"She died," Chessie said. "She died, rose, and nearly died again. She comes. The crows know her - the crows guide her. She follows the sound of a crying child. She follows the drag of un-kept promises on her heart." - Chessie - Hallowed Ground
"They came in the night with their creak-wheeled wagons and patchwork tents, rolling down through the gulch and up the other side to pitch camp. In Rookwood, they called it 'Dead man's Gulch,' and in Rookwood, names were important. If you walked too far through that God-forsaken, dust-drowned ditch, you were bound to drag your boots through bones. If you felt something sharp dig into your heel, it could be a tooth taking a last bite of something hot and living. The Deacon stood in silent shadows watching their progress, occasionally glancing up into the pale, inadequate light of the waning moon."
When a man known only as The Deacon set up camp outside Rookwood, a murder of crows took to unnatural, moonlit flight. The crows came to Rookwood; trouble soon to follow. Things were already strange in that God-forsaken town, but no one could have predicted the forces and fates about to meet in a dust-bowl clearing in the desert. A Preacher. A Demon. An Angel. A Gunslinger.
From Steven Savile, International bestselling author of Silver, The Last Angel, and The Sufferer's Song, and David Niall Wilson, Bram Stoker Award-winner David Niall Wilson, author of Deep Blue, This is My Blood, & Heart of a Dragon, comes a tale of the old west, magic, enlightenment and damnation readers have said is like Stephen King's The Gunslinger meets Daniel Knauf's Carnivale
I don't know if these guys were trying to imitate Stephen King or Cormac McCarthy, but they failed to do either. I am not a fan of the Gunslinger series but it is a lot better then this and Blood Meridian is much better then either.
At the beginning I thought this might be pretty good. It was very descriptive and had some strange characters, but the story never really got going. After a while it became tedious. They also seem to think, saying Raven and or Crow (of which there is a lot of discussion of the difference between the two) is very very scary. I stuck with listening to the whole book, even thought half way through I kept telling myself to quit, even with one hour left I wanted to quit. I so wish I had the eight hours back that it took to listen to this.
Five out of the seven people that rated this gave it three stars are less which should tell you something. I believe these authors have it in them to write something entertaining if they will just try a little harder.
It is not the narrator's fault he is pretty good.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful
It's basically Needful Things in the Wild West. That's the short review of this book by David Niall Wilson and Steven Savile. The book's premise is a mysterious traveler comes to a sleepy little town in the Wild West which is full of secrets, feuds, and hatreds. By the end of the conflict, the town has torn itself apart with the traveler's true supernatural evil having been exposed for the world to see.
There's significant differences in the story, especially as it becomes increasingly clear the traveler is subordinate to a much more malevolent entity, but the Stephen King influences definitely jumped out at me and that's not a bad thing. The book is fairly thick on metaphor, symbolism, and hints of things to come which may bother some readers but I found enjoyable. Interestingly, the authors seem to be worried about how the book would be received since they felt the need to put a Foreword in the beginning which warns it's not a shoot-em-up bang bang sort of Western. I don't think this was necessary, albeit I never dislike a good shoot em up, since the idea of a supernatural meditation on sin and evil isn't a bad thing.
The world of Hallowed Ground is a spooky and subdued place where all of the sins of the townsfolk are hidden under a respectable, albeit paper thin, veneer. There's the town prostitute who more than anything wishes to be a mother and a nurturer. There's the man who would do anything to raise his dead fiance and thinks he can out-think the Devil in terms of deal-making. There's the mysterious Deacon serving as Randall Flagg and Leland Gaunt figure but perhaps not so happy being the Devil's handyman as he may appear.
Overall, I think I was most impressed with the character of the Deacon who provides the book with most of its energy. I think the book is always at its most enjoyable when he's dancing around, making promises and prayers which aren't necessarily going to the same God everyone else claims as their own. I buy he's a strange and charismatic figure to the people of Rookwood, who would potentially sell their souls to him simply because he's that charming.
The book stumbles a few times with its symbolism and metaphor as I got a little lost toward the end with the five way feud happening between the Devil, Deacon, our heroes, Lilith, and an angel. I think the book might have benefited a bit by scaling back to only be focused on Deacon, the Devil, and our heroes but that's just me. Despite this, I like the book's ending and think it's set up for a sequel or even series. A warning that the book is a slower and more methodical read where you have to take time to soak in the atmosphere. The book is about fifty percent mood and another thirty-percent metaphor so that it you really are missing something if you try to plow through it. This is a book which should be read at night with your complete concentration. I also think the book uses too many pronouns versus proper names, which is the weirdest complaint I've ever made about a book.
As for the narration? I think Joe Geoffrey did an excellent job. There's a lot of hard voices and characters involved in this story but they nail them all down perfectly. Just the right handling of a very diverse cast of characters both male and female. I would definitely trust other books by him and think he's perfect for any potential sequels.
In conclusion, I recommend Hallowed Ground to those who enjoy Weird Westerns and more cerebral horror. The fact I wanted to read a second book starring the surviving heroes immediately after the end of this volume should tell you I enjoyed it.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Would you try another book from David Niall Wilson and Steven Savile and/or Joe Geoffrey?
Since this book seemed to be the first of a series, I would give another a shot. This one wasn't bad at all, had some really good parts, but really seemed to be the start of something, not a complete book in it's own right.
How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?
either made the book longer to develope the characters further, added some more meat to the plot (wasn't really lacking, but more would have been better), or have a second book to keep the story going.
Any additional comments?
While interesting, and pretty a pretty good concept, the story seemed to be lacking something, either some more material, longer story... something to make this seem more than a short story that got away from the authors. Still, I am not sad that I listened, it was pretty good, but not as good as it could have been in my opinion.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I was surprised how often I listened and how quickly it was over. I think the cover was misleading as I wanted a woman gunslinger type story and that never really happened to any significant amount.
A bit underlying religious for me, but I stayed until the end.
Overall, good read.