Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

Inside Flap:
In 1752 Sarah Carrier Chapman, confined to her home and weak with infirmity, writes a letter to her granddaughter, revealing the secret she has guarded closely for six decades. It is a haunting account of the horrors that enveloped a New England town called Salem, and compelled Sarah, then just a young girl, to make a decision that would change her life forever.

A little more than a year before the witch trials will begin, Sarah and her family arrive in nearby Andover to face a community gripped by superstition and fear. With the increase in Indian raids and the spread of the plague, the Puritans come to believe that heretics in their midst are responsible for their misfortune. Based on the accusations of a dozen young girls, neighbor is pitted against neighbor, friend against friend, and the hysteria escalates, sweeping more than two hundred men, women and children into prison on charges of witchcraft - Sarah's mother, Martha Carrier, among them. Often at odds with each other, mother and daughter must now stand defiantly together in the face of imprisonment, torture, and even death. Out of love for her children, Martha asks Sarah to cimmit an act of heresy - a lie that will most surely condemn Martha even as it will save her daughter.

Procured From: Barnes and Noble
Type: Hardcover
Price: $5.98 (bargain priced)

I'm usually shy about books about the witch trials because they are so over-done and the material has worn thin for me. (I also visited Salem with my parents while in middle school.) That said, I was willing to pick up this hardcover for $6 (original price $24.99.)

First, the cover was very well made. The girl on the front is very striking, and it is a little creepy how her face wraps around the book, giving her a slightly alien appearance. The image (though probably unintended) stayed in my head after I had passed it over, and made me pick it up to see what it was about.

The book is written from an actual descendant of the main character, which was another interesting thing (discovered at the end of the inside flap.)

The book itself was OK, writing-wise. There were some times I felt the author could have used some more era-appropriate words, though I did NOT notice any outrageous modern slang. I felt the main character, Sarah, was too impudent for that time frame, and the girls that harassed her too bold for that era. I also felt the feud between Martha and her sister's husband could have been tapped into more, as well as with their son Allen. I wanted to see a little more fire about that situation.

There was a tramp in the book, Mercy Williams, whom I -LOVED- to hate. I think she was a good minor antagonist.

I found the book very easy to put down for the first half to two-thirds. I often found myself in the middle of chapters, willing to do something else for awhile because it just wasn't overly gripping. The last third was the best of the book, but still read very slow. A book of this length usually takes me 2-3 days, but it took me a couple of weeks to trudge through.

Overall, I rate the book a C+/B-. I'd recommend it to people who are interested in a fictional account of the witch trials, but definitely NOT at full hardcover price. I probably would not recommend it to an avid reader. I'd recommend picking it up second-hand, bargain-priced, or as an ebook for under $5. (It's currently $9.99).

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Getting Started

Hello All,

Welcome to The Literary Ravager - a review blog for books of all natures.

First, about the name. I originally was going to go with The Literary Devourer, as I devour literature at an incredible rate... but I didn't like the play those words had together. Hence, The Literary Ravager. I will ravage a poorly written story.

No non-fiction.

I will warn you up front - I am not a huge technology sci-fi fan unless the mechanics are well explained. I don't like to be baffled over what I am reading, because I'm not up on the names of missiles or spaceship parts.

My favorite thing to read is fiction, especially with dragons, knights, magic, etc types of themes. I also enjoy a good paranormal read about werewolves, vampires - what have you. I prefer past over modern.

I am willing to review romance, but be warned that I will generally not pick it up of my own volition. If the book is gratuitous on the horndog and shy on the story - I will not hesitate to point that out.

Only FINAL copies of manuscripts should be submitted for review.

If you have read these guidelines and have still convinced yourself that YOUR piece should be in front of MY eyes, I can be contacted at:

I accept submissions in Kindle-ready format ONLY.

I _will_ review self-published work, however if it is not of a quality to be read (gratuitous typographical errors, mish-mash plot, serious errors in formatting, et cetera) I will refuse to finish it.