Dang was this book good! There are so many reasons I loved this book! The writing was fantastic. It had a great flow and was very fun and easy to read but could also be fantastically descriptive at times sketching out what was going on in the story. The author was really good at changing his tone and diction when the third person point of view changed to a different viewpoint character. Even though it was in third person that had a very distinct flavor and great words that only went with certain characters. You really felt like you were getting the story from the distinct point of view every time and it really gave you a way to dive deeper into the creepy world of Rhapp's Barren.
The main character Ezra was awesome. He is discovering some huge things about himself in this book while he and his parents deal with some powerful grief. He's an artist too, and being an artist myself it was really fun to read about him carrying around a sketchbook and showing people drawings of architecture he had done. Later in the story his drawing leads to some very dark creepy truths but you'll have to read the book to find out about those. Also he meets a pretty special girl in the story and seeing their friendship develop and grow among all the crazy supernatural stuff that's going on was grounding and wonderful in this novel. I really liked her personality and her dialog added a lot of fun and humor to the story. There were so many themes touched on in this book too. Family, friendship, loss, even bullying. This is a very well written well rounded story with a lot to offer. I can't wait to read the second one.
Touching more on the characters, there were so many great ones! I loved the police officers and the break their scenes gave to the growing crazy supernatural stuff Ezra keeps discovering. The more police procedural scenes were fun to read and really well done. I loved the two cop partners and how different they were from each other. Even though they were more minor characters in the overall story they were fleshed out really well and I liked them and cared about them. Then there is the family of freaks Ezra meets who have many secrets that you'll have fun discovering if you read this book. I call them freaks but they are like friends to me know having read the book. They all have different... abilities I'll say because I don't want to spoil anything in the story - and their story was really cool to uncover as I read through the book. I can't finish mentioning the great characters without saying how cool the bad guys were. A very powerful evil magician and his two terrifying accomplices. A little tiny wooden dummy man who doesn't let his size stop him from being someone you wouldn't want to meet and a huge ghastly hulk of a man who can literally rip your heart out of your chest with his bare hands.
I loved the dark supernatural thriller and the police procedural elements in this book. It was cool to delve into the deep dark world of magic and monsters and then switch to the view of that same world through the skeptical and organized view of the policeman trying to pick up the pieces after these supernatural monsters had committed gruesome crimes.
This book had some pretty amazing action scenes. Guns, swords, magical energy, plants coming to life and snatching characters up - there were a lot of very intense action scenes in this book that were very exciting and very well done. All of them grew the characters, taught them things about themselves, and ramped up the tension in the book.
I read this book by listening to the audiobook and the narrator R.C. Quartermaine was spot on for this one. First his narration. He has a great deep voice that really tells the story well. His voice makes the story very interesting to listen to. I could listen to him read fiction for hours - well that's what I did for this book. Then when he does the character voices he adds another layer of awesome to the listening experience. Some of these characters were monsters, some of them were people of different nationalities like Irish and German, some were policemen, teachers, parents, and teenagers. He nailed the different tones for the different age groups and kinds of characters. He did really great monster voices that were very different sounding from the rest of the characters but not corny or over the top. They were actually pretty scary sounding which was awesome. And the different accents he used for the many German and one Irish character were great. Very well done. I particularly like his voice for a nerdy guy who worked at the history museum. The audiobook is a real treat to listen to and was very well done. R.C. Quartermaine is a talent I plan on listening to again.
The ending was very satisfying. It wrapped everything up well but still left a huge danger that the characters are going to have to deal with at some point in the future, but the ones who survive to the end of the book are left in a great place. I love it when a book can make me laugh even at its darkest most intense parts and this book did that for me at the end. Some of the things Ezra said and the ways he reacted to what was going on were priceless and had me rooting for him and laughing really hard. It was awesome and put a smile on my face.
Wow. Fantastic book. I'm looking forward to more from this author. He is talented and tells a great dark fun creepy funny awesome story. 5 stars all the way. Loved this book.