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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An odd book
To be honest this is a really difficult book to review. There are both some truly wonderful and totally awful parts to it. Lets start with the good:the images that Nevill creates are fantastically disturbing and dark. The best parts are the descriptions of the contents of the twisted house which really leap out of the page and stay with you long after the boook is closed...
Published 11 months ago by Snowflakes

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars House of long yawns
This book was ok, but was so drawn out that by the end I didn't care what happened. A couple of hundred pages seemed to be spent doing nothing in particular. Maybe I'm being cruel but there are only so many times I can read sequences where walking down a corridor at night has cosmic significance. The main character was so useless and had less life in her than a rag doll...
Published 11 months ago by Acton


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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An odd book, 29 Dec 2013
This review is from: House of Small Shadows (Paperback)
To be honest this is a really difficult book to review. There are both some truly wonderful and totally awful parts to it. Lets start with the good:the images that Nevill creates are fantastically disturbing and dark. The best parts are the descriptions of the contents of the twisted house which really leap out of the page and stay with you long after the boook is closed. Nevill is very successful at taking the old cliche of a haunted house and doing some new and intriguing things with it. I have read a lot of horror and I must admit I am fairly jaded but this book actually managed to scare me (Nevill's other books succeed in this as well). However the plot is a little meh. The actual story doesn't go anywhere,the main chracter is merely a victim who doesn't seem to possess her own agency and she makes some rather nonsensical decisons which lets down the story. In general I'd say that Nevill isn't very good at female characters which is a pity because his male characters are actually very good.

Read this book for the amazing (and terrible) images but don't hope for the plot to go anywhere. But even with its flaws it is still vastly superior to 90% of so-called "horror" published these days. Overall I think the concept of "the journey is better than the destination" applies quite well here.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bizarre and twisted concept with some great horror elements ., 15 Oct 2013
By 
JK "J. K." (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
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I'm a real fan of Adam Nevill having read all of his novels and even gone to great lengths to search out his short stories. I'm used to his style of writing. Ready for the bizarre and wacky. Waiting for him to wander away from his original thread only to return pages later with something truly dark and scary. House of Small Shadows starts off as typical Nevill, completely off-the-wall, but once he hit his stride I was hooked, at least for the first half.

In this novel Nevill has gone back to traditional, typical, horror and added his own unique, nightmare, twists. An old house in the middle of nowhere shelters weird, demonic characters and offers to reveal a particularly evil history. Dolls, puppets and stuffed animals abound around the house and are used to great effect to create a sense of unease with their ever watchful glass eyes and the subtle suggestions that maybe that one moved?. Nice twist in the name of the house, 'The Red House', which throws up suggestions of madness, war, blood and murder and it's obvious that once a mentally frail woman, damaged by inexplicable events in her past, is called to the house it's not going to end well for anyone.

There are some nicely written macabre details set around the character of The Red House which seems to shift and alter with a life of it's own, while the old town at the end of the lane has it's own fair share of secrets and shadows. Most of the 'nasty' comes in the form of taxidermy, bizarre ritual and a real sense of building insanity. The puppet angle is well constructed and packed with themes almost too horrible to contemplate. I was fascinated by the history and tradition of the puppet troupe but amazed at how little was made of that towards the latter stages of the novel, which brings me neatly to my real criticism; House of Small Shadows is a novel of two distinct halves.

The first half of the novel sets up the mystery, sets the stage and introduces the main characters. It can be a little vague at times, does repeat itself but has enough eerie, supernatural angles I'm willing to forgive that. However; the second half of the novel is little more than a ramble. There are times when it's so far fetched and Nevill has to reach so far to join the threads the whole thing becomes unbelievable and almost impossible to stay with. What was a wonderfully original plot packed with 'nasty' dissolves into little more than a cliche and the repetitive themes of insanity and breakdown amble on far too long. I'm sorry Adam Nevill but this really isn't one of your best.

How can I give 4* to a novel I was disappointed by? Adam Nevill is usually one of the best writers of horror and the first half of House of Small Shadows promised to be one of the best horror novels I've read for a long time. That's why I've given 4*. His initial themes of insanity, missing children, huge displays of dead rodents and a troupe of macabre puppets were thoroughly unsettling and chilling. I'm just sorry to say that at half way the plot loses it's way and the predictable, rather confused ending doesn't save it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbingly creepy, 13 Jan 2014
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Opinion among other reviewers of this book appears to be pretty divided, but I would certainly number myself among those who thoroughly enjoyed it. A lot of modern horror novels seem to be rather formulaic, but I found this story to be a welcome departure. Having been a devotee of horror/supernatural literature for well over 50 years, perhaps my tastes have become a little jaded, but I found this novel genuinely different and disturbingly creepy. I had read "The Ritual" by the same author previously and will certainly be looking for more from his pen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars House of Small Shadows, 8 Feb 2014
By 
Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: House of Small Shadows (Paperback)
I’ve read a couple of books by this author, and they are great spooky horror reads. The Ritual in particular was both horrifying and enthralling so I held out great hopes for this book.

“DON’T NEVER COME BACK”

Catherine Howard works for Osberne, a firm of valuers and auctioneers, and is asked to value the contents of the Red House, which had been the home of M H Mason, master taxidermist and puppeteer until he committed suicide many years previous. Since then, his niece, now 93 years of age has been the curator of his works, most of which have never been seen by the outside world. (See – spooky already!) Only the elderly Edith and one servant live in the house; the rest of the rooms seem to be filled with specimens of Mason’s work – horrifying, vivid recreations of desperate moments of war and death and destruction; skilfully captured animals frozen in a moment in time; dark visions, chemical aromas, skitterings around the corners of each corridoor, hushed noises outside the closed door of Catherine’s bedroom. Catherine has always lived on the edge of her nerves; will this experience drive her over the edge?

My goodness, this novel spooked me. Almost all the narrative is that of Catherine, as she finds herself in a nightmare she can’t seem to get out of. So the reader is drawn into that nightmare as she descends into it, and we feel and discover the things that she feels and discovers at the same time. I found this book totally riveting; I was engrossed from the first page to the last, but only put it down when I couldn’t bear to keep reading at night – I think this is a ‘to be read in the bright light of day’ book. Great stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars House of long yawns, 31 Dec 2013
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This review is from: House of Small Shadows (Paperback)
This book was ok, but was so drawn out that by the end I didn't care what happened. A couple of hundred pages seemed to be spent doing nothing in particular. Maybe I'm being cruel but there are only so many times I can read sequences where walking down a corridor at night has cosmic significance. The main character was so useless and had less life in her than a rag doll. Pardon the pun.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars house of small shadows, 17 Dec 2013
Enjoyable, I think id have liked a little more explanation to the plot, but managed to enjoy the story anyway. I liked the idea of an old mansion and its contents in need of evaluation. Creepy. Wouldn't like to give away any of this books secrets, so I'll say no more. Discover it for yourself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant scary and I am hard to scare, 17 Nov 2013
By 
H "hp" (cambridge england) - See all my reviews
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Well I was prepared for a good story yes,but not to actually be bit scared n I was . Nothing much has scared me since maybe the eerie clown in it an some of the madness I. James Herbert's the dark,ok it not as epic as those but still a chilling read, I liked all of the novel n did not see it as two parts as some do. The descriptions of the work of MH mason is fab creepy, u can really visualize the house and its contents.the characters are well drawn an stay with you, only criticism is that at the end her shift was too quick .can't say more than that. Well done Adam . I M now going to down load the ritual an last days .I have read apartment 16 an was not blown away though was an earlier novel,this was a creepy ride
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great novel!, 16 Oct 2013
By 
Amazon Customer (Kettering, Northants United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: House of Small Shadows (Paperback)
Catherine Howard is a valuer for Leonard Osberne, Auctioneer of antiques, an old fashioned firm that suits her down to the ground. Escaping from an incident in London - which resulted in her losing her previous job, home and friends - she's determined to get her life back on track and with a new job and settled relationship, things are starting to look brighter. When she's asked to catalogue the estate of M H Mason, a renowned taxidermist, she's excited by the possibilities, especially when she understands the extent of his cache of antique dolls and puppets. Upon visiting Red House, Mason's country mansion which is now occupied by his eldery niece Edith and Maude, the mute housekeeper, she discovers that it's very close to where she grew up and suffered a terrible, bullied childhood. And when Edith introduces Catherine to her late uncle's dark art, shadows from those dreaded days begin to close in.

This is another stunning novel from Adam Nevill (following last years "Last Days") and this time he uses the supernatural and unnerving possibilities of old dolls and puppets to great effect (and gives Hartley Hare, from Pipkins, a heads up in the afterword), mixing them with an out-of-the-way location and a ruined, deserted village. On top of this atmosphere - and the book is dripping in it - he weaves the story of confused and oppressed Catherine, badly bullied as a child - "Smelly Cathy Howard, dopted, dopted" - who hasn't managed to escape the pain or taunting which has followed her into adulthood. In fact, the target of her uncharacteristic violence in London, Tara, manages to create ripples that run through the whole book. Nevill creates a wonderful sense of otherworldliness about the house and some of his set pieces - looking around the village, the small faces at the window, the beekeeper where there are no bees - are genuinely unnerving whilst a sequence with Catherine, who may or may not have been drugged, trying to find light in the house is brilliantly written, playing well on our claustrophobic fear of the dark. As with "Last Days", he has created an intense and intricate mythology - cruelty plays - that constantly nips at the narrative and adds weight to the fantastical elements of the plot.

Superbly constructed, with vivid and often unnerving characters, this suffers a little in the pacing around the start of the final act but is otherwise a creepy masterclass of supernatural writing and, for a horror fan, highly recommended reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved It, 13 Nov 2013
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Creepy, claustrophobic, chilling and absolutely brilliant.
You can feel the atmospheres that Adam Neville creates as you read this book, a very intense read, liked the little tie in to Apartment 16 too.
Can't wait to see what Mr Nevill comes up with next.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A let down, 16 Nov 2013
I bought this book having read all of the authors previous novels. They were excellent, especially 'The Ritual', which is one of the best horror novels i have ever read. I bought the latest with great expectations but was disappointed. I just found the whole thing disjointed and confusing with gaping holes in the narrative, i was so disappointed. Maybe its just that i was expecting much more, but if you are a first time reader of this author i suggest you start with 'The Ritual'.
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House of Small Shadows
House of Small Shadows by Adam Nevill (Paperback - 10 Oct 2013)
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