An out of practice reader discussing the books I get around to reading.
I really, REALLY want this book to be adapted by Guillermo Del Toro. It is exactly the kind of story his movies tend to be about. If you like Pan's Labyrinth or The Orphanage, I really think you'll enjoy this book. It's a horror story but it's also a fairy tale and it will make you sad. So, Mr. Del Toro, if you're reading this, please please please make this your next project!
And The Trees Crept In is about Silla as she flees to the country with her little sister, Nori, to live with crazy Aunt Cath. Aunt Cath lives by a creepy wood that, wouldn't you know it, has a creepy monster living inside it. The Creeper Man, who's basically Slenderman except he has most of a face. I say most because he's missing his eyes. And he starts hanging out with Nori. And the trees keep getting closer and closer to the house. I think you can see where this is going.
It is currently 12:02 am so I probably make it sound more comical than it is. Trust me, it's super creepy.
Last October, I asked for book recommendations fitting a craving I had based on the trailer for The Hallow (which was subpar, for the record). This book is EXACTLY the kind I was wanting to read back then.
I was completely blown away by this book. YA has what I feel is a lack of strong horror stories. Most end up hokey or more of a paranormal romance in my experience. But this one had a strong plot, beautiful writing, and characters you didn't want to see fail. It has an incredible level of suspense to the point where it's so difficult to put down. Best of all, it has a creepy forest. God I love creepy forests.
If you liked the visual nature of Illuminae, this is a book I could see you enjoying. No space battles and AIs, of course, but Kurtagich plays with the fonts and the spacings, making the read artsy. You slow down at intense parts, speed up at the heartbreaking ones and can hear Silla's shouts. It's really incredible. Her writing style is also really beautiful. There were many images that were just stunning, like the worm-filled cake and the rot of La Baume. Stunning, yet grotesque. There was also a lot of emotion in the words. I could feel all the emotions of the characters. It's really inspiring.
All of the characters were terrific but I particularly want to focus on Silla. She is such an incredible character which, judgmental as it is, I did not expect from a character named that. Or a YA character in general. She is likable, especially for me as an older sister, but she is so incredibly flawed. She has a secret, you're dying to know what that secret is, but you're also angry at her for hating herself as much as she does. It's hard to read a self-hating character but it's worth it. She is the kind of complex, well-rounded character is see people begging for. It's also so refreshing to read a YA character whose flaws go beyond normal angst. Those stories are fine and all, don't get me wrong, but it's a nice change.
If I were to name a flaw in this book, it's the beginning. The writing style gets a little confusing and it takes some getting used to. Kurtagich doesn't really explain things, sort of just throws you in and goes, "Catch up". That was a little frustrating but it only took a few chapters to adjust. It also gets a little confusing towards the end, but I blame my reading speed on that, not the writing. So take it slow. Savor it.
This story is incredible. It's about grief, trauma, dealing with horrible abuse, love, family, and forgiveness. It has complex, loveable characters and a monster I would love to see team up with Slenderman. That would be cool. And terrifying. Mostly terrifying. But I would still watch. I love this book. I really, really love it. Hopefully those of you who read it do too.
Final rating: 5 out of 5. I kinda wanna cry tears of joy because it's an amazing story with a creepy forest.
Final thought: The scene where Silla runs through the mud is one of my favorite scenes I've ever encountered in a book.