Genre: Historical Fantasy Age Range: YA Star Rating: 4 stars Series: Standalone
Ellerie Downing lives in the quiet town of Amity Falls in the Blackspire Mountain range–five narrow peaks stretching into the sky like a grasping hand, bordered by a nearly impenetrable forest from which the early townsfolk fought off the devils in the woods. To this day, visitors are few and rare. But when a supply party goes missing, some worry that the monsters that once stalked the region have returned.
As fall turns to winter, more strange activities plague the town. They point to a tribe of devilish and mystical creatures who promise to fulfill the residents’ deepest desires, however grand and impossible, for just a small favour. But their true intentions are much more sinister, and Ellerie finds herself in a race against time before all of Amity Falls, her family, and the boy she loves go up in flames.
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
This book is technically a historical fantasy, but it’s more like historical with a few supernatural elements. It’s set in a fictional isolated American Valley sometime in the 18th century (I think – pinpointing the time was a little hard.) And until the ending, it could really just be a very hard, unlucky year and so they turn on each other. Then it gets a bit odd.
I quite liked that historical with an edge of superstition feel – it reminds me of Gothic, even though this book isn’t Gothic (by my measure of Gothic at least – this felt too colourful and lacked a big, imposing house!) It gave the story a mysterious feel, and also a sense of impending doom. Which I love – that feeling that it will all go horribly wrong, whatever the main character does. And often because of them.
It’s also, apparently a loose Rumpelstiltskin retelling. Uh, I could not have told you that from the book, and the blurb talking about doing things in exchange for small favours does not really match the book. Sure, they are making bargains, but they don’t realise they are – while the blurb makes out that they are aware of it as it happens and deliberately make the bargain. They are making wishes, and then things happen later.
In all, it’s a creepy read about a town turning on itself when survival is threatened, and all the secrets people keep.
Read my reviews of other books by Erin A. Craig: