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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent fairytale with that added extra for adults
I have never been a great fan of James Herbert, only liking a few of his books, but this is a great read. It offers that quaint English charm that often appears in JH's books making you wish you could visit these places of which he writes and also helps you to relive the stories of your childhood. It is not as scary as I would have liked it to be, but I am glad I read...
Published on 6 Nov 2001

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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars very disappointing, Herbert running out of original ideas...
I have been a die hard fan of James herbert since I was 11 years old, The first book I read was "The Fog", since then every book he has written has been bought, borrowed and even stolen! His whole collection of thrilling horror adorn my bookcase,all in original condition,lovingly taken care of,re-read at least half and dozen times each. In short, I think he is...
Published on 22 Nov 2001 by Elizadoolittle


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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent fairytale with that added extra for adults, 6 Nov 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Once... (Hardcover)
I have never been a great fan of James Herbert, only liking a few of his books, but this is a great read. It offers that quaint English charm that often appears in JH's books making you wish you could visit these places of which he writes and also helps you to relive the stories of your childhood. It is not as scary as I would have liked it to be, but I am glad I read it as it has reminded me what a joy it is for a child to believe in these things and I will make sure that my son gets his fair share of fairy stories when he is old enough to understand. I also thought that it was a nice surprise to see pictures in the book, which are greatly drawn. The immagination can only go so far and sometimes needs a push in the right direction! All in all, I would reccomend this book to anyone, be they a horror fan or otherwise. It is scary enough for all the non-horror fan's but with just enough for the horror reader.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars very disappointing, Herbert running out of original ideas..., 22 Nov 2001
This review is from: Once... (Hardcover)
I have been a die hard fan of James herbert since I was 11 years old, The first book I read was "The Fog", since then every book he has written has been bought, borrowed and even stolen! His whole collection of thrilling horror adorn my bookcase,all in original condition,lovingly taken care of,re-read at least half and dozen times each. In short, I think he is the greatest horror writer ever and I respect him enormously for keeping me awake and on the brink of nightmares after reading his books.
So imagine my excitement when ONCE came out, immediantly I seized it, (paid for this time!- a present) in Hardback, not wasting time, I read the whole thing in an afternoon.
I was very disappointed. What can I say...it had a familiar ring to it, Herbert wrote, the fantastic "The Magic Cottage", ONCE was a watered down version.
Both have a Magical Cottage with strange things happening, while the occupier tried to figure out what was going on and what was going "bump in the night", both showed the "good" and the "bad" slowly emerging out of the woodwork. Both have a Forest. Both feature the Baddie being defeated. This did not feel like Herbert usual sharp rivetting style at all.
Instead it felt like a Writer who has writers block, and is desperately grabbing at old stuff and trying to churn it into new and Modern.
Inshort: RE-cycled. To read one review who compared him to JK Rowling is an insult to an Old Fan of Herberts.
The book is Pretty, illustrations will never be replace our imagination, and all I felt that effect acheived was just to reassure me that it wasn't as horrible as my imagination pictured!
After reading ONCE, I picked up my old Hardback of The Magic Cottage (of which I have two, one signed by Herbert himself years ago) and was convinced that, yes, he has lost the "magic" with his new offering.
Herbert, please restore my faith in you!
ONCE has no BITE at all.. "For adults"? Only the sexually explicit scene with a faery and a lesbian rape. Something cheap and nasty to be found in Adult mags lining the top shelf.
He has alway had a Sex-horror element in a few of his work, but it was there for a reason.This was just thrown in to pep-up the bland storyline.
I recommend MAGIC COTTAGE, ONCE you read that,(pardon the pun),you will know what I mean, to all old fans of Herbert, I am sure you will agree with me.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An olde fashioned ghost story, 10 Oct 2001
By 
Mr. Paul J. Stephen (Leeds) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Once... (Hardcover)
James Herbert is a great story-teller. An author who I always look forward to reading.
A friend of mine says his story are often very 'twee' and British, and it has to be said this follows the previous novels like The Magic Cottage, Haunted, etc etc very well. The old fashioned ghost stories are certainly a genre of the past when looking over the new horror releases and it is refreshing the James comes along every year or so to gives us another fix.
Not his best really but a solid interesting and spooky tale with the undertones of an adult fairy story. Sexual in nature, with portions taken from his other works... but he writes such a fine yarn that you are taken along at pace. The haunted woods , mansion , cottage are all here, and sewn together with a needle full of witchcraft.
If you've read his other stuff you know what your getting... if not try The Fog or the Rats trilogy first.
Recommended!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars not a patch on crickley hall, 18 Jan 2013
This review is from: Once... (Paperback)
having been given the secret of crickley hall at xmas, iborrowed this, but it's like chalk and cheese. this is not so much stuff and nonsense as smut and nonsense.i am not prudish, but i just found it rather an odd combination. also, the constant lyrical descriptions of scents, colours and tame creatures in the wood became tiresome after a while.the actual plot buried in amongst this is not too bad, however, but i feel it could have been better handled. i have ash on order, so hope i shll not regret it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars From a Herbert virgin., 17 Mar 2011
By 
M. Cooper "Mick Cooper" (Worcestershire, England.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Once... (Paperback)
Ooer missus! I wasn't expecting that! Describing the sex scenes in this book as graphic would be the understatement of the century. Not one for your granny (it all depends, of course, on the granny in question), but then "there's nowt as queer as folk"; or, in this case "faeriefolk". Maybe this should have been published by Star Paperbacks (the well known "adult" line).
Not a bad read at all; though I raised an eyebrow at at the writer's description of Nightingale song in the book's Shropshire setting (the species hasn't bred in the county for over 30 years), and the observation of Red Deer stags in full antler, at the same time of year (Nightingales have stopped singing, and packed their bags for Africa months before the stags acquire antlers).
"You sad, old pedant!" I hear you say; but, regardless of the subject matter, one would hope that authors undertake at least a modicum of research in the hope of creating a convincing scenario. The unseasonal antler issue could, I suppose, be a result of all the all the hormones knocking around this country estate. After all, everyone else seems to have "the horn", why shouldn't the stags? Furthermore, while we're still on the biological side of things: Why is it always the poor old corvids (crow family) that get cast as the agents of evil in this sort of stuff? I long for the day when I can read about "Demon Chaffinches".

Rant over. Buy it, read it, and enjoy it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunted Fairy Tale, 19 Sep 2008
By 
Martin Belcher (Hampshire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Once... (Paperback)
This James Herbert novel is very different to many of his others and introduces us to Thom Kindred who after a serious accident returns to his childhood home of Little Bracken set deep in the mysterious forest surrounding the stately home of Castle Bracken.

The narrative sets up quite a spooky feeling about the setting and also the both houses. The Characters of Hugo Bleeth and Nell Quick are not who they seem and then we find out that the forest is populated by a whole host of incredible mythical animals and elves and wicked evil creatures from our nightmares and fairy tales that interact with Thom.

The story is very original and sometimes erotic, sometimes menacing; I wouldn't exactly call it Horror, more a good old fashioned haunted love story. Very good none the less.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Snow White meets The elves and the shoemaker, 15 May 2002
By 
I Weltch (Portsmouth, Hants United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Once... (Paperback)
I expected a 'SCARY' version of a fairy-tale but what I actually found was an 'ADULT' version of a fairy-tale. Adult being sexual content rather than the thrills and chills of a good horror read. 'Once' had all the usual fairy tale content, the good witch (actually a mermaid type girl), the evil witch, who, to Herbert's credit, was in fact deliciously evil and the good elf who helps our hero. I was expecting more from an author of such brilliant novels as 'Creed' and 'The Dark' but I was disappointed by the fact that the sexual content seemed to overpower the storyline.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars FAERIES AND MAGICK, 16 May 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Once... (Paperback)
I don't think James Herbert is a good writer. His prose is unwieldy and his characters lifeless. However, he is often a good storyteller, and he has a talent for creating macabre horror set-pieces, for example the man pecked to death by his racing pigeons in "The Fog".
Every so often though the James Herbert Fiction Machine throws a wobbly and we get something like "Once". The premise, that fairies really do exist at the bottom of the garden, is interesting enough, but the story gets lost among endless descriptions of the countryside and the inclusion of laughable attempts at erotic scenes does nothing to help.
My advice is, give it a miss.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 6 Aug 2006
By 
Eclipse "suz29" (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Once... (Paperback)
What a shame as I was really looking forward to reading it, I'm interested in wicca, magick, faeries and also big James Herbert fan so this book seemed to be right up my street, unfortunately not! At first it held my attention and had some interesting characters but as the story unfolded I found myself wishing the book to end. The only thing that made me smile was the welcome return of Rumbo!! I am still a huge fan of Herbert but not of this particular book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fairy tale - or is it real !, 9 Sep 2013
By 
David H J Ashdown (Wales) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Once... (Paperback)
A fairy tale for adults - When Tom Kindred , recuperating from a stroke that caused a car accident , returns to his childhood home "Little Bracken" he encounters more than he expected in the guise of fairies elves goblins witches and other other-worldly creatures inhabiting the world between this dimension and the next that only sensitive people can experience. Some creatures are benevolent and others malevolent which is what you might expect in an existence where free will is practiced and some beings won't be satisfied until they have it all - seem familiar !! Some of the descriptions were reminiscent of The Celestine Prophecy and were very believable , in fact I see no harm in accepting James Herbert's fictional tale as having a great deal of truth contained within its pages I mean if the majority of people on this plant believe in a "God" or "Gods" of some sort or another what's to stop fairies elves witches and goblins from existing as well , they seem to be just as likely and in all probability their existence seems to make more sense. One to ponder on , but don't dismiss the "little people" as just for kids they may very well be real.
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Once... by James Herbert
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