Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Review: Long Lankin - Lindsey Barraclough

Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough
Genre: YA, historical fiction, mystery, supernatural
Published on July 10, 2012
Published by Candlewick Press
Pages: 455
Read From: 8.24.12 - 8.27.12

When Cora and her little sister, Mimi, are sent to stay with their great-aunt in the isolated village of Bryers Guerdon, they receive a less than warm welcome and are desperate to go back to London. But Auntie Ida's life was devastated the last time two young girls were at Guerdon Hall, and how her nieces' arrival has reawakened an evil that has lain in wait for years. 
A haunting voice in an empty room; a strange, scarred man lurking in the graveyard; mysterious words scrawled on the walls of an abandoned church. . . .all point to a horrifying truth that has held Bryers Guerdon in its dark grip for centuries, a truth that Cora, along with Roger and Peter, two young village boys, must uncover - before it's too late for Mimi.


Cover Blurb: It did catch my attention, and is largely why I read the book in the first place. It’s creepy and I love that if you look very closely on the left-hand side, you can actually see Long Lankin himself. I like the small references to the story on the cover - the red shoes, the doll, etc.

What I Liked: Roger. Roger was a pretty good protagonist; he was funny and a proper boy who focused on the adventure and not the girls, and treated his siblings remarkably well. I did like the family dynamics the Author explored (though she could have spent a little less time on that and more time on the actual story), and I liked the ballad the Author chose to base her story off of, and I liked the era.

What I Disliked: Cora was, quite frankly, really mean to her little sister Mimi, and she complained far too much. It never crossed her mind to maybe listen Auntie Ida not even once. I can understand Cora wanting to find answers, but she could have gone about it in a better fashion, and listened to her aunt’s warnings.

Believability: Not entirely applicable.

Writing Style: I liked how each chapter switched narrators, but I didn’t like that none of the narrators chose a tense. Cora would be narrating in present-tense one moment, and then she would suddenly switch to past-tense. It was choppy and confusing and annoying. The Author also included lots of unnecessary day-to-day details, and things like dried snot, dried vomit, dried whatever, and described everything in disgusting detail. The story is a very, very slow-moving one, and it isn’t pulled off very well. It would have been OK if there had been an eerie, dark, and mysterious undercurrent, but there wasn’t. And when something interesting happened, the Author somehow managed to make it dull. It was just, quite frankly, boring.

Content: None.

Conclusion: I’ll agree that it was exciting, and even a little scary, but it was very dragged out and movie-ish, and the solution to Lankin’s defeat bordered on soliciting a That’s it?! Why didn’t they do it before? Why didn’t they figure it out sooner? reaction from me.

Recommended Audience: Girl-and-guy read. Readers who like a more relaxed spooky story might enjoy it.

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