Book Review: Horrid by Katrina Leno

This has everything I want in a horror novel.

Creepy mansion, lore told in hushed tones, a disturbed protagonist who eats books in secret. She swallows words, prose, and the paper heals her. It mends the broken pieces of her soul.

This book is haunting and disturbing. It’s full of grief and dark secrets. I pictured the characters surrounded by black forests and flickering ghosts. I wanted to love it but unfortunately I found myself frustrated and discontented. I wanted it to be so much more.

Jane and her mother Ruth have experienced loss after loss and now must travel from California to Maine to find a new beginning. After the sudden death of Jane’s father they are destitute and the must now seek refuge in Ruth’s childhood home.

North Manor is legendary for all the wrong reasons and although Jane at first writes it off as small town superstition, she begins to experience the house’s darkness for herself. It threatens to overtake her and her mother and she wonders what dark history is embedded in its walls.

I wanted this to be so much more. It began so great and I was positively shivering with excitement and then…ugh.

Katrina Leno really paints a gothic horror set in a small town. The problem is that the book felt way too short. The side characters although interesting weren’t fleshed out completely. I don’t think they were utilized to the fullest and it was disappointing because I wanted to know more about them and we don’t get that. I never felt fully connected to any of the characters which caused me to not care. My biggest gripe was the end. It’s abrupt and although I realize that was Katrina Leno’s purpose it just felt forced and disjointed.

The writing is gorgeous however and the setting felt so real that I felt every blistering wind and tasted the paper as if it was on my own tongue.

Katrina Leno does a great job with establishing dread and creating a setting that would terrify anyone. Unfortunately this book just was not my jam.

This cover though? Gorgeous and haunting. Just how I like it.

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