18 Jul 2013



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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Lindsay said...

Well done again on winning a copy of this one Tracy and thanks for reviewing it, I enjoyed your honest review and I'm glad you liked the book overall.

Kelly said...

I like the cover and I like the sound of it. Even if it did slightly disappoint you in the end, I'm encouraged enough by your positive review to put it on my wish list.

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

An interesting debut novel and even better that it was a giveaway win, well done!

That opening sentence or two would definitely have had me hooked and as I have recently read a book about vampires, set in The Balkans, this would be the ideal book to follow on the theme.

An honest and concise review, as always ... thanks.


Suko said...

I also enjoyed your well-written, honest review, Tracy. This story sounds like an engaging thriller best read long before bedtime.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I was thinking this one may be for me until you mentioned he was graphically torturing a mole rat. Uh, no... that would bother me. Still, brilly review!

Brian Joseph said...

It sounds different. I like the idea of the mysterious diary entries.

The original Dracula novel consisted of a series of letters, I wonder if the author is paying a little homage to that novel.

Blond Duck said...

I love it!

Kimberly @ On the Wings of Books said...

I hadn't heard of this before but it sounds really good and twisted. Not a fan of it being too graphic but I'll still be adding it to my list!

Betty Manousos said...

hi tracy,
this sounds like an interesting thriller...and i do like the cover.

brilliant review as usual!

big hugs.

missed you!

ashok said...

Hi !

StarTraci said...

Looks like a winner! I am very intrigued and am going to see if our local library has it this week!

Have a happy Sunday!

So many books, so little time said...

absolutely love the cover for this, well done on winning.

Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

Gina R said...

I think I just got chills. *-* (~adds to investigate list~)

Naida said...

This sounds right up my alley, even if the ending was a tad rushed.