Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Review of The Blood and the Raven by John Hennessy

As someone not overly familiar with the vampire genre, apart from a few movies, I have to say that this was a highly impressive, intriguing, not to say eerie introduction to the world of vampires. John Hennessy is something of an authority on the true essence of vampires and points out that this story is strictly in the tradition of vampires as cold-blooded killers, as depicted by Bram Stoker's Dracula, rejecting later misrepresentations of vampires as seductive romancers.

For those who love their horror starkly terrifying and dark, you won't find a better exponent of this art of story telling than Mr Hennessy.

It begins with a group of teenagers attempting to scare the living daylights out of one another in the creepy setting of a priory. They are failing miserably until it's Seth turn and two candles are ominously extinguished as he begins his forbidding tale...

A peevish man and his young wife are travelling through the Midlands by horse and carriage in torrential rain. They take respite in an inn called the Blood and the Raven. A savage raven does indeed reside there. The couple find the beautiful landlady, Mariana and her daughter Juliana most alluring and welcoming, however, the locals are strange and sniggering, making disturbing comments about blood and the raven. Then the landlady offers them separate rooms due to some strange custom. The man is angry and he and his wife leave. They are however forced back to the inn by the broken road. Upon entering, some really blood chilling events occur. There is more to Mariana and her daughter than meets the's truly disturbing.

What is so amazing about Hennessy's writing is that he manages to draw you completely into the world he has created. He creates a dismal, horrifying, claustrophobic world with atmospheric writing that conveys a terror and evil that reign supreme. I was also surprised by some of the twists and turns - testament to highly skilful writing, why should I be surprised when I should guess what is coming in a vampire tale entitled The Blood and the Raven?

I was perturbed by this story and scared and the part of me that enjoys being perturbed and scared very much enjoyed this clever tale.

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