Book Review

Book Review : Incubus by Carol Goodman

Ever since moving to Fairwick to take up a teaching post at the local college, Callie has been having vivid, erotic dreams about a man made out of moonlight and shadows. Dreams she begins to fear as well as anticipate…

She learns that her home – a Victorian cottage at the edge of a wood she bought on a whim – is supposedly haunted. And then her new – and rather strange – colleagues tell her a local legend about an incubus demon with a human past who was enchanted by a fairy queen…

I enjoyed Carol Goodman’s book Arcadia Falls earlier this year, and her cowritten book Black Swan Rising last year so I was really excited to read her new book Incubus, the first in a new urban fantasy series.

The plot starts pretty slowly, Callie moves to Fairwick to teach folklore. Very quickly as the reader you start to get the feeling that something is a little unusual about Fairwick, but it takes Callie a lot longer to catch on herself. I actually found this a little frustrating, Callie is supposed to be an expert in things including fairy tales, gothic fiction and demons but she just doesn’t seem to question what’s going on around her. For me the book really got into its stride after about the first third when Callie begins to discover the truth about Fairwick and her colleagues at the school. Whereas it took me a few days to get through the first third, once the plot really kicked in I couldn’t put the book down and finished it within a couple of hours.

Callie is an interesting character, I generally found that I liked her but as I’ve already said I did find her frustrating at times and wanted to shake her. I did really like the supporting cast of characters, and I liked the fact that as well as ticking the usual supernatural boxes there were a few supernatural species included that I’ve haven’t seen appearing frequently. For me this meant that there were new lores to learn a bit more about, and I think this definitely helped to keep my interest.

I think that this is a decent start to a new series and I will definitely be looking out for the next book in the series. I just wish that it had had a stronger opening and that I could have loved the book instead of thinking it was pretty good.

Incubus is published in paperback by Ebury Press in the UK priced £6.99. Whilst I was provided with a review copy of the book all of the opinions expressed are my own.

Book Review

Book Review : Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman.

For two hundred years, painters, poets and musicians have come to the Catskill Mountain village of Arcadia Falls to escape the pressures of modern life and pursue their artistic visions, and Arcadia College was founded with a mission to nurture young artists and writers.

When Meg Rosenthal gets an offer to teach at Arcadia College, it seems a godsend – an escape from a life that’s fallen apart. She hopes, too, that Arcadia Falls will be a place where she and her daughter Sally can find some peace and reconciliation.

But even though Arcadia Falls proves to be even more beautiful then Meg imagined, it is hardly peaceful. Soon she begins to realize that the public story behind the school conceals deceit, betrayal, and perhaps even murder. As Meg struggles to reconcile the choices she’s made in her own life, she begins to fear that by coming to Arcadia Falls she’s put herself and her daughter in danger.

I found this book to be a little slow when I first started reading it, but within a few chapters it started to take a hold of me. The more I read the more gripped I got, by the last third I found it hard to tear myself away from it.

The plot centres around Meg, a grieving widow who takes a job at Arcadia Falls because the death of her husband has left her and her daughter Sally finding it hard to make ends meet. It has the added bonus of being a school with a strong artistic heritage, Sally is a talented artist and Meg’s own research interests into folklore and fairy tales seem an ideal match. The day they arrive at the school is First Night, a school celebration based on an ancient fertility rite. When this ritual ends disastrously Meg starts to wonder about the school she has brought her daughter to and starts digging but doesn’t like what she finds.

I really liked Meg. I found her to be an interesting character and really enjoyed the parts of the story where she was teaching – it felt at times like I was sitting there in the classroom along with her pupils and I found myself thinking about my own answers to the questions she was posing. I found Sally, her daughter, harder to like but I feel she was really well written. The sense of turmoil following the loss of her father and the move from everything familiar she was experiencing really came through.

The book has plenty of twists and turns as it progresses. The last few chapters twist back and forward so much that I found myself reading slower to make sure everything was sinking in. I liked this particularly as just when I thought the author couldn’t trick me again another twist unfolded on the page.

I enjoyed this book and I imagine I’ll read more by the author in the future.

Arcadia Falls is published in paperback by Piatkus in the UK from today priced £7.99. Whilst I was provided with a review copy of the book all of the opinions expressed are my own.