Craven Manor, Darcy Coates, 2017
My favorite quote: “For the few brief days he’d worked at Craven Manor he felt as if he’d escaped into a better life. His work mattered … even if it was just to a ghost and a man made of shadows.”
Notable characters: Daniel, the new caretaker; Bran, his not-quite-normal boss; Kyle, the a-hole cousin and former roommate; Annalise, a late-night visitor
Most memorable scene: Annalise making her first appearance. While repeated exposure lessened the effect (though the utter cheesiness of those appearances may have had something to do with that as well) those first few incidents were pretty spooky
Greatest strengths: The first 25% of Craven Manor was actually pretty good
Standout achievements: Craven Manor made me laugh, though I’m not sure that was Darcy Coates’ goal. Still, when the main character is running around hurling salt at the giant-mouthed shadow-monster thingy (not to mention when a ghost is chasing a red laser-dot around, cat-style) I was ROTFLMFAO
Fun Facts: Craven Manor was my first foray into Darcy Coates. I have another Darcy Coates book on my Kindle and am hopeful I’ll like it a little more than this one. Someday I’ll read it. Someday
Other media: N/A
What it taught me: That a main character needs flaws. I mean, I knew that already, but reading this book was a good reminder that there are such things as characters that are too virtuous, too noble and upright, too saccharine-sweet, and hence, too boring. They aren’t believable, and I found myself rolling my eyes quite a bit at Daniel’s chronic wholesome goodness
Also, I don’t think readers need to be beaten over the head with character motivation. We get it. Daniel has no choice but to move into the spooky old manor. For me, it was enough that his roommate/cousin Kyle is a total drunken loser parasite douchebag who moved his gaming buddy in and made Daniel sleep on a vomit-covered couch — but apparently, we needed a clearer picture, so then Kyle raises the rent, kicks Daniel out, and for reasons that are never explained, changes the locks.
And it doesn’t end there. Then drunk cousin Kyle breaks into Craven Manor to steal from Daniel’s employer, thus compromising Daniel’s new job which would put him back on the streets which is super terrifying because poor Daniel used to be homeless and … Enough. We get it. After a while, it just starts to feel insulting
The point is, Kyle’s a dick and poor, tender-hearted Daniel has no choice but to move into — and remain at — Craven Manor. Got it
How it inspired me: Craven Manor starts out like an old Gothic … but with a male main character, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. Of course, as the story progresses it becomes … something else, but when it started, I was like, YAY!!
Additional thoughts: I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book with so many chapters that end with some variation of the sentence: “Glowing eyes glinted in the darkness.”
Hit or miss: Craven Manor is, sadly, a miss for me. A very dumb silly miss. I feel kinda bad saying it, but it’s true. We shall see if other Darcy Coates books strike me the same way
Haunt me: alistaircross.com