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An extremely creative novel without a doubt. Very interesting premise and in terms of plot it played out in an ingenious way. Characters were unique, could have been fleshed out a bit more, but overall most of the characters had a tangible feel to them evoked by the novel's spare but skillful descriptions.
My main issue is that, although I think it is a good thing to throw the reader right into the middle of a story and make them think on their feet, this novel left me often checking if I'd missed the first book in a series. It threw me right in what felt like the middle of a plot with characters that I didn't feel I had time to care about one way or the other. The result was I didn't get drawn in to any of them enough to carry me to the end and felt myself struggling to make it to the final conflict.
Still worth reading for the brilliant new horror ideas throughout the novel - just hope his next book focuses just a tad more on any form of exposition and getting the reader to identify even remotely with key characters.
A descriptive horror that will blow you away. Pulling things from such genre books that I can't even begin to descript and explain you will be as shocked as I was with this horror. It was a pleasant twist and turn into the genre that gave me a breath of life that I needed. I love horror writers such as the infamous Stephen King and to say things were like that is a far stretch. I'm pleased to say that Benjamin Kane Etheridge has stepped into the world and made a name all for himself.
All you know about Halloween will be twisted and turned, but you can catch the subtle nuances and references to old world charm and cultures that helped to shape Halloween to what it was. I felt as if I was being given the culture shock I needed to leave me asking questions and wondering will there be more to this wonderful book. Given to me as a gift from my sister I was a little scepticle as often more times than not our tastes in some genre's stretch well away from each other where there are some we find and love deeply just alike. To read this book and find that I adore it as well as she did is an understatement. It is definately going on my shelf of to read again and again books.
The read was well and lengthy and it was the perfect read for bringing about this time of year. Especially since it is after all Halloween. With this being said and doing my best not to give a play by play and ruin all of the book for everyone I beseech you please pick it up and give it a read you will love it as much as I do if not more.
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When I received news that Mr. Ethridge's debut novel "Black & Orange" had won a Stoker Award, the book quickly jumped to the top of my must read list. "Black & Orange" is a Fantasy/Horror novel (would you call it a Fantahorror or Horrantasy?) that reconstructs the common mythos that are attached to Halloween. For Chaplain Cloth and his followers (Church of Midnight), Halloween is an opportunity for them to open a gateway between our world and the Old Domain. Standing in their way are the Nomads, Martin and Teresa, weary and shrewd individuals that are charged with protecting the Heart of the Harvest each year from Cloth and his demonic pumpkin children. Each time the Nomads fail, the gateway grows and the Church of Midnight and Morning move closer to being reunited.
Ethridge displays remarkable skill in both storytelling and writing aptitude (for lack of a better term). The story itself for "Black & Orange" is rather compelling. From the time that I started reading it until I finished, I had a hard time putting the book down. Benjamin's writing is also extremely accessible. In general, I am not a huge fan of novels that involve fantasy elements because often times the writing is rather cumbersome. In creating this new Halloween thriller, Ethridge is able to paint the entire picture in the reader's mind without unnecessary embellishments.
After finishing the novel and letting it marinate a bit, I must say that one of my favorite parts of it was how Benjamin dealt with his characters. While Cloth and his followers were definitely evil in many aspects, I also got the sense that they believed in their cause (how good or bad it is left to the reader). Cloth has a job to do and lets nothing get in his way.Read more ›
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Benjamin Kane Etheridge has created an amazingly complex mythos for Black & Orange. There's the Church of Midnight, a mysterious organization whose goal is to unite with the Church of Morning located in the Old Domain, a place separate from the real world and filled with horrors.
Each Halloween there is a temporary opening between worlds and there are forces at work to make the opening permanent and another group whose goal it is to keep it closed.
To keep the portal closed is the job of two Nomads assigned to protect that year's Heart of the Harvest. If they fail and the Heart is captured then the opening between worlds grows closer to permanence. On the other hand, if the Heart is protected, the Church of Midnight must wait until next Halloween before trying again.
In order to assist in protecting the Heart of the Harvest, the Nomads are endowed with magical powers, specifically, the ability to create mantles, I think of these as magical apps.
Opposing them are members of The Church of Midnight. In addition to trying to locate the Heart of the Harvest, there is a good deal of in-fighting amongst the Bishops of the church. One of my favorite lines in the book concerns newly appointed Bishop Paul Quintana, "He'd even killed Justin, blew his best friend's head into vulture kibble, just to sit in this chair, just to say hello to her."
Black & Orange is challenging fare, but certainly worth the effort. It actually won the Bram Stoker award for best First Novel. One of the things that makes this story work so well is the way the writer breathes so much life into the people in the book. They're more than just characters moving through plot twists.Read more ›
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Benjamin Kane Ethridge is the Bram Stoker Award winning author of the novel BLACK & ORANGE (Bad Moon Books 2010). For his master's thesis he wrote, "CAUSES OF UNEASE: The Rhetoric of Horror Fiction and Film." Available in an ivory tower near you. Benjamin lives in Southern California. When he isn't writing, reading, videogaming, Benjamin's defending California's rivers and streams from pollution.