Friday 10 April 2015

Book Review - Flesh and Blood

Flesh and Blood
Author: Simon Cheshire
Series: Red Eye Standalones #3
Genres: Horror | Childrens, Young Adult
Release Date: 2nd March 2015
Publishers: Little Tiger
No. Pages: 336
Source: Review Copy - Little Tiger
I must record the facts that have led me to where I am now. So that, when someone reads this, they understand.

Sam Hunter's neighbours are pillars of the community, the most influential people in town. But they're liars too.

The Greenhills are hiding something and Sam's determined to find out what it is. As his investigation unfolds, he realizes the lies reach further than he ever imagined - is there anyone he can trust?

Uncovering the horror is one thing.
Escaping is another..

I don't read horror books. At least, I never used to read horror books. I'm what you'd call a class A wimp, so imagine my constant battle over the urge to read the creepy and the weird, mind games and freaky cultures, murders and gruesome, plain vile stories, the ones I love most, the ones with characters you just don't understand, or the ones with morals you just can't comprehend, or the ones were somewhere, somehow, you find yourself weirdly interested and, almost understanding these so so wrong characters, they're my favourite books, and Flesh and Blood felt no different. In fact, this book put Anna Dressed in Blood to shame.

High praise indeed, considering just how much I enjoyed Anna Dressed in Blood, but Flesh and Blood, without a doubt, stands on it's own two feet when it comes to creepy and freaky and fantastically nightmarish. Nothing could have prepared me for what Flesh and Blood would be, not even it's title. Imagine every nightmare you've ever had about doctors and surgeries, every terrifying dream you've ever had about being tortured, about being experimented on, every fear you've ever had about creepy houses, about dark, twisted, gruesome deaths, every single petrifying thought you've had that involved losing yourself, losing your humanity, losing your mind, imagine it at an unbearable level, and then imagine it ten times over, and you will never reach the level of horror that Flesh and Blood has. Cheshire's talent at writing the terrifying and the gruesome, but also making it so addictive that it's impossible to stop reading is extremely impressive. I haven't seen very may authors who can frighten me and amaze me, enthral and intrigue me, horrify and distress and yet have me do nothing more than think about the book in question, and to have that book be a horror book, a children's book - well, that makes this read all the more amazing. It was so impossibly good, so, mesmerisingly horrifying and disgusting vile, I have no idea how I managed to sleep, but it definitely wasn't made easy.

However, it wasn't just Flesh and Blood's creepy and horrifying plot and features that made it so brilliant, it was it's characters too. Character's that are so, utterly insane and completely amazing, characters that make me wonder who I can really trust, and if I can trust anyone at all, characters that remind me that everyone has a little bit of madness in them, but projects in different ways, some that, sometimes, might even make a little sense. The star of the show though is obviously Sam. Sam's dedication to his research, to his answers, his passion for results and his eager eye, it all went towards creating such a powerful character I could so easily root for, a character who's emotions drove his actions, who's instinct's drove his mind, who's intelligence, knowledge, bravery and courage was so strong it leapt off the page, it there is a single character that pushed this novel from really great to utterly captivating and enthralling, it was Sam. Even Sam's relationships with his fellow friendships, with Jo and Liam, and they're relationships with one another, they're group, they felt so realistic and so tangible, it made this story all the more horrifying to read. Not only that, having the book written in the past tense only made this book even more distressing and heart-breaking, knowing that everything your reading has already happened, that there's absolutely nothing these character's can do to stop what's happening, seeing their actions come to nothing, that's both a horrible and utterly fantastic feature to use, and it only made me root for the characters more.

Yes, Flesh and Blood's ending let this book down just a small amount; it felt incomplete, unfinished, a little sloppy and open ended, but I can also see how Cheshire wanted to end it and the type of ending he was looking for, the type that related to the story, and quite possibly, the type that gave the audience hope that maybe Sam didn't meet such a terrible demise after all. It was a good ending, just, not the ending I really wanted, and the ending that came for some of the other characters too felt a little.. unfinished and unclear, but I may have been expecting just a little too much. Never the less, Flesh and Blood was an addictive and thrilling, creepy and terrifying, everything that you'd want from a great horror read, and I can say for certain that, no matter how creepy it may have been, no matter how sickening and disturbing, I'm still very much in love with books like Flesh and Blood, all the more so now.

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