Thursday, April 12, 2018

A Dark and Gothic Tale - The Atrocities Review

TITLE: The Atrocities
AUTHOR: Jeremy Shipp
PUBLISHER: Tor.com
PUBLISHING DATE: April 17, 2018

FROM GOODREADS: When Isabella died, her parents were determined to ensure her education wouldn't suffer.

But Isabella's parents had not informed her new governess of Isabella's... condition, and when Ms Valdez arrives at the estate, having forced herself through a surreal nightmare maze of twisted human-like statues, she discovers that there is no girl to tutor.
Or is there...?

MY THOUGHTS:  This is one of my most anticipated books this year and lately I've been seeing it everywhere. So I was thrilled when I received an ARC from Netgalley and Tor.com in exchange for an honest review. "The Atrocities" tells the story of Danna Valdez who is hired by a somewhat eccentric couple, Mr. and Mrs. Evers, to tutor their daughter Isabella. When she arrives, she first has to navigate the maze depicted on the cover which is staged with scary and horrific statues - The Atrocities. Danna soon catches on that things might not be as they originally seemed with the family and honestly, with all the characters acting so odd, it was pretty much an obvious conclusion. During the tale, Danna explores what is real and what is imaginary and often the line between becomes quite blurred.

I really enjoyed "The Atrocities." It has a very Gothic feel and the mood and atmosphere is intensified by Shipp's writing. As a reader, I was never quite sure where the story was headed but enjoyed finding out. I liked Danna, as well as the house staff which helped her navigate the home and her new position, even if everyone did seem "off" from the beginning. In fact, I sort of felt as if I was watching a dream sequence while reading. 

My main complaint with the book is actually one of the reasons I picked it up so quickly - its length. "The Atrocities" is just a novella and like a lot of novellas, I found myself wanting more. I would have liked to have had a little more story because one I figured out what was going on, I felt things wrapped up too quickly. In addition, I would have loved to know more about why some characters behaved as they did. Plus, Danna has a backstory which contributes to the tale, but I think more could have been said.

Despite my issues, I still really enjoyed this book. It was a quick read and eerie story and I will definitely keep my eye open for more books by Shipp as I am anxious to further explore his writing and storytelling.

RATING: 4 PAWS


18 comments:

  1. I find a lot of novellas could be nicely expanded into longer books. Sometimes you just need a little more detail.

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    1. Yea that's how I felt with this one but but it was still pretty good overall.

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  2. This certainly is an atmosphere packed gothic read. It's very unusual and I'm going to go back and reread the ending at least - not sure even now that I understand exactly what went on - perhaps it was a little bit too rushed. A good story though.
    Lynn :D

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    1. Yea it happened so fast I was like "huh?"

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  3. The cover is spooky! And I hear you about the length of the novella -- it can be supremely unsatisfying, but that's an indication of how good the books is I guess!

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  4. I'm not sure this would have worked as well if it were a full length novel, but I do wish the ending had made more sense. But then I read another review that called the ending "brilliant" so maybe I missed something?? Lol.

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    1. You're probably right. If it were full length, I'd probably be complaining that it was too slow and there was too much filler. I don't know if "brilliant" came to my mind so I must have missed something too!

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  5. This sounds so great! If I'm not mistaken, Shipp usual writes bizarro fiction which is probably why it's so unpredictable. I'm interested to see what I think of the end. No doubt I'll miss whatever it is that is supposed to be "brilliant" :)

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    1. Don't worry. If you miss it, you'll have good company. Even though Tammy and I both liked it, seems we missed it too!

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  6. yay I was dying to know what you thought about this book!
    I love atmospheric tales with Gothic feel!
    And the fact that you didn't know where the story was going at first says a lot about the plot even though it wrapped up too quickly :(
    And I think it is awesome that it felt like a dream sequence! I think I want to give it a try!

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  7. I want this! I didn't realize it was a novella. Fabulous review, as always! So sad the novella length left it short of a good finish. Still, I may need this one. :D

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    1. It was good and the novella length wasn't a huge issue - I think I just wanted more.

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  8. After having a recent run of luck with gothic horror lately, I'm definitely up for more! I'm going to have to try and fit this in before the month is over, I guess it's good that it's short :)

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

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    1. I am always intrigued by things labeled Gothic.

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  9. I'm a huge fan of the novella length so that may work in my favor! I'm glad to hear it's atmospheric. I definitely need to give it a read.

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