Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Cherie Priest

Rating 8.2/10
Cherie Priest's ability to write in such an easy manner make reading this southern gothic a complete

Cherie Priest's ability to write in such an easy manner make reading this southern gothic a complete pleasure.

What Eden Moore digs up in the roots of her diseased family tree takes her across the South, from the ruins of the Pine Breeze sanatorium in Tennessee to a corpse-filled swamp in Florida, and back in time to the Civil War, when the taint in her family bloodline sets in motion events building only now to a supernatural crescendo.

Cherie Priest, Locus Award winner and Hugo and Nebula Award nominee, moves into the Southern Gothic genre and Four and Twenty Blackbirds was a more of a pleasant surprise than I initially expected. Reading descriptive words like 'terrifying' and 'scary' made me think twice about attempting to read it at night, so the book was relegated to day-time reading only. That done, I did wake up on a couple of occasions and needed to talk myself out of having a nightmare from something that had happened in the book.

Nevertheless, written in Cherie's inimitable style, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It is very readable and one is able to follow Eden through her search for the truth with ease. I personally didn't find it as scary as I had expected it to be. Granted, there are ghosts (both friendly and not so much), spooky (well, unexplainable by the natural world) and grisly occurrences that can plague the mind later on but Cherie presents these in a believable manner that doesn't totally gross the reader out. Well, they didn't gross me out, too much.

I'm not sure who I'd recommend this book to, but I would say that, if you would rather not read about ghosts (especially ones that died grisly deaths, and so look like their dead selves), the occult and some really strange supernatural things, stay away from this book. If, on the other hand, you've read Cherie's previous books and enjoyed them, I don't see any reason why you would want to give this one a miss. It really is very well written, and I continue to admire Cherie's ability to write in such an easy manner that reading her work is a complete pleasure.

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