so much caught me completely off guard and I'm really glad I gave this debut novel by Andy Gavin a chance. The Darkening Dream brings together a fantastic mixture of fantasy, mythology, paranormal, historical fiction and the added bonus of a wee little bit of romance mixed in for good measure. At 382 pages this novel is on the longer side but I think that is a large part of what made it such a great read. The amount of detail that went into the writing of the novel is wonderful, usually I'm not one for books that are excessively detailed so I was glad to see that this novel was detailed in all the write places and I didn't feel bogged down by needless descriptions. The book centers around Sarah, Alex, Anne, Emily, Sam, some Egyptian gods, a 900 year old vampire and a Puritan minister who's in a sexual relationship with a succubus and of course the novel is set in the perfect place Salem during the beginning of the 20th century. I was very impressed with the plot of the novel, that fact that the author drew on so many genres, created realistic characters and the fact that the novel was written in such a way that there was always another plot twist every few pages that kept me on my toes. Plus the book was told in shifting perspectives so I really got a feel for all the other characters not just Sarah which was awesome. The fact that the book always had me guessing, and wanting to read late into the night which I did the other night staying up past 4 a.m. because I had to see what happened next really had me hooked. I thought the author did a fantastic job in telling the story and the plot was outstanding and I can't help but wish that this book were turned into a series because when I finished it all I wanted to do was return to the characters and their mysterious adventure. Overall, this was a fantastic debut. It is completely and utterly unique in both the caliber of the writing as well as the plot. I think this would appeal to a wide variety of readers who like fantasy novels and paranormal novels. While the book has been shelved many times as young adult on Goodreads there are certain themes in it that are probably better suited to older teens 17+. This is one novel that I think I'll have to purchase in paperback and one that I highly recommend giving a try. I for one hope the author continues in his writing career because I for one can't wait to read more of his work and I know for a fact that Mr. Turning the Pages will love this one as soon as he can get his hands on my Kindle long enough to read it. * I received a free copy of this book for review purposes. I was not compensated in anyway to give a positive review and all thoughts and opinions herein are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book its so freaking good!
wecos More than 1 year ago
I really loved this book.  It was written very well and was a completely different take on the whole vampire thing.  Excellent and I look forward to more from this author.
CC_Graziano More than 1 year ago
A review copy was provided for an honest review. The Darkening Dream is as every bit intriguing as it sounds. It's a very dark read that may not sit right with everyone but for those who are into the horror genre may just love it. While some parts were difficult to stomach I found the entire story wholly compelling. It's the farthest thing from your typical vampire novel as it incorporates Egyptian Gods, witchcraft, warlocks, dark magic, and so much more. Though labeled as YA I certainly wouldn't recommend it for anyone under the ages of 16, it has a lot of sexual content and some perverse scenes not suitable for young readers by any means. The Darkening Dream is written very well and seamlessly weaves together many fantastically dark elements to create a unique spine-chillingly good novel. Though the time period is 1913 the characters are extremely relatable and fascinating. The lead heroine Sarah is very intelligent and brave which made me really like her character. Alex is an attractively mysterious Greek who moves to Salem and runs into Sarah and her friends one afternoon and from there they get thrown together into a terrifying adventure upon the discovery of vampires. I really enjoyed how well thought out and put together the story was; it's clear Andy Gavin knows his material and that was refreshing. The vampires and otherworldly creatures in this story aren't sexy, they aren't cordial, they're monstrous beings who'll rip you apart without a second thought about it. Every paranormal being in this book is evil and Sarah and her friends are determined to destroy them. Sarah Engelmann is a young Jewish woman who is juggling the idea of finding a husband and hanging out with her friends until she has a dark dream that predicts the death of someone she just met. It isn't until she's stumbling around the woods when her and her friends discover a corpse—the same corpse she'd seen in her dream. It seems purely coincidental until she attends an amusement park where she sees the victim wandering around in the crowd. Overall a satisfyingly dark read that will pull you along for a creepy and twisted ride. Andy Gavin's imagination really translates into this book as it is both unexpected and original. Fans of the horror genre will devour this novel because it's simply incredible. The ending will have you quickly turning the pages to finish and what you're left with is an unpredictable conclusion. Though my preference leans more towards less violent and gruesome works I can appreciate what this novel offers and I found it to be gripping and a really interesting take on a vampire story. I was surprised however by how much religion was a big part of the Darkening Dream but regardless that did not detract from the story or force beliefs upon readers as it was merely informative for the character's backgrounds and history. The only thing I found to be off-putting was the grotesque nature of some of the scenes and sometimes it's difficult to tell whose POV you're reading from because there are many characters introduced. Otherwise I'd highly recommend for those who like horror, don't mind gruesome violence, and enjoy fascinatingly unique plots.
Mallory_SupernaturalFan More than 1 year ago
Review of The Darkening Dream by Andy Gavin 5 stars “The Darkening Dream” is a far more complex book than I expected, and joyfully so. I raced through it, unable to put it aside till I’d finish, then ended it asking for a sequel! I truly hope there will be one. So many layers of different metaphysical possibilities and realities exist in this story that any reader of the paranormal of almost any stripe will find something to latch on to (except maybe werewolf lovers LOL). There are vampires, ancient entities, Judaism, Christianity, Archangels, Ceremonial Magick; characters who are purely evil (both in life and in death), those who are purely good, and of course, those who have tendencies to both good and evil and must constantly make the decision at any moment as to which path to trod. In Salem, Massachusetts, in 1913 (yes, Constant Readers, THAT Salem), life is fairly smooth but an immigration problem is developing: vampires from North Africa, Egypt, and Turkey. They’re all after one supremely holy object: the shofar or horn of the Archangel Gabriel, and information has directed them to Salem, to the home of a Jewish professor and former rabbi. They haven’t bargained on this man’s holy character, nor the strength of will of his daughter Sarah.  “The Darkening Dream” is a satisfying read on so many levels: metaphysical, Spiritual, magickal, personal, developing love, relationship, sibling strength and rivalry, and much, much more. Any reader who enjoys purely good fiction owes it to herself or himself to pick this one up and give it the time it deserves.
Bookworm_Babblings More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. I was immediately engrossed in this book! To begin with, I was surprised at the location of a vampire story. Salem, Massachusetts is known for witches and the Salem witch trials of the 1600s. Here we are once again in Salem, it’s now 1913 and has vampires, awesome! The vampires reminded me of that old vampire soap opera Dark Shadows, where they turn into bats and appear out of fog. I loved how this dark story had characters from multiple religious backgrounds join together to save Archangel Gabriel’s trumpet. This was a refreshing twist on the vampire genre, with a cast of interesting characters, action and adventure that will keep you wanting more.
Jesse_Kimmel-Freeman More than 1 year ago
Freaking awesome. I've read Andy's other book, Untimed and just like that one, he totally nailed it. This book is creepy and realistic! I mean, it is a TOTAL possibility! Well, if it was 1913 and religious idols materialized! But still! I love how Andy develops his characters. It allows the reader to really connect. This aren't just words on a piece of paper. No, you feel for each one, even the freaking horse! The world that Andy has created is full of surprise, mystery, and scary ass creatures! I mean, I'm a big vampire girl, but these ones are not the kind I'd like lurking anywhere. I think I've read more vampire books than any other topic (especially because vampires were the topic of my masters thesis), and Andy has created a special vampire. Spooky and just plain evil. The blending of legends is a great read too. Bravo, Andy! This is a great debut book! I highly recommend it for my vampire loving readers and those that like books that touch a darkness while trying to keep to the light.
dreamer2229 More than 1 year ago
I seriously couldn’t put this book down. I loved the cultural references and how that impacted the main characters and their interaction. When I was about the age of the characters in the story (ok a little younger) my best friend was Jewish and I found the culture fascinating. I still do, so I loved that the main character was Jewish and how that culture impacted her and her choices. I found all the characters to be well-rounded and believable. The story was rife with descriptive detail, yet you never felt that the author was spending time describing things. I just felt like I was in the story. I could picture everything. I give this story 5 out of 5 clouds and recommend it for everyone. I plan to let my kids read it since they enjoy the genre. It would be the perfect Christmas gift for your fantasy/vampire reading fan (and no I don’t get paid to say that). ¿ This product or book may been distributed for review; this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.
peacedanceCR More than 1 year ago
I liked the different ethnicity point of view in the story-Jewish, Greek, Christian. I started the story and by the time I looked up again to check where I was I was 57% through the book. A story that holds my attention that long, is a good story for me. The story takes place in 1913 Salem, Mass. with high school kids. I think liberties were taken with the time period but that didn't detract from the story. I also usually don't read YA aged books but that also didn't matter because the story was very good. This is not a YA story but a very good dark fantasy/horror story. I would put this author on my list to read more of his books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Krod . idi.rx
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great writing style. Ending makes me think there might be more to come. I'd buy it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought the book was really good. I loved all the characters and the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading some of the other reviews, I decided to give this one a try. I'm glad I did. Looking forward to reading future works by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Deal_Sharing_Aunt More than 1 year ago
I have to admit that I have played Crash and Jak before, and I liked them a lot. So when I read that this was from the same mind I was interested in reading it. It was a little on the long side for me, but that was only because it was so involved. By the end of the book I knew the characters and I didn't want the story to end. I mean this book has everything from Salem Witches to Archangels. There are Egyptian Gods and of course vampires. I liked this book a lot because I like mythology and I enjoyed all of the "magic" in the book as well. I also enjoyed watching the friendships grow between the group of friends and I liked that they looked out for each other. I was also surprised towards the end of the book, without giving it away, about the battle and how certain characters took certain sides. If you like vampires, then you will like this book! I am giving it a 4/5 because of its length!
eternalised More than 1 year ago
Let’s face it. Vampires are sissies, and have been for the last decade. Ever since the paranormal romance genre introduced us to the vampires in love with our heroes or heroines, vampires have been known as goody-two-shoes, true romantics at heart. We’ve forgotten the roots of these creatures. They’re not meant to fall in love or seduce our main characters. They’re meant to be terrifyingly scary, dark and dangerous, bloodthirsty murderers who maim and kill with a passion. No longer do good and evil overlapse in these creatures of the night. Instead, they’re delightfully evil, returned firmly to their roots in the deepest circles of hell. No sparkling vampires if you read The Darkening Dream, and to be honest, aren’t we all glad for that? Not only did I find the sheer evilness of the vampires – evil just for sake of being evil, in some cases – utterly refreshing from the tame vampire characters we’ve come to know, I also thought this book offered an intriguing view on ancient folklore, and an unique approach to Salem at the beginning of the twentieth century. The main character, Sarah, isn’t exactly what you’d be looking for in a main character. She doesn’t have the typical attributes we usually seek for in a heroine. The turn of the century is a difficult era for the inhabitants of Salem. On the one side, progress happens more rapidly than it did before. On the other hand, people are keen on holding on to the past they’ve come to know and love. Amidst this constant battle between progress and tradition, one of the most ancient monsters this world knows decides to make an appearance: an ancient vampire, with his mind deadset on destroying everyone who crosses his path. Sarah and her friends, twins Anne and Sam, become friends with Alex, a boy from Greece. Most of the book is written from Sarah’s POV, and other parts are from Alex’ POV. I liked Alex. He was different. Being a Greek immigrant now living in turn-of-the-century Salem, he had an unique look on things that I very much admired. I also liked his relationship with Sarah, and the growing attraction between them. The Darkening Dream obviously isn’t something thrown together quickly to come up with a story. This is a bulky novel, well-thought-through from start to end, with an impressive backstory and lore. It wraps together vampirisim, ancient Egypt Gods, a magical horn belonging to an Archangel, warlocks, witches and more. Evil is delightfully evil. The worldbuilding is superb. The author obviously did a lot of research before getting started on this book. It’s hard to classify this book. It’s YA, the main character is a young adult, but it’s not YA like we’ve come to known. It’s unique, even in this approach. The main characters don’t always act like young adults, and this book has such outstanding source material I have no doubt it could be enjoyed by young adults and adults alike. It’s too large to fit in one age category, just like you can’t easily fit it in one genre. The only reason I didn’t give this book a five-star rating is that, at times, I found the narrative dragged a bit. I had trouble with some of the descriptions, and at first, I had trouble getting into the story. As soon as I delved further into the book, this changed though. It’s hard to get through the start, but this book gradually gets better, so don’t give up right away. If you’re a fan of vampires or paranormal romance in general, try out The Darkening Dream. It’s new, refreshing, a major improvement from the YA vampire novels currently out there. It’s very dark, and definitely lives up to its name. There’s romance, horror, suspense, mystery, drama, a historical setting, memorable characters and a big bad you’ll never forget. I hugely recommend this to all fans of paranormal novels or vampire novels.
livelife More than 1 year ago
The Darkening Dream is a finely tuned thrilling dark historical fantasy about vampires with a witty female lead and some surprising twists throughout. Andy Gavin uses a slew of supernatural aspects alongside a seemingly normal 1900s Salem, until dark forces are revealed, to mold an intelligent suspense. The characters in this book are not to be taken lightly. It's a deep and meaningful read filled with complex situations, backgrounds, and characters. Sarah begins living this nightmare of a tale alongside her close friends and discovers things about not only legends, but her family as well. As the storyline grows so does her involvement and realization of the world around her. People they thought they knew turn out to be less neighborly. I don't do horror, and not that I would classify this solely as a horror because I wouldn't, but there were some pretty frightening images throughout. Andy Gavin's writing is marvelous and thoroughly detailed. This dark fantasy definitely left me feeling for light switches in dark hallways. And the pieces to the puzzle fall into place nicely, especially as the story changes narrators, which I really enjoyed. Overall, it's a pretty unique read, filled with suspense and surprises. The use of multiple paranormal and religious aspects were refreshing additions to the story. It's a wonderful and detailed read, disturbing and seething at times, but this portrayal of vampires and demons is what I like to read about. It's how vampires were meant to be imagined, I think. And, I have to take a second to mention the breathe taking cover! I find it hard to stop staring at!
MyParaHangover More than 1 year ago
The Darkening Dream is the first period piece I've read since, like, High School English. I really didn't know much about this book so I had no expectations going into it. Sometimes, that makes a book more enjoyable, just letting it unfold for you. This was one of those books that I just opened (err, turned on), started reading and didn't want to put down because I was so enthralled by the world, the history lesson and the utter creepiness factor of the story. I got a kick out of getting into this world of 1913 Salem, Mass. A century ago was a completely different world and Mr. Gavin did a great job painting his picture of the U.S. back then. As a borderline OCD sufferer, I sometimes felt like breaking out the Wiki to fact check but I never did. Mr. Gavin's world was extremely believable and when it comes down to it, it's all fiction in the end. If you enjoy what you're reading, why question it!? Which leads to a big part of the story... Religion. If you don't like religion in your fantasy, UF or PNR books, you probably won't be a fan of this book. Similar in the way The Iron Druid Chronicles brings together all the religions to build one story (because as long as someone believes, that religion will exist), The Darkest Dream does the same thing. Heavy in the older religions, Kabbalah and Protestant are most prevalent. I don't mind religion in my books. It's history. And in the case of this story, I've actually studied Revelations from The Bible so I could relate to some of the story, as in, "HA! I know what they're talking about!" But if you like downright creep-tastic, hairy-scary stories, don't let the religious aspect of the story hold you back. It's only used as a mechanism to define good and evil. Oh, and the evil that exists in this book!! I don't recommend this book for anyone under 16 or 17 years of age. It's for a more mature YA audience. Some of the subject matter is a bit harsh (adult in nature) but is vague enough to let young adults read it. The reason why I didn't give this book a 5 heart review is because I ended up carrying a lot of questions throughout to the end of the story. And there were a ton of questions unanswered after I finished the book. I don't know if there will be a sequel but the ending both shocked and completely took me by surprise!! And how can you go wrong when this book is only 99cents from Amazon on June 25th through the 29th!!??
Bookshelf_Confessions More than 1 year ago
Cover: I’m more to covers with real models at the background, but, oh man, just look at that cover. Isn’t it gorgeous? I love the combination of colors and the added feel like it’s anime/manga..:) First, I’d like to talk about the characters. This book isn’t just about vampires but actually, a variety of powerful and terrifying creatures are mixed in the story. We have an elderly vampire, a demon-loving Puritan warlock, Egyptian gods, and many more. Plus a tale about angels/archangels. Oddly though, I love all the characters, good and bad. Each of them is unique, fresh and remarkable. Everyone of them had his own story to share, which makes the book really interesting. And there’s a vivid distinction of who’s the good guys and the bad. Another great thing about the book is how well the author writes. Andy Gavin wrote to connect the readers to his characters. From the moment I read the first word until the end, I was in Darkening Dream’s world. I feel the characters, I’m with their journey. The story was well-thought of that’s why the chapters flow naturally leaving the readers enough dread and suspense of what would happen next. Even until I finished it, I was still amazed at how good this was. Though not entirely unique, it’s like breathing fresh air, when reading about the vampires of this book. Forget about beautiful/kind vampires that girls fall in love, hello to vampires who are monsters and kill for blood. It still gave me goosebumps of what vampires could do and can’t do a long time ago. Old traditions which I thought had long forgotten came back in this book, like how a vampire can’t enter a home without invitation, vampires turning to bats, burning in the sun, etc. One thing though, the constant POV changes were a little bit distracting. There are times that I am so into one character’s POV, then it would change in the next chapter. I don’t get into some of it, but nevertheless I’m with the story. And except for the early 20th century vampire, I feel like I was in the modern world. I really hope there’s a sequel. For me, the story isn’t finished yet, a lot of things that are left unanswered and there are mysteries to uncover and monsters to conquer… and the twist at the end isn’t what I expected. Darkening dream is a dark vampire novel that was written with passion, that you feel the emotions, dread and excitement of the author while writing this. Packed with action, suspense, fangs and a little bit romance, this book would leave you both satisfied and wanting for more. Highly Recommended to vampire and paranormal fans out there!
avalonpriestess More than 1 year ago
This is a very dark story. A bit too dark and frightening for my tastes, but very well written. The vampires of Andy Gavin's stories aren't cute, funny, handsome, or happy. No Barnabas Collins or Twilight characters here- these vampires are dark, brooding and more like Stoker's vampire. A blood sucking unapologetic abomination. The story takes place in Salem, Ma...A city that invokes images of witches and witch hunts. Well, no witches now. It's the year 1913. I love the locale of this story. I live in New England and find I wish to revisit Salem each time I read a book that takes place there. This story is no exception. There is a strong religious undertone to this story. All religions, Judaism, Christianity, Greek Orthodox and Ancient Egyptian...a multitude of themes very skillfully weaved together. Two characters stand out in this novel. Sarah and Alex. Of course, they come from different religious/cultural upbringing. Sarah is Jewish and Alex is a Greek Orthodox. I think this book was a bit too gruesome for me...I'm not a fan of vampires, especially Stoker's kind, but I appreciate the talent and writing style of Mr. Gavin and his attention to detail. I give this book 4 stars.
FictionalCandy More than 1 year ago
When this novel is described as dark, its not kidding. I’m not sure what I was expecting from this author. Knowing his history, I think I expected something a bit less…serious. I’m not sure that “serious” is the world I am looking for, but its close. What I got was something scary and thorough. I’m also pretty sure this book was responsible for some less than savory dreams I had during the nights while reading . Sarah is a young girl, I think she was aged at about 16 or 17 years old if I am not mistaken. She lives in Salem at a time in the United States when the modern era was just starting to take hold, and yet everyone is still holding on to the past. She is friends with Sam and Anne, twins. And together they all befriend Alex, a boy from Greece. He is different from them, and they don’t even realize how much when they happen upon him one day while going on a picnic. That’s a day that will forever change the course of all of their lives. This story is mostly told from Sarah’s point of view, although there is quite a bit from Alex’s. I found them both to be intelligent teens, wise beyond their years and likeable as people. The rest of their friends really just paled in comparison. And as for the rest of the characters in this book? There were quite a bit of them, and oh-my-goodness they are a colorful bunch, and quite fascinating. Something good to remember about this book is that not everything is as it appears, because you will definitely be surprised by people here. No one is really what they seem, and the hidden parts are what truly made the story for me, as far as character development is concerned. Let’s move on to the vampire… This vampire is definitely not at all like the modern vampires we usually read about. Everything about him screams old-styled, horror, and fear. The guy is gruesome, and he doesn’t really hold himself to any moral standards. Some of the things he did throughout this story were a bit gut clenching and some were downright horrific. I didn’t like him at all as a “person”, I felt no affinity to him. He is definitely an evil presence and does not claim to be anything else. As a fictional character he was vibrant and strong, and something to definitely be afraid of. This story definitely had a lot of religious currents running through it, and many different religions at that. For my own tastes it was a bit much, but I can definitely see how it added to the story. There were a few parts that were a bit slow for me, and a few “false starts” as far as the action was concerned. But the web of all these peoples’ lives is certainly intricate, and I don’t think any of them could have avoided anything that happened to them. There is also several instances of violence, and it was gory. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend this book to young, or very sensitive readers. But it was written very well and kept my interest throughout. Overall I really enjoyed this story. Historical horror is a bit out of my normal reading, but I did like this. Once the secrets start coming out, you will absolutely be glued to the pages. I hope you give this book a try, if you like old-school paranormal and flat-out horror, you will definitely enjoy this.
WordVagabondReviews More than 1 year ago
(Review by Margaret Bishop for Word Vagabond) 1913, Salem, Massachusetts – Sarah Engelmann’s life is as normal as can be until a picnic with friends uncovers a grisly murder. Together, they work to unravel the mystery behind a boy’s death and it takes a turn for the strange because the boy does not stay buried. He comes back as a vampire. This is just the start of a rollercoaster ride into the supernatural realm, with vampires, demons, black magic, and a trio of Egyptian gods all working toward one thing: an ancient relic that will start the End of Days. The challenge for Sarah is to balance her growing attraction for Alex – a boy who knows entirely too much about vampires outside of the Stoker novel – and what needs to be done to save the lives of not just her friends and family, but everyone in the world. Andy Gavin’s prose is both the star and downfall of this book. On the one hand, it’s tight and lyrical, moves swiftly through a rich narrative that deftly combines supernatural elements that really should not work together. It’s unflinching with regard to violence and sexuality, the fantasy aspects are introduced gradually to feel organic, and the characters are all quite likeable, right down to the villains. On the other, the characters aren’t distinctive enough to support the constant shifts of perspective every chapter – the result is jarring, confusing, and so much time is spent dancing around between characters in an effort to establish the cast that the book’s first act feels tedious. It also renders the two main characters of Sarah and Alex quite bland as they have the same feelings for each other, described in much the same way. It’s a pity, because their romance is delightfully bittersweet; Sarah is Jewish, Alex is an Orthodox Greek, their families would never really approve of a union, so any affection she has with Alex must be shared in secret when their lives aren’t in immediate danger. And then there’s the ending. To avoid spoilers, let me just say that it seems unresolved despite all the foreshadowing. It makes more sense if this is the first book in a series, otherwise it’s a strange and unsatisfying conclusion. A good place to stop reading is the end of chapter 64, or 68 if you’re feeling masochistic. Even with its issues, there are no words that I can use to adequately describe just how gloriously insane this book is. The summary in this review is just the bare bones; the actual story is just so out and keeps snowballing, it’s compelling to read on to see just how weird it can get. While the book is aimed at a YA audience, adults will also get a kick out of a truly original story with a new take on familiar legends.