Jonathan Janz

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Castle of Sorrows

Castle of Sorrows

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Erschienen am 01.07.2014

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Rezension zu "The Siren and The Specter (Fiction Without Frontiers)" von Jonathan Janz

The finer art of horror
misspidervor 2 Monaten

This was only the second book by the author I've read so far, but I can already recognize the author's unique voice. Again, Janz delivers a complex story packed with gory action and glimpses into the abyss of depravity, but also interludes of more subtle horror and an exceptional character depth. The broad variety found in this book makes it not just another haunted house/ghost story, but a unique sample of the finer art of horror.

At first, I felt slightly overwhelmed by the different plot lines thrown in, but at the end everything fit perfectly together. I was eager to explore the history of the house and the peninsula, and to understand step by step how it came to be haunted. What got to me most though were the children, and seeing how their innocence was already crushed by human monsters long before any supernatural evil reached out for them.

Regarding characters, it was fascinating to observe the transformation of the main character David. He fought so hard to maintain his belief in the non-existence of anything supernatural, but at some point he could no longer deny it, as it was staring him right in the eye. Oh, and at the beginning I was really amused by his jumpiness, which contradicted his matter-of-fact appearance.

A very rewarding reading experience which more than fulfilled my expectations.

(Thanks to Netgalley, the author, and the publisher for a copy of the book, all opinions are my own)

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Rezension zu "Exorcist Falls: Includes the novella Exorcist Road" von Jonathan Janz

Two in one
misspidervor einem Jahr

First, let me admit that I am not a great fan of religious horror, stories about demonic possession/exorcism and the like. My earliest encounter with the genre would have been Blatty's work, but I can't say it did more than entertain me while reading it, but did not leave any lingering impression on me. Regarding the movie, it was already several years old when I watched it. While some movies keep their charm through the ages, I found this one partly boring, but mostly amusing in its attempt to nauseate the audience (especially the spinach scene), which may have had the desired effect back when it was released, but did nothing to actually scare me.

But back to the book at hand: I was curious to see what impact this type of story would have on me today and if my tastes had changed over the years. The first part, which actually contains the previously published novella 'Exorcist Road' and works as the prequel to 'Exorcist Falls', almost confirmed my fears. It delivers a classical horror-story exorcism just as expected, with a large number of revolting scenes some readers may find too gross, but IMHO the main story stalled a bit in favor of yet another shocking tantrum of the demon-possessed boy. Therefore, my rating for the novella part is an average 'liked it'.

However, things changed with the second part of the book, which was much more character-driven. While the demon was still present, the possession plot took a step back to provide the setting for a much more interesting story about a priest struggling with his faith, or lack thereof. While I could not really sympathize with Father Jason Crowder (or most of the characters in this story), I was at least able to follow his motives and actions. It was fascinating to see how the demon actually helped him restore his dwindling belief, though in a twisted way. This second part started with a surprising turn which made this story stand out and grab my undivided attention. Where the first part read mainly like a gore-feast, the follow-up is much more complex and in depth. My rating for this second part of the book is a satisfied 'really liked it', so that I can recommend the whole work with a very strong thumbs-up.

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