Maggie Holt has lived all her life in the shadows of her father’s book, an account of the twenty days they spent in the Victorian estate called Baneberry Hall, before fleeing in the dead of night and swearing never to come back. House of Horrors, that’s the title of the book, is an allegedly true account of the haunted house and the spirits that tried to kill five-year-old Maggie during their stay. She has no recollection of the events, but the success of the book has shaped all of her relationships: from the kids asking her about ghosts, to the teenagers inviting her to seances, to the hundreds of people who, at the mention of her name, ask her: What was it like? Living in that house.
In this last period I’m finding it hard to focus on reading and writing, and so I’ve been picking up more short fiction than usual. I usually end up really liking it – do we want to talk about the satisfaction of finishing something in one sitting? – but sadly I found both of these reads very underwhelming. I mean, the ideas were there, the settings were interestings, but the stories themselves just fell flat. So this is a double-review post, in which I’ll try to explain the reason why I felt this way.
A month ago, more or less, I finished reading Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson. While the book was not a new favourite – kind of forgettable, to be honest – most of the reviews I read agree that the eight books mentioned in the infamous list are all better than the novel itself. Mystery is not my go-to genre, but I do enjoy it most of the time when I pick it up and I liked the idea of reading some older books in the genre. I hadn’t read any of these books in the past, I was curious, and it sounded like a good idea for a blog post.
Fair warning: this book will feel extremely slow for those who are used to action packed, fast reads. That said, if you are like me and it doesn’t bother you at all, then read this book. It’s brilliant.
A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians is a historical fantasy book that recounts the events of the French Revolution, but with magic in the mix. Before we get into too many details, let me paint a picture of the world we are in.
Witchers are magically enhanced humans who fight monsters for money. They are faster and stronger than humans, live longer, possess extraordinary skills and make use of elixirs that could kill a normal person to enhance their abilities; they also feel no emotion, thanks to their special training, and they are feared and hated by most people.
Geralt of Rivia is one of them, maybe the most famous. With his milky white hair, his two swords, and his wolf medallion, he travels looking for jobs to make a living. He will encounter monsters, but also elves and druids, wizards and sorcerers, queens and bards and druids.