As someone willing to give anything that calls itself a book a try, I was attracted to Chrysler Szarlan’s THE HAWLEY BOOK OF THE DEAD because I realized I hadn’t read many books from the magic genre. The theme seems to be rising in popularity so it seemed like as good a place as any to start.
I wasn’t disappointed.
The best part of the book, the thing that spoke to me the most strongly is the way Szarlan incorporated the magical “history” of New England into the story. It could have come across as gimmicky, given Hawley Five Corners’ general proximity to Salem, but it wasn’t. The history of the area and the things that have become the history of the area, unless you really believe in magic, are woven seamlessly into the setting for a story that does its purpose justice.
Szarlan’s characters are interesting enough to keep the pages turning. Everyone was an individual personality and deals with the events in unique and relatable ways. It’s another reason that the book doesn’t come over as gimmicky. There’s no doubt to any read that Szarlan didn’t craft these people simply to bulk up her story.
The weakest point of the novel is that there are periods where the action drags a bit. It can’t be all action, I know, but it sometimes seemed as though every time something big was built up to be on the cusp of happening, Reve went to take a nap or got lost in the pages and visions contained in the Hawley Book of the Dead. That slowing down made me skim details that I realized later I wished I hadn’t skimmed.
It’s definitely recommended though, if you’re a fan of the magic genre or want to get into it. Especially if you’re looking for something that isn’t Young Adult.
THE HAWLEY BOOK OF THE DEAD is available for purchase now.
(I received a copy of THE HAWLEY BOOK OF THE DEAD through NetGalley in exchange for an honest & original review. My review will be cross-posted on NetGalley, Goodreads, and on my blog.)