Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling/Horror/Fantasy
I believe most if not all of us know the tale of Hansel and Gretel.
Two children are cast out by their parents but leave breadcrumbs to find their way back home. They come upon a witch’s house and she wants to eat them yada yada blah blah. There are many variations to the story but that’s the basic gist of it. And of course there are many retellings.
The Shrike & the Shadows is one of these retellings. It is the story of Hans and Greta and of course the Shrike. The Shrike is hungry for men and when she comes you will know, as she leaves the hearts of her victims on your doorstep.
The villagers of Krume soon turn against the siblings and cast them out of the town and into the haunted forest to the waiting and hungry clutches of the Shrike. Will they be able to escape her clutches? Or will they fall victim to her hungry heart and lips?
Have any of you ever played the game Heavy Rain? In the beginning the main character is searching for his son and intones over and over again: Jason…Jason…JAAYYYYSOOOON. It’s hilarious in a way. This is how I felt reading this book. Over and over again Greta called for her twin, Hans, looking for him, and all I could think was that fucker could really use a tracker or a bell placed around his neck.
This was…disappointing to be honest. It showed a lot of promise in the first half but at the first titty suck it quickly went downhill. And yes, I said titty suck. There’s sex in it. A lot of it. Now, I’m no prude. Not at all. I enjoy romance and erotica to a point but when there’s a demonic witch bitch flitting about and literally tearing the hearts of men out, the last thing I want to be doing is humping. I put my kindle down and rolled my eyes. I understand that tensions are high but jesus christ, PUT IT AWAY AND FOCUS PEOPLE.
The characters are alright. I could throttle Hans though. Minor spoilers but Greta defending him throughout the book and blaming the Shrike’s hold on him. Um, girl. Your brother was going around saying that you nagged him LONG BEFORE THE SHRIKE CAME INTO PLAY. He was an ass long before any of this. Bairn was meh. Tolerable. I wasn’t shocked at his big reveal. More like…oh, wow that’s crazy *flips page*
The end felt rushed and I had to re-read it a few times to fully digest that it was the end. I found myself internally yelling at the characters that yes, you said this before many many times.
I did enjoy the setting of the book, this was a new fresh way to bring to life Hansel and Gretel and the Shrike was a really interesting character, my favorite actually. She actually struck fear into me. I just feel that this could have been executed much better. The timeline was also tricky. I was confused regarding the deaths of the twins mother and father and felt that that could have been explained more. The cover for this book is beyond gorgeous though and really well made. I am always here for dark retellings of fairy tales so I’m happy I got the chance to read this.
Thanks very much to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this ARC. All opinions are my own.
The Shrike, kinder, comes only at night.
Expected publication: March 3rd 2020 by The Parliament House Press