Sunday 30 April 2017

Book Review: The Loney; Andrew Michael Hurley.

After reading so much YA as of late, and having fallen into a bit of a book slump, I really felt that something a bit different might help. 'The Loney' appealed to me not only because it has won the Costa Book Award (I've read a number of their winning titles and really enjoyed them all) but also because it gave me SUCH 'The Woman In Black' vibes and I fancy a good atmospheric horror story.

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: The Loney
AUTHOR: Andrew Michael Hurley
John Murray Publishers
PAGES: 360
GENRE: Horror, Adult, Mystery, Gothic

RATING: 3.5/5 Stars

Two brothers. One mute, the other his life long protector.

Year after year, their family visits the same sacred shrine on a desolate strip of coastline known as the Loney, in desperate hope of a cure.

In the long hours of waiting, the boys are left alone. They cannot resist the causeway revealed with every turn of the treacherous tide, the old house they glimpse at its end...

Many years on, Hanny is a grown man no longer in need of his brother's care.

But then the child's body is found. 
And the Loney always gives up its secrets, in the end.

What I Liked:
  • Atmosphere was what I wanted to see from this book and I got it by the bucket-load! The visual imagery displayed, alluding to the fierce, wild nature of the Loney, coupled with Hurley's gorgeous writing made for a very haunting, beautiful tone to the story that kept me in it's thrall from beginning to end. I loved the setting of the book the most I think.
  • Hurley actually did some strong character work: a small cast, but every one of them felt individual and memorable. While our narrator was a little dull, more of an observer than a character, others such as Father Bernard, 'Mummer' and even Hanny were very well developed and I really liked watching them interact with each other.
What I Disliked:
  • There were a few issues that I had with this book, and part of that might have been due to my high expectations, but I really felt that there wasn't much of a plot for this story. A bit of a mystery perhaps and I did like that, but it was much more about characters than action. In some instances that can be a good thing, but I wanted to be spooked and thrilled a lot more than I actually was.
  • Hurley clearly relied heavily on the power of suggestion. He liked to imply rather than tell and he did it well, but it meant that I was left with more questions than answers. I like clear cut endings and this was not one of those.
  • I spent most of the first half of this book thinking it was set in the late 1800s to early 1900s. WWII era at the latest. But imagine my shock when I realised that it was actually set much later, in the 1970s! Of course there were technological references that really ought to have given me a clue, but I honestly like writing to have a sense of time period and this felt too dated.
Overall Conclusion:
This book was really nice, and well-written to. It's easy to see why so many people loved it, thanks to it's gorgeous writing and raw, haunting imagery. I loved the descriptors, setting and characters. I just really wanted a bit more from the reading experience. It's a mystery so I need more answers. I need a sense of time as well as place. And I need more of a story to have me totally convinced.

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