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The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

Book Review: The Woman in Black by Susan Hill | The Book SmugglersThe ...

I first saw The Woman in Black in theaters, when it first came out. I own it and watch it on a regular (at least once or twice a year) now. It is a very, very, very creepy movie. And I purchased the book not long after I saw the movie for the first time. Say what you will about the movie OR the book, but one thing is very true about both: they are very, very creepy. There is just such an eerie way that the story is told and presented. Its just anxiety-inducing and frankly, a little jarring. I reread the book for what I think is the third of fourth time to do this review, so it would be fresh in my memory, and I had forgotten how many differences there were to the movie.

First of all, Arthur Kipps is a VERY different man in the book than he is in the movie. He isn’t struggling, and hasn’t lost his wife. In fact, he is not even married yet and he’s practically a partner at the law firm he works at. He starts the book off telling the story from his perspective as an older man, not ‘old’ persay, but older than the events of the movie. Before the whole ordeal at the Eel Marsh House, he is a cheerful and happy person. Another key difference is that the innkeeper, the coach driver and Mr. Jerome are all very kind and polite to him in the book, whereas in the movie they are all…well…rude and cold. I think this made a pretty big difference. And while Mr. Jerome’s attitude towards Arthur does change, the others don’t. Also, Mr. Daily is actually kind of distant and cold in the beginning and then they slowly become friends.

One of the biggest things that is downplayed in the movie that is actually really important in the book is Spider, Mr. Daily’s dog that becomes Arthur’s companion in surviving the horrors of the Eel Marsh house. He becomes very, very attached to her (not in a weird way. like in a cute loyal way) and actually risks his life to save her. In fact, Mr. Daily says that he will give Arthur one of her puppies as soon as she has a litter. It is not until after Arthur leaves Crythin Grifford that he gets married and has a son (and makes Samuel Daily the godfather. Awwwww.) that tragedy strikes and his wife and son are killed due to the Woman in Black returning for revenge. Arthur, however, lives to remarry and be a father to several step children. Unlike in the movie, where Arthur dies with his son.

So, yeah, in short the movie is really good, AND the book is really good but there are definitely some huge differences between the two, to the point to where the kind of paint a different story. I think that the book had more of a slow-creepy-eerie-unsettling feeling to it, while the movie was definitely more jump-scary. I definitely recommend the book to any horror fans out there, however, especially those who like British Period Horror pieces. It’s very well written, and while it does have some slow parts, its still a fairly enjoyable and easy read. Overall, I give it a 4/5.

These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas

book report for these vicious masks these vicious masks 1

I feel compelled to write a small review about this book, as I really enjoyed it. I picked it up on a whim, and now it sits among my other favorite novels. It’s a thrilling story set in 1882 England, and the back of the book described it as ‘Jane Austen meets X-Men’ (who WOULDN’T want to read that??). These Vicious Masks delivers what it promises, and so much more.

The main character, Evelyn is believable and her emotions are very easy to sympathize with as she searches for her kidnapped sister, struggles to trust Mr. Braddock, and holds her suspicions about Mr. Kent. I obviously do not want to give anything away, but the discovery of special powers such as healing, charming, teleporting, making people sick, etc are the driving force behind this novel, and yet somehow they still take a backseat to the very real and growing relationships that Evelyn forms throughout her perilous journey through the back alleys of London.

I was completely sucked into this book from page one. I love it. It’s sassy, mysterious, and oh-so Victorian. There is a pinch of romance, but not enough to make it the center of the plot. The character is totally and completely devoted to her sister, Rose, and the story stays true to that by displaying her resistance to being distracted by feelings, her own safety, and her reputation, all of which are put on the line and promptly tossed out the window in the process of her rescue attempt.

I rate this a 4 out of 4. If you enjoy fantasy, romance, horror, crime, science fiction, Victorian England, or anything of the sort, this is the book for you. If Pride, Prejudice and Zombies is on your ‘favorite books’ list, then this one will be quick to follow.

Buy it here!