The Thirteen Hallows
Michael Scott and Colette Freedman
I’ve never been to one of Colette Freedman’s plays, but I really want to now. (Because with titles like If Nietzsche Dated and Serial Killer Barbie, how could I not?) This book is everything that I love about Michael Scott’s works distilled down into oak aged perfection. The tension that is held through the story was pitch perfect. I literally just read the last half of the book in the last few hours because I needed to know. The characterization in this story is stunning. The leading characters are fully actualized, creating a cast of walking, talking Human Beings who only add to the tension because, let’s face it, they’re put through the most horrifying wringer I’ve read in quite some time.
Publisher Blurb (full blurb here):
The Hallows. Ancient artifacts imbued with a primal and deadly power. But are they protectors of this world, or the keys to its destruction?
A gruesome murder in London reveals a sinister plot to uncover a two-thousand-year-old secret.
For decades, the Keepers guarded these Hallows, keeping them safe and hidden and apart from each other. But now the Keepers are being brutally murdered, their prizes stolen, the ancient objects bathed in their blood.
Now, only a few remain.
With her dying breath, one of the Keepers convinces Sarah Miller, a practical stranger, to deliver her Hallow—a broken sword with devastating powers—to her American nephew, Owen.
The duo quickly become suspects in a series of murders as they are chased by both the police and the sadistic Dark Man and his nubile mistress.
I have a gripe (however keep in mind that for this entire book, I literally have a gripe). Though the lead cast of good characters are fully actualized, the baddies suffer from a bit of a common malady in fiction of all varieties: the bad man who is willing to brutally murder however many people it takes in order for them to gain dominion over the world. Here’s my beef: I want to know why. Why is this person so okay with rampant slaughter? What the hell could have happened in that childhood for those thoughts to first appear and then be acted upon? We weren’t really given that information in this story and to be honest, I’m not sure if there would have been a way to fit that info in without sacrificing the tension that I found to be so delightful. So, I guess, this isn’t really so much a gripe as a mildly noted point of curiosity.
Outside of that, I can’t even begin to describe how much I enjoyed this book. To be able to nerd out over the history it subsumed added that extra bit of layered curiosity to the story. There is so much going on in any single moment that it’s spellbinding. That on top of the way that Scott and Freedman jump between storylines only builds the tension further. But it’s written in such a way as to make reading it completely effortless. I never had to go back and re-read a page because I ADD’ed out.
I can’t recommend this book enough, particularly if you’re looking for a nice (if gore filled) quick read to escape into after the holidays.
4 ink bottles.