Monday, 17 January 2011

The Dead of Winter by Chris Priestley

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: Hardback
Published: October 2010
Number of Pages: 224
Book: For Review From Bloomsbury*
Genre: Ghost, Thriller, YA, Pre-Teen, Fiction

“My name is Michael: Michael Vyner.  I am going to tell you something of my life and of the strange events that have brought me to where I now sit, pen in hand, my heartbeat hastening at their recollection.”
A boy, a mysterious guardian and a haunted house with a terrible secret.
When Michael Vyner goes to spend the Christmas holidays with his distant and aloof guardian, he finds himself in a dark and desolate East Anglian house – a house that harbours a terrible secret which it will fight to retain.  Michael’s lonely task soon becomes clear as he is haunted not just by a solitary woman in the mists but by the terrible reason behind her death.

I don’t know whether it was the writing, the characters or the anticipation and hints of what was to come, but I sped through this book, completely addicted from page one. 
It starts off at the end of the story, with flashbacks that make no sense at the time, but make you want to read on to find out what they’re about more than anything.  You know something huge and scary is there in the book, but you don’t know where or what and you just need to find out. 
Told from the point of view of the main character, Michael, it is about how after his mother dies, he is sent to live with a man (Lord Stephan) he’s never met, but knows because his father died to save him.  The house he’s sent to is thoroughly depressing from the beginning, the only points of light being the servants.  But there’s something evil, dangerous in the house...  Is Michael just going mad or did something terrible really happen there?  Was the woman he saw really there?  And if so, why could no one else see her?
Well, I just had to know the answer to that question from the first sighting of her. 
Michael’s a good character, smart, brave and very good at noticing the little things.  The other characters are good too, getting a nice range, from the mad Lord Stephan to the beautiful Miss Charlotte to the cheerful .
And I must admit, I really didn’t see what happened in the end coming, although I had a mild suspicion on a couple of things.  I would definitely recommend this book, as it has a nice blend of ghosts, scare-factor, and mystery.  Perfect mix!  The only downside is that it’s too short, which makes the end a little abrupt, and that I never found out the time period it’s set it, which kind of bugged me all the way through.  But, despite all of that, a brilliant, smart and spine-tingling read that’s positively addictive.  A must read!

Star Rating:
4 Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
Tales of Terror by Chris Priestley

Challenges It's Taking Part In:
100 Books in a Year Reading Challenge 2011 (Hosted by Book Chick City)
British Book Challenge (Hosted by The Bookette)
Horror and Urban Fantasy Reading Challenge 2011 (Hosted by Book Chick City)
Off The Shelf Challenge (Hosted by BA Reading Challenges)
Happy Reading
*This book was recieved from Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review

1 comment:

Midnyte Reader said...

I've never heard of this book! I'll put it on my TBR list.