Monday, September 5, 2016

AND THE TREES CREPT IN BY DAWN KURTAGICH - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, this time it is And The Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich (or The Creeper Man in the UK). Thank you to Hachette Books Canada for sending me a copy of this book for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.


This book is genius. It took me a little bit after I finished it, to figure that out, but it is so well done.

This is the story of two sisters, Silla and Nori, who escape to their mother's childhood home, where their now Aunt Cath lives, in an effort to get away from their abusive father in the city. The house, or as it's official called "La Baume" isn't exactly what they imagined, a mansion hidden away in the woods in the middle of nowhere. And there's just something not right about Aunt Cath. Soon, a mysterious boy comes out of the forest, claiming to be one of the last people who Cath looked after in the La Baume Orphange, and things get weirder.

One day, Aunt Cath goes up to the attic, and never comes back down.

I don't really want to say too much to spoil anything, but I will say that this book is so well done.

The story itself is told in a similar way to her debut The Dead House, but instead of being all documents, files and excerpts, this book is written with a mix of regular text, enlarged words for emphasis, and notes and journal entries. And it was so well done, the different elements were a great little addition. Even just writing words out longer, like Creeeeeeeeaaaaak when Cath was pacing upstairs, you could hear it in your head.

I don't know if I would call this book a horror, it didn't terrify me as much as some of the other horror books I've read, but its definitely more than a thriller. You could feel everyone losing their sanity, and even as a reader, I was confused. There were no rational explanations, but I felt like there should be. Things just kept progressing and getting stranger and stranger. I couldn't tell if these things were actually happening, or if Silla was losing her mind. And then Gowan, the mysterious orphan shows up and sees them too and that was kind of the point where I thought these things had to be real, there's no way people could hallucinate the same thing.

When everything was revealed, I was shocked. I mean, there was no part of my mind that thought what actually happened would be remotely possible. But when I found out, everything became clearer, clicked into place, but also terrified me. Things made sense, now, but the reasoning was terrifying. Especially Aunt Cath up in the attic, pacing back and forth. When we found out what really happened, *shudder* I still get a little bit freaked out.

This book, deals a lot with repressed memory. And I don't really think that that is a spoiler, because it is kind of clear from the beginning that some bad stuff happens, and the characters aren't really dealing with those issues in a healthy way. It actually starts way back in Cath and the girls mother, Pamela's childhood. They experience a trauma and don't really deal with it at the time, or at any point really. That affects both of them growing up, and later, Silla represses her own bad memories as well. I'm not going to go into details, because I don't want to spoil it, but I will say that everything makes sense. And I can't help but feel terrible for all that Silla has gone through. There are some serious issues going on but she doesn't have the mental strength to deal with them.

The one aspect I didn't love was the concept of time, especially with the mentions of the war. Now, they meant WWIII, but I just kept thinking of the early WW's and it just made the story jump back into the 1900s. I see now that it was okay to have a confusing sense of time, but I just didn't think it added much to the story, other than the reason why there was no one left in the town when Silla finally got up the courage to explore a bit. The house itself is fairly archaic, running on generators and having one working toilet, eventually to the point where they only have candles to light the way, so that didn't help with the concept of time. I can see know, at the end, why time was so muddled, but at the time in the story, I found it a little bit annoying.

Overall, I very much enjoyed this book. It definitely makes you think, but I can guarantee, you'll understand everything in the end!