Sunday, June 8, 2014

Review: Sleepy Hollow by Dax Varley

Katrina’s still haunted by her encounter with the Headless Horseman - the night he beckoned to her. Now he has risen again, slashing heads and terrorizing the quiet countryside.

Her only joy during this dismal darkness comes when Ichabod Crane, a gorgeous young man from Connecticut, moves to Sleepy Hollow and their attraction turns to romance.

When the Horseman marks Ichabod as his next victim, Katrina, despite dangerous efforts to save him, sees no other choice than for them to flee.

But the Horseman awaits. Now it’s up to her to sever the horror and alter the Legend of Sleepy Hollow
My Rating
My Review
The small town of Sleepy Hollow has always interested me. As both a writer and a reader, "the darker the better" is a motto of mine. A headless rider of a mighty horse that rises in the night, separating victims' heads from their bodies with a long scythe? Now, that's what I'm talking about. Dax Varley takes this well known horror tale, and spins a beautifully dark retelling that will drag readers along for the ride. 

Sleepy Hollow takes readers back in time to the eighteenth century, and the transition is easily made. I immediately felt the world of this small, superstitious town build around me, and I could not get enough of it. The setting really influenced the mood of the story - which is the same kind of emotion one would feel being alone outside in the middle of the night, watching mist swirl around them. The tension and fear caused by the Headless Horseman acts as a through line throughout the novel - always in the background.

The characters of Sleepy Hollow were fantastically crafted and brought to life, even if they were not initially of Valley's creation. Katrina is a strong-willed, intelligent young woman, with more bravery than most of the other characters can claim. Although by no means do characters have to always be likable, it is a treat to have a voice that I can relate to and respect as a reader, and this was definitely the case for Katrina. I also loved this characterization of Ichabod Crane, and not just because he was known for his ravishingly good looks, wit, and willingness to push the social barriers (A handsome, intelligent, somewhat rebellious writer? Swoon). He fit as a good counter to Katrina, and I loved watching the romance develop between the two of them. I mean, talk about delicious.

The pacing of Sleepy Hollow works well with the plot. I could not put the book down for a second, too eager to know what would happen next. Although certain portions of the book seemed slightly obvious, there were still enough twists and turns to keep me at the edge of my seat. Whether it be from action or the anticipation of action, there were not many slow parts at all.

The language of this novel was beautiful, and had great imagery that built up every individual scene for the reader to vividly envision. This was fantastic both in the romantic scenes with Ichabod, as well as the brutal decapitation. After all, the tale of the Headless Horseman is still one of horror.

I loved reading Sleepy Hollow,and definitely would recommend the novel to others - whether you are a fan of romance or horror and whether you have never heard of the Headless Horseman or binge watch  the TV show 

Sleepy Hollow just to get your Ichabod Crane fix. The pacing did not let up until the cliffhanger of an ending, and I shall eagerly await the second book. 

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