Release Date: July 10th, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Source: NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Blurb: In an exquisitely chilling debut novel, four children unravel the mystery of a family curse - and a ghostly creature known in folklore as Long Lankin.
When Cora and her younger sister, Mimi, are sent to stay with their elderly aunt in the isolated village of Byers Guerdon, they receive a less-than-warm welcome. Auntie Ida is eccentric and rigid, and the girls are desperate to go back to London. But what they don't know is that their aunt's life was devastated the last time two young sisters were at Guerdon Hall, and she is determined to protect her nieces from an evil that has lain hidden for years. Along with Roger and Peter, two village boys, Cora must uncover the horrifying truth that has held Bryers Guerdon in its dark grip for centuries - before it's too late for little Mimi. Riveting and intensely atmospheric, this stunning debut will hold readers in its spell long after the last page is turned.
Review: I requested this book from NetGalley because the blurb really caught my attention. It sounded gothic, creepy, and atmospheric, which is something I usually like. This book was NO exception. I had no expectations going into reading this, I was just hoping I would like it a lot, and I did. It was absolutely amazing. Not a perfect read for me, but I really enjoyed Long Lankin and savored every page, taking my time.
I think my tastes are pretty transparent to all who read my reviews. I usually like strong world-building, a fair amount of descriptive passages (but not over-the-top description), and strong characterizations. These are the things I am usually always looking for while reading. And this book hit all of them except for the strong characterizations. While I think the characters were written well, I felt they were lacking depth. They were definitely more than just a name with a face, but I know that I didn't care for them as much as I should. It didn't feel right. Something was missing.
This is a very creepy book. While it's not gory in the least, there are some moments that really messed with my head. It's the atmosphere and tension that work together to really involve the reader in the story. I would read pages and pages of what I thought were unimportant conversations and scenes, and then something would happen that made it all worthwhile. I don't scare easily but this book made my skin crawl in a couple of places. It doesn't happen immediately though, which leads to my next point.
The pacing...is a bit slow. If you are looking for a quick payoff, this may not be the book for you. A lot of YA readers look for books that are quickly paced with a lot of plot. If that sounds like you, you may not like this one. It's not that there isn't a plot--there is, it just takes awhile to get there. Atmospheric settings and building tension are extremely important to the author and she takes her time telling the story. Once you get to the end, the payoff is worth it (although the last page left me a little confused).
I can't actually talk about the plot and what happens without revealing things that would be best left to the reader to discover. This is a book that needs to be experienced and definitely not rushed. I am extremely glad I read most of this on my vacation. It really enhanced the experience. Word of warning though--if you scare easily, I would not recommend reading this in the dark. Muahahahaha.
See the book trailer below: