My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A 3.5 read for me. It's dark, make no bones about that one. It revels in its violence and darkness. It's a story about monsters and revenge. Johann is a true monster in human form but definitely not entirely human. Florian is just as monstrous in his way, the last surviving son of a rich merchantile family. In fact I got an Astor, Carniege, Rockafellers etc vibe from everyone in this. Elendhaven itself is a dystopic sea-side city choking on its own manufacturing (think cities prior to clean air acts etc).
As the novella progresses and Johann and Florian's relationship develops, I was intrigued by what Florian is up to, why is his hate so deep and his need for revenge so burning. That didn't disappoint.
It's Johann who started to bug me with his very odd way of flirting with Florian. It just seemed odd to have him using multiple sweet pet names for Florian and there is a certain dub-con vibe to it.
Florian's magic and the hatred of magic by the people almost needed more words dedicated to it. It felt a bit underdeveloped especially for something that had such an impact on the finale.
I did like this though and will be looking for more from this author.
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Beyond Haunted Spencer State Hospital by George Dudding
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Spencer Hospital was an insane asylum where like many of them in the 1800s and early 1900s had a lot of horrible things happen within them. (Mental health care even fifty years ago was still rather awful and even earlier on it was tragic).
This gives a little of the history of the place (There is another book or two by this author that is about the history) but it's main thrust is the ghosts and haunted happenings observed by the author on his paranormal investigations.
He does give some nice info on ghost hunting tools for the novice and every encounter is documented, maybe a little too documented. It can get a wee bit dry in places.
Overall though I did find it interesting.
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