THE STRING DIARIES by STEPHEN LLOYD JONES.
SOURCE: A giveaway win, thanks to LINDSAY @ The Little Reader Library and publishers Headline.
A jumble of entries, written in different hands, different languages, and different times. A shadow. A stalking death.
The only interest that Oxford Professor Charles Meredith has in the diaries is as a record of Hungarian folklore .... until he comes face to face with a myth.
For Hannah Wilde, the diaries are a survival guide that taught her the three rules she lives by: verify everyone, trust no one, and if in any doubt, run.
But Hannah knows that if her nine-year-old daughter is ever going to be safe, she will have to stop running and face the terror that has haunted her family for five generations.
And nothing in the diaries can prepare her for that.
...... Inner front cover.
FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1: Snowdonia: Now): It was only when Hannah Wilde reached the farmhouse shortly after midnight that she discovered how much blood her husband had lost.
MEMORABLE MOMENT(Page 144): There was pain, yes, but the transformation in reverse was not nearly as strenuous. It felt as if his body poured into a memory of itself, a recognised groove.
MY THOUGHTS: A great read, and not the collection of diary entries I was expecting, but not as good as I had thought it would be. The String Diaries is a hard book to categorise though if I was pushed I'd have to describe it as the ultimate stalker novel. A 'shape shifting (exactly where people get the vampire thing from I'm not sure) serial killer story with a slight, not altogether traditional, romantic thread'.
A roller-coaster of a ride with twists and turns aplenty, some of them totally unexpected, others more predictable. This is a supernatural, almost Gothic, story that is very rich in Hungarian folklore though, not that it really matters, how much is rooted in actual mythology and how much is the result of the author's imagination I wouldn't like to say.
Set in more than one location over several centuries and featuring lots of diverse characters this is essentially the story of one man's (Jakab) impact on a family over the generations. Not as complicated as it sounds, despite all the jumping around the plot really was easily followed.
An impressive debut novel, perfect for a movie adaptation. Very graphic in places (Jakab begins his 'career' at an early age by torturing a mole rat. Realistic? Definitely but none the less I found it particularly disturbing) and arguably in need of a glossary (I found myself looking up several phrases) it was however the disappointing and, in my opinion, somewhat rushed ending that slightly let the book down.
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