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Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 12/01/2014 After his mother is institutionalized with a sudden mental illness, Stephen moves with his father from Denver to Spencer, Michigan, population 816. At first, Stephen thinks that Spencer’s inhabitants are hicks, the town is rundown and boring, and his father has spinelessly abandoned his mother, and he is counting the days till his eighteenth birthday—and escape. A charismatic set of twins makes life more interesting, though, and Stephen falls hard for beautiful Cara and befriends her brother, Devon, and his crew of followers. Through them, Stephen learns of the village legend—the Winged Ones—who bring bad times to Spencer until they are appeased by a human sacrifice. Rumor or truth? The tension builds from the first scene, but stock characters abound, and few, if any, clues are provided for a pull-the-rug-out-from-under-you ending. In addition, Brewer’s treatment of mental illness is unfortunate: Stephen’s mother comes down with delusions suddenly, like a case of measles. Still, fans of Brewer’s Slayer Chronicles will be creating demand for this new supernatural thriller. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: An all-in marketing campaign, including plenty of social media outreach, will put this on the radar of readers beyond Brewer’s already extensive fan base. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 01/01/2015 Gr 9 Up—Forced by financial stress to leave his mother behind in a mental health institution, Stephen and his father reluctantly move to a tiny town to live with his bitter, unhappy grandmother. Stephen's summer starts to look brighter when he meets cute outcast Cara and her fun-loving brother Devon. As the townspeople reveal their bizarre local mythology, Stephen slowly discovers that Devon's gang is up to something more sinister than just drinking in the cemetery, but it may be bigger and darker than he can imagine. Stephen is a well-developed character, with the right amount of snark, lust, and angst for an honest portrayal of a 16 year old. The dark, mysterious tone combined with a surprise ending bolster the book's thematic warning on the danger of belief. Instantly engaging—with plenty of suspense surrounding the town's secret—this supernatural mystery will please fans of Brewer's previous vampire hunter series (Dutton) and new readers looking for less paranormal, and more quiet horror.—Hannah Farmer, Austin Public Library, TX - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 04/01/2015 Stephen and his father are dreading moving to his father’s tiny hometown, but there’s no choice; his father is broke from paying the bills for Stephen’s mother’s institutional care, so they have to move in with Stephen’s grandmother. A sexy, enigmatic girl named Cara is an instant perk to the move for Stephen, and her twin brother provides Stephen with enough drunken late-night escapades and mysterious, slightly dangerous scenarios to keep him uncomfortable yet gratefully distracted from his mundane life. The town itself is the memorable character in this novel: it’s claustrophobic and vaguely foreboding, with the perfect library basement where grim secrets can be uncovered, and a ramshackle graveyard ideal for gritty climactic scenes. Unfortunately, there are not really any humans to like, as Stephen is wearingly self-centered, and the twins are goth/emo caricatures. Even so, there’s no denying the creepiness of this title, so for horror fans who appreciate setting and world-building more than character development, this book may offer enjoyable creepiness. AS - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.