Monday, July 09, 2012

Review: Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough

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Long Lankin
Lindsey Barraclough
Release date: July 10th 2012
by Candlewick Press


When Cora and her younger sister, Mimi, are sent to stay with their elderly aunt in the isolated village of Byers Guerdon, they receive a less-than-warm welcome. Auntie Ida is eccentric and rigid, and the girls are desperate to go back to London. But what they don’t know is that their aunt’s life was devastated the last time two young sisters were at Guerdon Hall, and she is determined to protect her nieces from an evil that has lain hidden for years. Along with Roger and Peter, two village boys, Cora must uncover the horrifying truth that has held Bryers Guerdon in its dark grip for centuries – before it’s too late for little Mimi. Riveting and intensely atmospheric, this stunning debut will hold readers in its spell long after the last page is turned.

*A copy was provided by Random House of Canada for review purposes*

Long Lankin is a tale that is quite slow paced, but in such a way that makes you fall addicted to the story. Its depictions of the creepy atmosphere, blood-curling ghostly creatures, and fascinating history leave you absolutely glued to its pages, not to mention chilled to the bone!

Set in the 1950’s, Long Lankin brings us to a time where WW2 was just over and poverty was very much a reality. Electricity was scarce, so were methods of communication. With this setting, we’ve got just a dash of dialect that makes the dialogue incredibly compelling; it gives the voices a genuinely convincing feel along with aiding the atmospheric countryside vibe to come to life. Our two main characters, Cora and Roger, both have legitimate teenage personalities. Their narrations are realistic, animating this story from both of their perspectives. The regular POV switches are very well managed throughout the book; the story move swiftly regardless of its slow-ish pace, in addition to keeping our curiosity and eagerness alive. Aunt Ida’s perspective also makes sporadic appearances, bringing us into the mind of this cold, angry old woman who has incredible depth to her character. No matter how awful she seems, you will be taken by her, I guarantee it!

Then, among the tombstones, out of the air, small figures appear. They are all the size of little children, but their colourless faces are old and rotten, like the faces of the dead, their eyes nothing more than black holes, their hair grizzled and sparse.
-Quoted from finished copy of Long Lankin

Aside from the character voices, the descriptions in the book are a work of art. The gloominess of the town, the forsaken church, Auntie Ida’s decaying, creaky old home, and best of all: the apparitions (ghosts/horrific children freak me OUT!); it’s all so brilliantly enticing: vivid and ominous. It’s more than enough to induce chills. Once you get close to the ending, especially, I would even consider terrifying.

We get this mystery solved in tiny bits and pieces, mostly from old research and townsfolk. I constantly wanted to know more, yet too caught up in the book to make up my own theories. This caused the actual story to remain a mystery until the very end. It’s not the type of plot you can really guess, even if you try, however. It’s unique, encompassing witchcraft, dark legends, engrossing history, and folklore. In fact, as seen along with the book trailer, — I wasn’t familiar with the Long Lankin song before — it’s “inspired by a haunting folk song about murder, witchcraft and revenge.” This all comes to a close a bit too narrow for my taste. Not that I didn’t like the ending; it’s shuddersome with plenty of suspense and a good completion. BUT, I will admit that I was secretly hoping for a shocking revelation or disturbing twist that left me breathless, so the neat ending is a little underwhelming in that sense. I do blame this on my masochistic horror loving taste.

Haunting and tension-filled, Long Lankin is a gripping read that you absolutely must read if you love Gothic horror novels. Expect a slow, but terrific story that brings together excellent writing, amazingly lively characters and a spine-chilling tale.

4 Hot Espressos
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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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43 Responses to “Review: Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough”

  1. Eileen

    I, at this point, am extremely jealous of the great reviews you write. It sounds so compelling just from your description of the character voices! And it sounds so creepy and mysterious! Fantastic review as always!

  2. Karen

    Great review, I liked this one a lot!

    Ghost children freak me out, too. Have you ever seen the movie Dead Birds? The descriptions of the ghost kids from Long Lankin remind me of the ghost kids in that movie. Very creepy.

  3. Amy

    This sounds so awesome!! I think I would love it. I do love my creepy horror books. I like slow progressing stories when they are creepy and have that chilling atmosphere to them. I also love when a book can keep me guessing. I will have to read this one for sure!! Fab review chicky!

  4. Giselle

    @Karen: No I haven’t but now I want to! See <— masochist! Children of the corn will forever haunt me!!

    Thanks lovely ladies!!

  5. Nick

    This is the first time I’ve heard of this book and your review just convinced me to get a copy of it for myself. 🙂
    I love creepy stories and from the sounds of it, Long Lankin is more than creepy!
    I’m glad that the multiple POVs are well-done in the book.
    Great review, rockstar ! 🙂

  6. Aylee

    I never used to think of myself as a Gothic horror fan before I read The Monstrumologist series, but ever since then, I find that I have developed a taste for it. They can be quite thrilling! So I am happy that you liked this one and recommend it because I’m always looking for more reads in this genre. Thanks – adding to my tbr now!

  7. Danny

    I might not be the biggest fan of horror, but I always try to challenge myself with genres I wouldn’t have picked up normally…. I especially want to read those beautiful descriptions! They sound wonderful 🙂

  8. Katie @ BlookGirl

    Yay! I’ve been waiting for this review and am glad to hear that you liked this one 🙂 That quote above gives me the CREEPS! I will definitely be reading this one. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, love muffin <3

  9. Hafsah - IceyBooks

    Haunting? Tension? Gothic? I need to pick this one up ASAP! I have an ARC but for some reason, I just… I dunno, didn’t think it would be worth the read! Great review, Giselle 🙂

  10. Maji Bookshelf

    oohh I like spooky creepy atmospheres! It sounds like the author really constructed a creepy atmosphere in the book! Sounds really interesting! Great review Giselle!
    – Farah @MajiBookshelf

  11. Melliane

    Oh it sounds nice! I didn’t know this book but it’s nice from time to time to read a book like that. Now I need to check it lol, great review!

  12. Mel - Thedailyprophecy.

    Spine-cilling tale, that sounds like something for me 😀 Slow stories don’t bother me if they are executed well and I think that this story has all the elements 🙂 Fantastic review.

  13. Mary @ BookSwarm

    For some reason, the slow-paced creepy books are even CREEPIER than ones with lots of action and screaming. I guess because the scariness and atmosphere is built up and built up, much like this one. Sounds wicked-cool!

  14. Alexa

    I don’t read too many creepy stories, because they scare me! But this one sounds too good to pass up, so I may just need to give it a try. Great review!

  15. Sam

    I will definitely be reading this. I really love how different and creepy it sounds! I’m not always a fan of a slow pace but it sounds like it works well here. I’m glad you liked it, Giselle. Amazing review lovely! 🙂

  16. Jenni @ Alluring Reads

    The one sounds totally creeptastic! I need to puck this one up this week. I like that it sounds like the threads of the mystery come together slowly, I love guessing throughout what I think is going on. I’m usually wrong 🙁

  17. Aa'Ishah

    The synopsis wasn’t enough to compel me to add this, but your review definitely is. And I love that quote! Awesome review, Giselle. 🙂

  18. Randi M

    So super excited for this one! Excellent review. I love the quote you chose – that seriously gave me the CREEPS…but I love it! Hahaha. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  19. Silverlight

    I think I’m too much of a wimp to read this one! I did enjoy your review, thought it was terrific, it’s just like I said Horror really creeps me out. I mean I had nightmares for years just from watching Freddie Kruger :p

  20. Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue

    Whoa whoa whoa, okay so I HAVE to read this one. I’m loving EVERYTHING about your review, Giselle. It’s hard for me to embrace dual POV books because too often both characters seem the same – they’re written each in first person pov and blend together, or the author just doesn’t differentiate. So hearing that that is well done, plus that this is a totally creep-tastic Gothic novel… GREAT review, girl!

  21. Lalaine

    OOh glad you enjoyed this book too Giselle! I had some laughing moments with this book, and It was totally creepy. Ive read this last year when I was just starting my blog, and it was a very enjoyable read. Great review Giselle. x


  22. Krystianna

    I’m so excited to read this novel. I’ve been hearing wonderful reviews – a mixture of 4 and 5 stars. I’m glad that you liked it. Thanks for the great review!

  23. Rebecca - Kindle Fever

    I’m so happy you enjoyed it so much, Giselle! I’m picking it up next and am more than a little excited. I love Gothic horror themes and I can handle slow if it’s as awesome as it sounds! Great review:)

  24. Jaime Lester

    I thought for a couple of chapters that I wouldn’t be able to finish this. But this story sneaks up on you, little by little, until you are so engrossed in it that there is no stopping for anything. And talk about creepy. I had no way of knowing until the book was over that sleep would be hard to come by. It was truly a work of art. The world building was fantastic. But the characters were wonderful. They were so well fleshed out. I can’t wait to read what she has in store for us next.