It’s 1910, and in an old house overlooking the moors in Dartmoor, England, Iris Villarca is breaking the rules. Her whole life she has lived under her father’s strict provisos that she must not leave the house, and never talk to anyone. He tells her the entire family line has been afflicted with a horrible disease, one she could afflict upon anyone at any moment. As Iris grows up however, she begins to question her father’s story, until one day he tells her the truth:
There is no disease. Instead, the family’s affliction comes in a far more terrifying and hauntingly disturbing form.
If you’re looking for a great piece of modern gothic fiction, this is the book you are looking for. Rawblood combines all the best elements of Frankenstein, Jane Eyre and The Woman in Black, into a story that is both incredibly well-structured and truly horrifying.
An old house set against the backdrop of an endless and wild moor; strange noises in the night, and a face at the window – all these traditional gothic elements are there, and Catriona Ward has combined them with an incredibly complex and well-thought out plot, which has you repeatedly second guessing yourself throughout.
The writing is very poetic and overflowing with rich description, conveying the horrors of the house’s unwelcomed inhabitant with such detail that the characters won’t be the only ones having trouble sleeping at night!
Perhaps the one let down is the pacing. Due to the incredibly intricate plot-line, the book is told from multiple points of view, switching back and forth, not only between characters, but between periods spanning fifty years. While all this is needed to help further the plot, some of the POVs become a little monotonous and feel overlong, going into too much depth, and you do find yourself willing it to speed up and get back to the good stuff!
Overall, however, this is a very well-written and gripping gothic horror story, full of twists and turns, combining all the best elements of some of the genre’s greatest works.
Released September 2015
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.