Hey Guys! My name is Max and I will be manufacturing a book review for a book christened Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis today. I would like to thank Times Read for sending a copy of this novel to me. So, without further ado, let us get into the book review section!
Genre(s): Young Adult, Horror.
Page count: 305
Lola Nox is the daughter of a celebrated horror filmmaker – she thinks nothing can scare her. But when her father is brutally attacked in their New York apartment, she’s swiftly packed off to live with a grandmother she’s never met in Harrow Lake, the eerie town where her father’s most iconic horror movie was shot.
The locals are weirdly obsessed with the film that put their town on the map – and there are strange disappearances, which the police seem determined to explain away.
And there’s someone – or something – stalking Lola’s every move.
The more she discovers about the town, the more terrifying it becomes. Because Lola’s got secrets of her own. And if she can’t find a way out of Harrow Lake, they might just be the death of her…
If I were to write a blurb for this novel, it would be this: “Kat Ellis has created a richly-filled landscape of 80’s horror films and it lingers on your skin long after you finish the novel”. I adored this novel and as an avid fan of horror movies, I think this novel does justice for that genre as this novel has a lot of that good stuff in it eg. Diminutive town, estranged family, a character going insane and crazy town with ghastly notions. However, I do have some criticisms to make and I will write extensively on that matter later.
The writing style of this novel is atmospheric and gloomy with every shade of grey in it. The author has a way of incorporating words to craft a scene to make an innocuous scene seem ominous. In addition, I really enjoyed the references to horror films in this novel, it made my little horror heart leapt with happiness. Furthermore, I thought this novel was very well-paced as the author did not drag a scene out too long (which would make it boring) or cut short a scene during the horror scenes and that definitely made me adore the novel even more. However, the author uses the word – optimum – a lot and over time, it becomes repetitive and slightly annoying.
The atmosphere of the novel has a haunting inflexion to it and I thought that was the strongest point of the novel because it shows that the author has the ability to transport the readers to the head of the protagonist and allows the protagonist’s fears to be projected to the readers.
With aspects like the protagonist’s imaginary friend manifesting to life, a miniature-town which managed to make me feel claustrophobic, a town filled with superstitions and remarkably irrational people and most of all, Mr Jitters, it terrified me. However, I thought the horror aspect and the atmosphere faltered towards the end of the novel because it felt like the monster – Mr Jitters – did not add anything to the story but its main purpose is to terrorize the protagonist throughout the novel with literally no reason. BUT, I thought the people and their thinking and what they did were ten times more formidable than the actual monster of the novel so, those are the aspects that swooped in to save the ending of the novel for me.
The characters in this novel are multi-dimensional and complex. In this novel, there are Lola and Carter. Of course, there are more characters in this novel but we will only be focusing on both of these key characters in this review. Lola has a tendency to steal objects from strangers and write down her confessions on a paper and hide them in places where no one will look for but her. I thought the introduction to Lola was phenomenal and she has an amazing backbone to her character, for example, we learn in the novel that she adheres to her father like a leased dog with no freedom and as the story progresses, we see her character development and her flaws shining through the pages like a mirrorball and I adored it. Carter is a gentle person who assists people even though they insulted him with infuriating words. I thought his character arch was astonishing as well. Honestly, can Carter be my friend? He doesn’t even get mad when people insulted him.
Finally, there are several unexplained ideas that are thrust into the novel that make it seem like the author put them there for aesthetic purpose. For example, why does time slip away faster when Mr Jitters is around, why does Mr Jitters terrorize Lola since day one, is the urban legend about Mr Jitters real? The novel did provide some explanation to certain questions that I had posted but I do not think it is enough to justify Mr Jitters actions and his forces. Thus, I did not fancy the unexplained justifications of the novel.
Final Verdict: 80% (A)
This is the end of my review for Harrow Lake By Kat Ellis! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!