My rating: 5 of 5 stars
So this was a first of it’s kind for me. As a fan of all things horror and creepy it has never occurred to me read a book in that genre especially one that is a Retelling of the classic Headless Horseman.
Well I am glad I made Rourke’s story my first. Because I wasn’t sure whether to be scared or laugh myself into narcolepsy.
“Dark grows near, sense the fear,” a voice, possessing the deep rasp of death, croaked in the sing-song tempo of a nursery rhyme.
“Cloak of night,
brings Horseman’s plight.
His pricy toll,
will be a soul.
Run and hide,
before his ride.
Or the dead—”
The face of a haggard old woman peeked around the back of the chair, her mouth open in a wide, toothless grin. A shock of white hair framed her ghastly face, falling to gaunt shoulders in wiry wisps.
“—Shall claim ye head.”
So let’s begin… at the beginning… the story jumps between present day Sleepy Hollow with a NEW CRANE person moving into town and at the same time an ORIGINAL CRANE coming to town seeking a new place to live post-war with his 2 comrades. The whole book jumps back and forth from the beginning of Crane learning about the Headless Horseman and learning it’s motives and NEW CRANE having no idea what is happening and that Headless Horseman is even a possibility as deaths start piling when SHE arrives into town seeking a start in NEW life.
I find it so ironic that both Cranes in both timeless come seeking a new start in life to Sleepy Hollow town and getting MUCH more than they have ever anticipated. Both lives are intertwined not just by similarity of their names but also their fates… and fates that they can’t avoid. Fates so entertained that they echo together through time involving reincarnation and echo of original selves.
In his time, Ichabod Crane comes into town to get away from the horrors of war to become a school teacher and to his destiny meeting with his one true love Katrina. With his 2 loyal friends he stumbles onto so much more in a supposedly small and quiet down. He walk info a nightmare that is a living truth… a plague that haunts the town. As soon as he sets his foot in town the killings escalate taking out everyone around his beloved Katrina…
At the same time, in modern time, a certain Ireland Crane moves to Sleepy Hollow (SH) seeking new change from the heartbreak she left in NYC. Wish a fresh attitude, fresh hair-cut & even a tattoo to become a HS counselor, but as soon as she arrives the death comes to SH at the same time. That death is also centered around Ireland and her most charming & annoying neighbor who just can’t hear ‘no’ and we all know with a hottie next door you don’t want to hear it.
“Dinner, as friends. Where I don’t expect you to pay or hold doors and you don’t expect make-up or sex.”
“I’ll be rude, and you’ll be purposely homely. It’ll be magical”
The more we learn of the story the more we discover that both Cranes and Headless Horseman’s destiny are intertwined. There are choices to be made and they are the ones that are most difficult… to control the Horseman is to become the most evil for the sake of everyone else or… well… no other choice really.
“First off, you’re what? Like three hundred years old?”
“Twenty-four,” Ireland corrected, with a humorless scoff. “But, thanks. I’ll look into a better moisturizer.”
On top of all the gore and treachery the story is really hilarious. The dialogue between the characters in both times is hilarious. Even in the Original Crane time the author writes perfectly to reflect the time and deliver just the perfect amount of snarky and dark humor.
What gives more comedy is that present time story of Ireland Crane there is a helper from original Crane time, one of Ichabod Crane’s closest friends. He put to sleep to be awakened with a NEW Crane arrival that will usher the return of Horseman. His job is to help the new Crane to take control of the Horseman… except the poor guy has stress induced narcolepsy which comes at the most awkward and hilarious times. In the town where a horseman running amok it’s a perfect time to pass out when death comes knocking every single night. Well the other half of comedy is delivered because he has no idea what Ireland means half the time with all the modern references.
Ireland turned the box cutter over in her hand, admiring the sharp angle of the blade. “Rip, would you mind if I performed a little experiment real quick?”
“What kind of-oh! Please, no-zzzzzzzzzz.”
When the old man came to yet again, she anticipated his first words before he opened his mouth to croak, “What-what happened?”
“Alien attack. Don’t worry. I stopped them shortly after they probed you.”
The story wraps up nicely and for me it was no cliff-hanger but the beginning of a new journey in the Horseman adventures. If you do not feel this way… GREAT news… 2nd book in the Series is out and personally I can’t wait to start it. I highly recommend it especially with Halloween coming up. Make it a themed reading!
*Copy kindly provided by the the Author
About Stacey Rourke
RONE Award Winner for Best YA Paranormal Work of 2012 for Embrace, a Gryphon Series Novel
Young Adult and Teen Reader voted Author of the Year 2012
Turning Pages Magazine Winner for Best YA book of 2013 & Best Teen Book of 2013
Stacey Rourke lives in Michigan with her husband, two beautiful daughters, and two giant, dogs. She loves to travel, has an unhealthy shoe addiction and considers herself blessed to make a career out of talking to the imaginary people that live in her head. Mark your calendars! Her latest literary adventure, Crane, will release May 26, 2014. She is currently hard at work on the continuations of this thrilling Legends Saga, as well as other literary projects.