Newest Review: ... is essentially a grown up 'faery' story, yep that is faery not fairy as this is not a story which paints all mythical (or are they??!... more
A supernatural thriller, horror & fairy tale rolled into one! Be warned, it's a bit saucy though!
Once - James Herbert
Member Name: debbie41176
Once - James Herbert
Date: 30/09/11, updated on 03/10/11 (53 review reads)
Advantages: Descriptive supernatural chiller, with interesting characters and a plot that'll draw you in!
Disadvantages: Quite a lot of intimate / adult scenes that are VERY descriptive!
REASONS FOR PURCHASE
I'd just finished a brilliant James Herbert novel, "The Magic Cottage", and had been keeping my eyes peeled for another one. Because I'm so keen to find bargains, I trawled my local charity shops until I found this one.
When I picked this up my friend laughed. Obviously I couldn't see the humour, so I had to ask why! She just told me "You'll see!". I'll go into a bit more detail in my review, but just be warned, this book has some very adult content, which gets very very explicit! (In my opinion anyway, but maybe I'm a prude!).
AMAZON'S PRODUCT DESCRIPTION AND PRICE
EDIT - I have removed the book's synopsis from my review since this has offended another dooyoo member. If you want to read the actual synopsis of the book, you can of course do so at www.amazon.co.uk.
The Amazon.co.uk paperback price for this book is £5.44, although you can pick it up second hand (still from Amazon.co.uk) for as little as 1p! I'm assuming postage and packaging will be charged as well, but it still seems like a bit of a bargain to me!
I purchased my copy from a Cancer Research charity shop for £1.49.
A LITTLE ABOUT THE STORY
Without giving anything away, here is a little bit of background to the story!
Thom, the lead character, has just returned to his childhood home after suffering from a stroke. He's a 27 year old carpenter, who up until this point, attended boarding school, then went to live and work in London.
Sadly, his mother passed away when Thom as a child, and ever since then he's been taken care of by Sir Russell, the owner of the manor house on which Thom's cottage is situated. Thom's mother was the personal tutor to Hugo, Sir Russell's son. She lived in the cottage on the grounds with Thom, until she passed away.
Thom returns to this cottage to relax into the country way of life while he recovers from his stroke.
The story develops with introductions to more of the characters. There's Hugo, the ever so posh, nice, slightly dim son of Sir Russell. The groundskeeper and Sir Russell's assistant, both of whom Thom remembers from his childhood. Katie his physiotherapist. Nell, the nurse / alternative therapist, who takes care of Sir Russell (he is now very old and terminally ill). Of course, there are more supernatural characters too, but I don't want to give any of the plot away!
As Thom settles back into country life, he remembers more about the castle grounds woodland, meets interesting new characters, and begins on an adventure that soon turns into a quest!
I was quickly drawn into this story, pretty much by the first page. I always find that impressive since there have been so many books that I've had to force myself to plow into.
As with 'The Magic Cottage', James Herbert makes sure that the lead character has the perfect balance of being likeable, interesting, but not overly 'goody two shoes' in that often typical hero or heroinne style. Thom Kindred is very down to earth, and the reader will immediately identify with him and want to read on to find out what he'll get up to!
Sometimes with this book, I'd get so into the storyline that I'd be almost skim reading to find out what would happen next. If you read this book please don't make that same mistake! Herbert's style of writing is beautifully descriptive, and if you slow down so that you can take it all in, you'll have fantastically clear images in your head that paint the scenes perfectly (whether they're good, bad or just plain frightening)!
What I enjoyed most in this book, are the little twists and turns, and how seemingly insignificant parts of the story would develop, open up, and take you by surprise! There were no loose ends that bothered me when I finished the book. This is an issue that I've often found disappointing, especially in the thriller/chiller/supernatural genre.
Throughout the story the characters and settings are described so vividly. Unfortunately, so are the 'intimate' scenes! It seems as though James Herbert can (and will!) go into detail with everything and anything! I was surprised at how early into the story these intimate scenes begin. You'd maybe expect one or two scenes of this nature in a novel intended for adults, but in this book you're looking at one a chapter. And they go on for pages and pages. By the end of the book, I knew to just skim these! After all, I read on the tube and train, and I don't want anyone to blush if they're looking over my shoulder! I've seen other reviews that mention this, and other reviewers felt as though it was padding and that there wasn't enough material for a story without it. I strongly disagree with this. It might be a shorter book without 'the scenes', but it's still a great story and could stand alone as a smaller book, no problem. I'm inclined to overlook this issue; reading about these things in too much detail isn't my cup of tea, but I can appreciate that they're very well written. I know a lot of people enjoy a bit of sauciness in their literature too! All I will say is, you'll definitely know that their written by a man! :P
So yes, and there you have the reason why my friend laughed at me for picking up this book! She'd read it and had been taken very much by surprise!
My favourite part of this book was the ending. The last few chapters and the build up to them are just perfect. Beautifully written, the scenes and events described so well. Again, I had to force myself not to read too quickly and miss all the wonderful descriptions! You can lose yourself in these last few chapters and really feel like you're there!
Finally..... what disappointed me about 'The Magic Cottage' was that I wanted more of a follow up on all the characters after the main event had taken place. With 'Once' I actually wasn't left disappointed at all! James Herbert made sure to let us know what happened to everyone at the end and didn't leave any loose ends whatsoever.
All in all, a brilliant supernatural chiller that will quickly draw you in! I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes a little bit of escapism from time to time! But I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone who is offended by adult content!
Summary: I loved this book from start to finish, despite blushing over some of the scenes!