Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Chord of Evil by Sarah Rayne

I requested this book because Sarah Rayne is one of the few horror writers that I enjoy (because I'm too much of a scaredy-cat to explore the horror genre). While I haven't read her works in a while - something that I should remedy soon - Chords of Evil has the same suspense and crescendoing dread that the other works have.

Chords of Evil is a story told in two time periods and through four points of view. It starts in the modern day, with Phineas Fox. His neighbour, Toby, asks for his help in finding his missing cousin Arabella. To be honest, the normalcy of the beginning threw me off, but the book after they find a mysterious painting, the book quickly shifts to Margot, who's a bit obsessed with her brother, and then back into the past to Giselle in Nazi-era Germany and then to one last character (not going to name her to avoid spoilers). As the different threads start to weave themselves together, the world of the story got darker and darker and I felt that familiar sense of dread creeping over me.

Sarah Rayne tends to be a master of the dual plot structure, but I'll admit that I was a bit confused initially. I'm not sure if it's just the ARC copy I received, but there was nothing to indicate a POV change, which meant that I ended up going back and rereading a couple of chapters because I got lost. To be fair, I did put the book down and I suppose that if I read the first few chapters in one sitting, this wouldn't have happened. But as the story progressed and I got a hang of who's who, the shifts in POV and time felt a lot smoother and instead of being confused, the tension increased with every change.

As for characters, I thought that Giselle and the other character in the past felt very well-rounded, while Phineas was a little more forgettable and Margot was just creepy. I also thought that Arabella verged on being just a bit too manic pixie dream girl-ish, but since she didn't really appear until the ending of the book, she ending up being more charming than anything.

To be honest, I don't think Chord of Evil is as good as some of her other books, like A Dark Dividing, Roots of Evil, Spider Light, or Ghost Song, which were the first few books of hers that I read - before this blog, or perhaps in its earliest days - and which I would dearly love to re-read again. But on the whole, it is a solid thriller and did a good job of creeping me out, even if the beginning was a bit rough.

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

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