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Grimm Woods Kindle Edition
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"Every fairy tale has a dark side..."
A remote summer camp becomes a lurid crime scene when the bodies of two teenagers are found in a bloody, real-life rendering of a classic Grimm's fairy tale. Trapped in the wilderness, the remaining counselors must follow a trail of dark children's fables to outwit a psychopath and save the dwindling survivors before falling prey to their own gruesome endings.
Camp Crownheart, is a fairy tale themed summer camp for troubled children. Counselors with a mixture of experience have arrived a day before the camp opens, to get to know each other and to understand how the camp works and it's rules. The introductions have this old school vibe, the counselors are all about 19 years old, there is the obvious mix of male, female, race and class. Their focus is more on the first night party with the promise of sex and drugs and not learning how to keep the next busload of kids safe. The men are obviously mostly looking for a good time, and it seems a lot of the girls are thinking the same. Crownheart, in my mind's eye is looking and feeling like Friday The 13's Camp Crystal, its in woodland, by a lake, you have a bunch of sexually active, drug taking, beer swilling teenagers, you know murder is obviously on the agenda. I'm a huge fan of the 80's slasher genre, so the stereo-typical characters in a familiar horror setting didn't bother me at all. The writing is fast paced, with a style that initially keeps me interested, Melhoff had me in his pocket, I'm now sitting here waiting for the mayhem to start. With the story about to kick off in earnest, the author references something modern, I found that jarring. Hang on, I thought this was the 80's! This was working perfectly as an homage, everything in my head was ready for '85. Attitudes were rightly or wrongly different 30 years ago, now those somewhat sleazy comments made about the girls seemed wrong, the drug references move from the classic movie stoner to something darker, it was a shift in tone I didn't appreciate.
I don't want to spoil anything about this book, but again in classic 80's slasher style, the first deaths are inexplicably dismissed, the camp is kept open, as closing would 'hurt the hundreds of kids that are due to arrive'. The indifference to these deaths from all parties seems odd, it makes a large proportion of the characters unlikable. As the book progresses and more deaths occur, characters are still acting oddly, with one lead still maintaining his workout routine, even though mayhem is going on around him. Finding themselves trapped in a building, conversations are occasionally light and playful, almost flirtatious. When counselors of the opposite sex are alone together, you expect them to start ripping each others clothes off, there is an omnipresent air of sexual tension, which is bewildering as one such scene occurs in a room often tainted by the smell of rotting flesh! At one point, the announcement of the deaths of two counselors is made in such a flippant way, it's hardly surprising no-one reacts! I was finding myself being pulled out of the story due to the unbelievable way some of these people were behaving. This was not helped by a middle section that was incredibly tough to get through, a lot of people were running about, letting off fireworks, flirting, running into woods alone, avoiding death, working out, flirting, playing games, avoiding death, flirting and for two of the leads, they developed sleuthing skills to make Sherlock Holmes jealous! Add to that some annoyingly convenient plotting the transition to the last act was complete.
Had this book been set in the 80's, it would have been an enjoyable novel with nods to classic horror tropes. Setting this book in modern times, I struggled to feel much for anyone. Behaviour that would have stood out as odd even in Friday The 13th stands out as baffling in 2016, the characters were all acting like exaggerated versions of their 80's slasher counterparts. The premise for deaths based on the original Grimm fairy tales was a good one, but we mostly discover the aftermath and, for me, there is no suspense in that. When Melhoff actually has a victim trapped and is cranking up the tension it works, sadly there was not enough of this. It's difficult to have an emotional response to the death of a character who's only presence in the book was a couple of lines of text 50 pages earlier.
A flawed novel sadly, the main problem, setting aside, once you stop caring about the characters, especially the leads, then it's never going to be a fairy tale ending.
One of the challenges of the fantasy genre is creating the fantasy world in which the story is set. Rather than the usual Gothic pile of the horror genre, Melhoff has created a holiday camp interwoven with fairy stories as his horror world. It works fantastically well.
The writing is very good, disappearing from the page and building a dynamic three-dimensional image in my mind, film-like in its intensity. The structure is excellent. It's a long book, yet there are no boring passages. At no point was I tempted to put it down.
A load of little kids arrive at the holiday camp, to be greeted by four adults and a bunch of teenagers who are there to guide them. The teenagers have a wild first night, but then they start to be murdered. Even the adults start to be murdered. What's going on? Who is the madman? Why were they all invited?
I surprised myself when reading this book. I cannot believed I actually enjoyed reading this book. As much as I loved reading fairy tales story and Cinderella is my all time favorite, Grimm Woods is a twist from regular fairy tales stories. This book is disgustingly but scary good. It is actually hard to put it down. I start reading it at night and finished the following day.
I never been to summer camp or things closed to that. This story is full of adventures. It is a typical teenagers that deals with situations like drugs and sex which is normal when you explore new things in life. I am so glad I did not experienced those kind of situations when I was at their age. I did not see it coming. I was blown away. This book will teach you how to survive and be responsible.
Scott and Brynn are my favorite characters. I loved the setting and I know that my family will enjoy that kind of environment. This book is a must read if you love horror. I am not a fan of horror but I did surprised myself enjoying this story.
I received this book free of charge from the author or publisher.
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