Author: Steven B. Williams
Publisher: Lethe Press
Cover Artist: Eran Fowler
Rating: 3.75 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 10/27/2016
Length: Long Novel (~ 100K+)
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal
The Yorkshire city of Willingsley is full of straight-shooting, gobby northern folk going about their day to day lives, with their love affairs, their health problems and all of life’s other nonsense grinding on day after day. And then, suddenly, monsters come to town and people start dying. At the center of it all is Eric Mayfair, a twenty-something who a year ago was facing imminent heart failure. Fatal. Terminal. That’s what the doctors said. And then, miraculously, Eric got better. He doesn’t know how. No one does. All he knows is he has a new heart, a great black leach of a thing embedded in his chest that no one else seems to see. Then someone close to Eric is murdered and, in his search for answers, Eric uncovers an unseen world of monsters, dark powers and deadly secrets.
I struggled to rate this title because, on one hand, it was creative, scary and engaging…and on the other, it sorely lacked proper world-building, and the plot ran out of steam at the ¾ mark. I finished reading because it was quite long and I had already put so much time in, but in terms of story there’s a lot of…nothing…happening after a certain point.
From a technical perspective, though, Mr. Williams is not without skill. The setting and culture of Heartsnare are fantastically British; I felt transported, and I’m American. I found that many of the characters got better as they went along – which was a comfort, since the horror/gore factor also increased exponentially. Eric’s mother, Jhardine, was developed particularly well.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the various terms the author used to (only somewhat) describe the unending stream of supernatural events which occurred. Monsters and evil and magic are all fine and good, but if I can’t understand the context, what’s the point? It doesn’t matter how many times you say “This Thing attacked That Thing because Bad Person told them to for Vague Ancient Reason” if none of those words hold meaning within your narrative. A fair amount of exposition would definitely have increased my enjoyment of this book.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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