Is this going to be a Greek tragedy!

Art it Up.  This is a weekly meme hosted by Tabitha over at Not Yet Read.  The idea being to see if you can come up with some inspiration for a little sketch or doodle from your last week’s reading or just anything else in general. this week I’ve read The Damned and am currently reading Golden Son.  I don’t really know what my thinking here was tbh – I’m just wondering if Golden son is going to go terribly well – or terribly not!!!  Not long till I find out… so Greek masks (very poorly sketched – sorry!)


The Damned by Andrew Pyper

Posted On 17 February 2015

Filed under Book Reviews
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The Damned is a very gripping and quite chilling read about one particular family whose lives are beleaguered by the daughter from hell!

Danny and Ash Orchard were twins.  They both nearly died in childbirth but just as all hope was lost, and their mother frantically preyed to anything out there to keep them alive, they made a miraculous recovery.  Makes you think of that old saying about being careful what you wish for.

Anyway, Ash is the perfect daughter.  Beautiful, popular, clever, successful – everything you could possibly wish for really – apart from a mile wide evil streak that she uses to secretly torment her family!  Behind closed doors she is evil and vindictive.  Now, I’m not giving away anything by saying that Ash dies – it’s fairly obvious from the book synopsis – and her brother, again, almost dies with her.  Having experienced a near death experience however he writes an incredibly successful book about the afterlife which he experienced briefly during his brush with death.  Of course, he never really gets to enjoy his success because his sister won’t let him.  She haunts him relentlessly.  She may be dead but that doesn’t make her any less of a psychopathic bitch!

At the start of the story Danny reflects on his past giving you the chance to catch up with the family’s history and it’s not particularly a bundle of laughs!  Ash really is quite beguiling, she has the ability to provoke, cajole and simply make people submit to her will and mostly they are obsessed and bewitched by her.  Only her family seem to be aware of her true nature.  They fear her and the fear drives a wedge into the heart of their family causing them to break apart.  Until that fateful day.  The twin’s birthday when Ash dies in a fire and Danny almost dies trying to rescue her.

We then move on to the present.  Danny finally has a chance of happiness.  He’s met a wonderful woman and wants to marry her and bring her and her young son to live with him.  His newfound happiness seems destined not to last.  It seems as though Ash is becoming stronger and she’s no longer content to simply haunt Danny, she has two new potential victims to focus on.

As I said, this is a very engaging read.  Pyper has managed to write a creepy story combining horror, chills and a certain creep factor.  On top of that we experience the strange world of ‘hell’ or at least Danny’s version of it when he’s forced to travel into his sister’s realm.  This is a frightening place.  Dark and violent with fantastical creatures that stalk the night.  Believe me that you wouldn’t want to pay a visit here.  Anything can happen there – and probably will!

I enjoyed the way the story progresses starting out as a look at the family dynamic and the strange bond between the twins. It then turns more sinister by degrees until becoming a chilling ghost story and from there descending into horror.  I must confess that to a degree I found the hauntings the most chilling aspect of the read.  I thought ‘hell’ as created here was, well, definitely hellish!  There was some downright nasty business going on down there but I found the chilling hauntings were great for building the tension .

In terms of characters – well, really this is the Ash and Danny show.  There are peripheral characters such as the parents, a few schoolhood friends and Danny’s new wife and son – but really these are not the main thrust of the story and so I suppose you could be forgiven for thinking that they’re not terribly fleshed out.  The focus is of course on the twins and the continuation of the struggle between them that has always been part of their relationship.

Criticisms.  Nothing really to speak of.  Like I said above I think I preferred the haunted elements of the book to the horror side although I did find the world ‘below’ fascinating to read about.

This was definitely an addictive book – I read it in two sittings – racing ahead to to see what horrors would happen next and trying to unravel the mystery of exactly what was going on.  I would have no hesitation in recommending this providing you like a good chiller/horror – and you understand about leaving the lights on when reading. Warning though – there are scenes of violence with blood and guts!

I would like to thank the publishers for approving me for a copy of The Damned through Netgalley.  The above is my own opinion.