A family is hunted by a centuries-old monster: A man with a relentless obsession who can take on any identity.
The String Diaries opens with Hannah frantically driving through the night - her daughter asleep in the back, her husband bleeding out in the seat beside her. In the trunk of the car rests a cache of diaries dating back 200 years, tied and retied with strings through generations. The diaries carry the rules for survival that have been handed down from mother to daughter since the 19th century. But how can Hannah escape an enemy with the ability to look and sound like the people she loves?
Stephen Lloyd Jones' debut novel is a sweeping thriller that extends from the present day, to Oxford in the 1970s, to Hungary at the turn of the 19th century, all tracing back to a man from an ancient royal family with a consuming passion - a boy who can change his shape, insert himself into the intimate lives of his victims, and destroy them.
If Hannah fails to end the chase now, her daughter is next in line. Only Hannah can decide how much she is willing to sacrifice to finally put a centuries-old curse to rest.
©2014 Stephen Lloyd Jones (P)2014 Hachette Audio
"I have never read a book with such frenzied impatience. The String Diaries is unputdownable. Stephen Lloyd Jones has written a debut novel as frightening and layered as Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian and as clever and riveting as Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code." (Benjamin Percy, author of Red Moon, The Wilding and Refresh, Refresh)
"With The String Diaries, Stephen Lloyd Jones has created a new mythology of the monstrous to rival Stoker's or Shelley's. Grounded in the real world and populated by characters we believe in, this is a book of magic for the doubtful, a fantastic tale for skeptics, at once transporting and convincing." (Andrew Pyper, author of The Demonologist)
"This novel is a breakneck chase down a long and winding road with the devil sitting beside you in the car." (Ben Loory, author of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day)
I escaped to a quiet coastal town where I have my pottery business and indulge my passion for books.
Yes! But I might recommend it to them to read rather than to listen. The story is amazing but the way the narrator speaks is distracting.
The story line has a different twist. You immediately feel empathy for the characters but you are not sure why. As you are taken back and forth through time and different characters a sort of puzzle evolves that makes you want to read on to find the answers.
The delivery is distracting. Ms Whelan makes sort of a smacking sound when she inhales mid sentence. At first I thought it was the way a character would speak but it is throughout the whole narration. It got to be an irritation and distracted me every time I heard her throughout the book. I decided at one point to give up and walked away but the story line is so compelling that I had to come back and see it through!
Reader, Thinker, Writer
I would recommend the story, but the audiobook only if they are not sensitive to misophonia triggers of mouth sounds.
The story was a good one, exciting and interesting and not exactly like anything I'd read. The reader is excellent with a strong command of different accents, which is a key part of this story. However, the sound editor didn't manage to take out/tamp down the mouth sounds in the text, so I couldn't stand to listen through earphones. I am particularly sensitive to this through misophonia, so I wouldn't recommend it for anyone that suffers the same sensitivity.
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley he is not. Unfortunately, Stephen Lloyd Jones follows more closely in the footsteps of Elizabeth Kostova. There is lots of historical context, innuendo, and build-up, but only about 20 minutes of action - some of it just sadistic - in the entire muddled novel. Such possibilities - and such disappointments. At least it was pleasant listening to the appropriate accents of Gemma Whelan, the narrator.
I don't have any real suggestions. I found the Hungarian names a bit difficult to follow from the audiobook at first, but rapidly caught up.
No, I'd like to try more of them.
I liked her very much.
None, really. Of course I hated Jakab and Vass, but that is what the author wanted.
I will probably buy the paperback. I would like to review the genealogy of Hannah's family to follow the story more accurately.
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