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4.3 out of 5 stars146
4.3 out of 5 stars
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First published in 1983, Shrine was the ninth novel of Herbert's to be released. He was already a very well-established horror writer, with a collection of classics of the genre under his belt. Shrine runs for 544 pages (epic for our Jim), which delivers a tale of horrific suspense. The novel takes a break from Herbert's splatterpunk roots, instead opting for a more atmospheric and haunting approach. The plot gradually unfolds throughout the novel, building up the suspense from the start. The characterisation is carefully constructed, bringing about a convincing hero character, Fenn. Herbert examines and develops on the conflicts between the religious organisations and the commercial world that we live in with an intelligent and thought-provoking manner. The book builds towards a massive finale which is where the book fails for me. The ending, (don't worry, I won't give it away) although thought-provoking and unexpected, left me feeling cheated. The tension towards the end is outstanding as Herbert has built the novel up to a peak, but it really fails to deliver a conclusion worthy of the build up. Our hero character who has led us through the novel seems to be more of a by-stander at the end rather than involved. Once the novel was finished, I was left in a haze of unrewarded emotions about the book, wishing that the ending had offered me something more to chew over.

Although this review has come out very negative, I must emphasise that it is still an enjoyable read. Ok, I felt cheated by the ending, but the tension created by Herbert's build-up is outstanding. The whole novel is extremely well written, creating a haunting atmosphere that is a pleasure to immerse yourself within.
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on 2 May 2007
Some books have flaws, but I really still enjoy them. 'Shrine' is one such book. Fenn is your typical local town reporter and he does not think anything exciting is going to happen on his night shift. This can't be further from the truth when he stumbles across a small girl lying in the road. She takes him to a strange tree and turns and speaks one sentence; nothing odd about this? It turns out that Alice is a deaf mute and that her talking is a miracle. Alice becomes increasingly drawn towards the tree and slowly a following of people gather to see her. It seems that she can harness the power of Mary to heal the ill, but is this a divine power for good or evil?

I really enjoyed the concept of 'Shrine' as it was not only a horror thriller, but an interesting discussion how religion and the media would treat a modern miracle. The book does feel a bit dated, but the core still holds up really well. I found the gentle pace matched the story perfectly and that the action set pieces in particular were described well.

I can see why some people find this book average as the pace is slow, it's dated and the middle is better than the end. However, for me the central threads of the story make it a lot better than its parts and it made me think about the story long after I finished reading it. This is the best complement that I can give a book.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 25 October 2012
The first thing you need to know about this book is that it is one of James Herberts' longer and wordier books. I thoroughly enjoyed the first two thirds of the book, but my attention really waned after that and I had to force myself to continue reading. The problem was that as the book went on the author seemed to get more and more verbose and I found myself skimming through large sections of the book - for example, I must have clicked the page forward button on the kindle 7 or 8 times just to bypass a section where Gerry Fenn was parking his car. There were also a few other people in the book (Paula springs to mind) who were mentioned at the start, maybe in one chapter, who we never met again until the end and it seemed to me that they just acted as filler characters and didn't really add anything to the story.

The story itself I enjoyed and really got into it during the first two thirds of the book, it is a classic James Herbert storyline - this time it is a young ambitious journalist investigating what appears at first glance to be the miracle healings that are being carried out by a young deaf-mute girl, Alice. We see the whole media frenzy that ensues and the reader does get caught up in the whole circus. Of course what we have is something far more sinister and evil than people can imagine.

To sum up, a good story which was, for me at any rate, a little too verbose and dragged on a tad in places.
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on 9 September 2014
A very good book which is about a young girl who believes she has seen the Virgin Mary,and thats when the trouble starts,as the girl can cure people of whatever they suffer from with powers that she has been given by the lady,and people come in their droves to see her,as all she has to do is to touch them and they would be cured,but things go wrong after a while, so If you havent yet read James Herbert as yet you are in for a treat with this one............
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on 18 March 2014
I've always thought that Herbert's novels were a bit twee and parochial, and this might well be one that falls into that category. Nevertheless it is an engaging read about a mute young girl who appears to have experienced a visitation from the Virgin Mary in the field beside the churchyard. Soon word has spread and the spot becomes the site of religious pilgrimages on a par with those at Lourdes. The main character, a jaded cynical journalist races against time and his own lack of religious beliefs to discover the truth and avert a disaster. All is not as it appears.

There are some great set pieces including the tanker fire and the final revelation. I initially read this as a teenager and recently revisited it following the untimely death of it's author and found it as enjoyable as I remembered it.
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on 5 September 2012
Shrine is a nice, creepy and well written read but I found the pacing excruciatingly slow in the latter stages of the book because it's a bit predictable and the story took a while to catch up to my predictions. Nothing was ever really a surprise. But this is an old book, maybe I'd be more suprised if I read this when it was first published, maybe all other books borowed their ideas from this one. But if you're an avid reader or watcher of film/tv, you can see what is coming a mile off.

I also found some of the characters pretty boring such as the shopkeeper and his mistress and the ambitious holy man. I know they have a reason at the end just so you can compare them to the main characters, but during the middle, they were really quite tedious to read.

I also found the reason for all the events happening and the powers were quite weak and non-believable. The ending was disappointing, mainly for it's predictability, but it is also over before it even started getting interesting.

But I did enjoy the creepy atmosphere when it was created, and it starts off really interestingly. The writer manages to create some really horrific scenes like the Mary statue and the car crash scene, they sent a chill down my spine. So there are good bits but I can't really bring myself to recommend this book with such a weak ending, which is one of the most crucial parts to any story.
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on 18 October 2014
A good read, but not as good as other books I've read by James Herbert.This was a long book, and a little long winded in places. I also found that the conclusion to the book whilst was suspenseful, I was a bit of a let down.
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on 22 April 2014
I bought this book as a gift for my dad and he was really thrilled with the book. James Herbert books are really good because the descriptions that James uses in his novels, really draw you into the story. Brilliant.
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on 4 June 2014
Always liked the slant James Herbert took when dealing with horror and the paranormal. It's a good read though in this instance the ending leaves you with a feeling that the latter part of the book was rushed
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on 8 April 2014
Kept my attention completely! Excellent book. I first read this book when it was first published in paperback, technology advances, James Herbert needs no improvement.
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