Monday, July 16, 2012

House of the Winter Moon by Sandra Hennig

Title: House of the Winter Moon
Series:  Rise of the Malandanti
Author: Sandra Hennig
Rating: 1 star

The Plot

When Sydney bought a new coat from the thrift store, she thought that all she was getting was a way to make a fabulous new fashion statement. She didn’t know that it came along with flashes into the past and conversations with a long-dead red-haired woman named Juliet. The ghost claims that she is trapped by a spell, and she needs Sydney and her friends to rescue her. So the teens begin researching the history of the town, specifically the magical folks who lived in Juliet’s now-abandoned house. With some help from local mystics, they discover that they can release Juliet from her curse. But the question is, do they want to?

The Good

The basic story of House of the Winter Moon is interesting. Sydney buys a coat that is haunted, and it starts to interfere with her life in strange ways. She has to investigate local history, which I always think is fun, and her discoveries lead to a mythology involving two warring witch clans. There are also some important themes running through the story regarding trust and respect for one’s ancestry.

I also do like the title, even if I’m not sure what it has to do with anything.

The Bad

I don’t really feel like there’s a way to tell you the problem with House of the Winter Moon without sounding like I am exaggerating or being a grammar snob. So I will do what I did as I explained to my friend why I did not want to go back to reading this book. I will give you some sample sentences, exactly as they are written in the text:

“Going about her usual nightly routine of washing her face and brushing her teeth, she was thinking about picking up a few more hours at work so she could speed up the process towards purchasing her very own car. She had made up her mind, in the morning she would ask her mother about it in the morning.”

Now, you might not have the exact same reaction as my friend (which was “Good Lord! That writing is a crime!”), but I think you can at least see where the phrasing is suboptimal and the punctuation nearly non-existent. And this is not a selection I picked out that was especially bad. This was a sample I picked pretty much at random that is par for the course for the entire novel.

On top of this, the story wasn’t particularly well organized. There were long sections that went in completely plot-irrelevant places. For example, Sydney spends a lot of time discussing how she purchased a car that her mother thought was impractical. I probably would have been okay with this if the car had later broken down at an inconvenient time, but the truck runs perfectly fine for the rest of the novel. Also, these people spend SO MUCH TIME talking about what they’re going to eat. Every meal becomes an epic saga, even when they are in terrible danger.

The Romance

We establish fairly early on that Sydney has a crush on her friend Darcy. Their mutual friend Bridget claims she has no interest in him, and she even tries to help push the two of them together, despite Sydney’s protestations. But Sydney suspects that Bridget is secretly crushing on Darcy as well, though she doesn’t suspect (as I do) that Bridget’s mystery date was actually with Darcy. And after that… Actually, after that we get nothing at all in the romantic department whatsoever because everyone is focused on plot. If there is another book in the series, it might pick up some of the romance stuff.

Will I read more?

I’m not sure whether there will be more books in the series or not. The end makes it seem like there might be more ground that they can cover, as does the lack of resolution of the romantic plot, but those could just be the kinds of things meant to be left up in the air. The Amazon page seems to think that the series has a title, which does imply future books. Regardless, I am insufficiently curious to be willing to wade through more unedited text during which the most common kind of sentence is run-on.

See Details for Book on    Amazon     Smashwords

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