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Thursday, April 4, 2013

REVIEW: Blackbrooke by Emma Silver


This is review is taken from my goodreads.com review. I had a few booktours scheduled and wanted to give those authors their full due, so I scheduled this one to hit in between them. :)

Blackbrooke, Part I of the trilogy
by Emma Silver
Length: 404 pages
Crooked Cat Publishing Ltd.
Editions: Paperback or Kindle

Purchase Link: Amazon.com

Review:

Review to come. I'm a bit upset atm. Will come back to review tonight.
******
4.75 stars; I'm taking away a quarter star because dammit cliffhanger, now have to wait for the rest of the trilogy. DAMMIT.

I am kidding. 5 full stars because dammit this was...just wow. I've been thinking about it all night.

First the disclosure - I received this book from the author/publisher after seeing an offer for it. All they asked was that I review it when I'm finished, completely and honestly.

As you can see above, I finished this book earlier tonight. I've had it for over a month, sitting in my kindle, but hadn't gotten a chance to read it yet. I am mentally kicking myself for not having read it earlier.

I wasn't expecting it to be so...thorough and gruesome (not gory, but rather the ACQUIESCENCE...ARGH) and edge-of-the-seat-don't-talk-to-me-I'm-reading. Other horror books I've read have been scary, but they fizzle in the gore. Ms. Silver keeps the suspense up throughout, fully grasping my attention, inciting that little flare of anger when real life interrupts me from my reading.

Blackbrooke, indeed, is like that movie The Village in that it is a sequestered little town surrounded by creepy, dark woods which house horrifying creatures. Blackbrooke citizens live by rules. Emma Silver opens the novel with the rules. There are 10 basic rules that all children learn.

1. No one is permitted outdoors after sunset.
2. All blinds must be shut at nightfall, and not opened until the morning klaxon is heard.
3. Triple glazing is required in all rooms.
4. No one should be invited into your home that you do not know.
5. When outdoors, children should be supervised at all times.
6. Dark woodland areas are strictly out of bounds.
7. Long hair must be worn in a tight bun at all times.
8. Young people are not permitted to fornicate until they have been sworn in all of the Rules at age 18.
9. Visitors to Blackbrooke must apply for a Vistor Pass and check in at the town border and check out upon exit.
10. Any Blackbrooke residents wishing to leave cannot, under any circumstances, return.

And after these 10 imposing rules, there are more they will discover at their swearing in day. And that's how the novel begins...

I was nervous for Liberty in the flashback to when she was a little girl playing hide and go seek with her best friend, Cassius, hiding on the very edge of the woods. I gasped as she came face to face with a Crit, a Hunter. My brow furrowed in confusion as she wasn't harmed. And the ups and downs of this book began.

Liberty, Gemma, Noah, and Gabriel are a tight group of friends, all 17, nearly 18. They've paired off into couples despite the Rules, although Liberty adheres to #8, the fear of breaking the Rules ingrained in her deeply. Her boyfriend, Gabriel, is understanding of this. They talk of their future, of leaving Blackbrooke and of seeing the world together. Gemma & Noah dream of the same, talking about their future, their marriage, and hope.

And then the first assembly is called (first for us readers, anyway); a classmate, Cassius's good friend Xiang Li, has "walked out." They don't call it suicide in Blackbrooke; it's just "walking out." After dark, when you are supposed to be behind locked doors, people just "walk out." Yeah, that's creepy. There's sadness, but this horrifying kind of acceptance about it, too.

It is SO hard to write this review without giving anything away. I think I must leave it at this: the book is a pageturner, bite your nails, shut up and let me read page turner. The suspense is wonderful, the horror top notch, the gore - well, it's really gross but there isn't an overabundance of it. There are moments of tenderness that just hit you. Moments of pure heartbreak. Just the right, perfect mix of everything.

And the ending...holy shiitake the ending. Gabriel may be hot, but I'm totally on Team Cassius.

This is Emma Silver's debut novel and part one of a trilogy? Ms. Silver...please, write faster. FASTER. I need to follow this to the end!

P.S. If you're on goodreads and read my status update at 74%? Yeah, I totally did.