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4.0 out of 5 stars Ghost story meets folklore with a shot of Americana, 20 Aug 2014
This review is from: Sparrow Hill Road (Paperback)
In 1952, 16-year-old Rose Marshall died on Sparrow Hill Road while driving to the school prom, run off the road by Bobby Cross, who sold his soul at the crossroads to live forever. Now her soul belongs to Bobby, but she's not planning on giving it to him. If he wants it, he's got to catch her.

As a ghost, Rose hitchhikes around America, drawn to try and help those who die in car crashes. She's met many people over the last 60 years and has been given many names, such as the Girl in the Diner or the Phantom Prom Date, but the one thing she wants most is her freedom - and it's time she set out to get it ...

Seanan McGuire's ghost story blends horror with dark fantasy in a tightly plotted novel that combines folklore with faerie lore and adds a shot of pure Americana to largely successful effect. The episodic feel to the story as Rose recounts various events from her life and death mostly worked for me and although some of the twists are telegraphed too early, there were still plenty of surprises. I particularly enjoyed the romance between Rose and her prom date Gary, which is sweetly shown without being sentimental and Bobby Cross is a great villain - the ultimate sneering 50s bad boy with a very nasty dark side. I wasn't that taken with Rose herself who reminded me a little too much of Tobey Daye and Georgia Mason from McGuire's other work and I found Rose's bean sidhe friend, Emma, a little two dimensional (although the folklore element she represented fitted in nicely in this world). The book leaves enough loose ends to allow for a sequel, which I would definitely check out.

The best scenes for me involve the routewitches (people who travel America's roads and take supernatural strength from it) - particularly Rose's great niece Bethany (a routewitch with plans to get out of Buckley where Rose died) and Apple, the queen of the routewitches - as they combine sadness and menace to chilling effect. I also really enjoyed the glossary at the back, which explains and expands on the terms used in the book and shows the depth of McGuire's world building. Some of the plot developments are a little predictable but McGuire writes well enough to pull it off and keep me turning the pages.
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Sparrow Hill Road
Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire (Paperback - 6 May 2014)
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