Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Review of "The Dead Travel Fast" by Deanna Raybourn

According to her author bio in the back, Deanna Raybourn was a history and english double major - my kind of person! That was actually my goal for a while, and still might be... But enough about me, let's get into this fascinating book.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher via Librarything.com's Early Reviewer's Program. I was given this book in exchange for a review, be it positive or negative. No money was given in exchange for a review. Though, I wouldn't complain if there was...

Type: Historical Fiction, with a little romance thrown in...

From the back of the book: " With a modest inhereitance and the three gowns that comprise her entire wardrobe, Theodora leaves Edinburgh - and a disappointed suitor - far behind. She is bound for Rumania, where tales of vampires are still whispered, to visit an old friend and write the book that will bring her true independance.
She arrives at a magnificent, decaying castle in the Carpathians, replete with eccentric inhabitants: the ailing dowager; the troubled steward; her own fearful friend, Cosmina. But all are outstripped in dark glamour by the castle's master, Count Andrei Dragulescu.
Bewildering and bewitching in equal measure, the brooding nobleman ignites Theodora's imagination and awakens passions in her that she can neither deny nor conceal. His allure is superlative, his dominion over the superstitious town, absolute - Theodora may simply be one more person under his sway.
Before her sojourn is ended - or her novel completed - Theodora will have encountered things as strange and terrible as they are seductive. For obsession can prove fatal... and she is in danger of falling prey to more than desire. "

I'd first like to say that I often page through a book before reading it.. sometimes to fully experience that "New Book Smell," sometimes just to see if there is anything eye-catching in the pages. So I almost immediately found the Reader's Guide questions at the end of the book, and I loved it. I think it's wonderful to include something like that in a book, of course I didn't understand them all when I first saw them. But it was certainly nice to re-think about parts of the book after knowing the end result, to see the little clues that popped up during the course of the story, etc.

I pretty much devoured this book. I loved the writing style, the prose, half the time I honestly felt like I was in the time period mentioned. And the descriptions of the castle and the town around it - ahhh, I want to go! It made me feel almost homesick for a place I've never been, and definitely never lived. The setting was described a few times as like from a fairytale, and I can just about picture it. As much as I loved the writing, it was also the only place I could find any fault or issue, and what a small one it is. I noticed a few phrases used maybe a few too many times. For example, the author used "stomach turned to water" several times, and maybe it was just me, but it kept making me pause after the first few times it was used. The phrase wasn't used out of place, it just took me out of the story when it was used. But frankly, that's such a small thing, it wasn't nearly enough to make me dislike the book in the slightest.

And I loved the mystery element to the story. Was it really a vampire? Were all the myths circulating the area just that - myths? Or true stories passed down so people didn't forget what had happened, and could happen again. Or maybe it wasn't a vampire. Maybe it was just some twisted person. These points were foremost on Theodora's mind for a good portion of her vacation. And I loved that we got the same amount of information as Theodora did, so we could try to figure out the big mystery for ourselves.

I'm going to give "The Dead Travel Fast" by Deanna Raybourn a FOUR out of FIVE. I really did love this book. I hope to check out more by this author sometime soon. Especially if more of her novels have such an interesting supernatural spin on things.

Happy Reader!
~ Morning Glow

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