Sunday 7 October 2007

Ivy Cole & the Moon by Gina Farago

Ivy Cole has returned to Doe Springs bringing her secret with her. But something else has also come to Doe Springs. Unlike Ivy who only stalks the guilty, this something else is much less discriminating.

One of the things I love about reading is being able to share a story you love with other people. I know that Naomi loves this book, so I really wanted to enjoy it too, but it didn't quite work for me. It's published under the Berkley Horror imprint so maybe it was just not close enough to the urban fantasy style I prefer. Saying that there was a lot about the story that I liked and appreciated. So I hope that comes across in the review.

I always love it when an author includes clues which get the reader thinking. The sentence in German from the platter (which even with my limited knowledge of the language I knew Ivy didn't translate correctly), the story written by IV in the back of Lykanthrop. How all these individual threads come together to reveal the mystery at the end. Also the fact that Ivy is a pale wolf whilst the other is dark, brought to mind the story about how we're all born with two wolves inside us fighting for dominance and the one who wins is the one we feed.

Some of the dialogue is incredibly clever and witty. Well worth concentrating on what's happening so you can appreciate these little gems.

p54 - "Good, strong backup with no interference. Gloria liked that in a deputy."

p55 - "He was turned out, professional, but not fussy. Ivy liked that in a deputy."

The scene with the kids in the woods looking for a werewolf is straight out of horror movie central. Full of atmosphere and tension, and from the moment things go pear-shaped you are waiting for at least one of them to get picked off.

I much preferred the second half of the book. The pace of the story builds up and we actually start to find out things about Ivy. Not only about her past, but also how she actually feels about things, as the world she's built for herself in Doe Springs comes under threat.

There seemed to be quite a bit of point of view head hopping, which I noticed more in the first part of the book. I'm not a big fan of this as I prefer to stay with one person and get to know them well. I think this is one device that limited my getting into the story.

All the way through I was trying to work out why I wasn't connecting with the characters. I felt like (especially in the first half of the book) I had a pane of glass in between me and what was happening on the page. It was a couple of days after I finished reading that I realized everyone in this story is alone. Ivy, Melvin, Gloria, Tee, Meeks, Ava. Sure, Ivy has her dogs, her pack, but apart from Doc's family there are no human connections in the book. Melvin desperately wants to make a connection, he wants a wife and family, but he's thwarted. I guess one of the things I like to see in a story is the emotional growth of the characters in some way, and I felt that was missing. The characters all start out alone, and at the conclusion most of them are even more alone than before.

At the end of the book I don't feel I ever got to know Ivy. I appreciated the story, and at the end it's satisfying how everything comes together. I just wish I'd enjoyed it more.

I'd recommend this one for werewolf fans looking for something more realistic and gritty.

1 comment:

Naomi said...

Aw, I'm sorry shame you didn't enjoy it more, but different strokes and all that...

Personally I was surprised to find this under Horror at first, but after reading it I was reminded of Tom Piccarilli's November Mourning, which has similar themes and settings, and is definitely a horror story.