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Long Lankin Hardcover – July 10, 2012
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—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
This debut horror story set in Britain during the late 1940s starts slowly but weaves a chilling spell that will immerse readers in this world and hold them through to the breathless conclusion. . . .A spine-tingling selection.
—School Library Journal
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Top Customer Reviews
When Cora and her little sister Mimi are sent to live with their Great-Aunt Ida, it is clear from the start that they are neither wanted nor welcome in her house. For the time being the children must stay with her but she immediately sends word to their father that he must come get them, and he must come get them now. Cora, intrigued by the mysteries of the house despite their Aunt Ida's constant demands to 'not do this' and 'not do that', begins searching the house and the closely residing and equally mysterious church. Cora gleans information from various papers found in the house, from the local neighbors, and from strange carvings like the words 'Cave Bestiam' which is found in several locations. Cora finds out more than she bargained for: that her and her family are intertwined in the mystery, that no one is safe, and that there really is something very real to fear.
I found the writing to be quite gripping and reminded me at times of Susan Hill's writing in The Woman in Black. I've read several books that write using multiple different points of view and they're not always done as well as could be. I believe it takes a talented author in order to make a multi-point-of-view story not seem too terribly overwhelming; this is definitely one of them. The main focus is on Cora and Roger but you occasionally get an unsettling view of Cora's Aunt Ida and the occasional glimpse into past events.
Okay, so, I'll admit it. I refused to read this alone. I also required a lot of sunlight. And yes, I'm a big weenie. It wasn't exactly creepy the entire time though. It was a bit like riding a wave, honestly.Read more ›
Cora and Mimi have no clue what they're in for when they are sent to stay with Aunt Ida. She clearly doesn't want them there, and it has little to do with being old and set in her ways. There's a long history of disappearances and death in her family, all of children.The village boys Cora befriends have no clue, either. There's a long-standing warning to stay away from the parish church building, with no explanation. This of course, doesn't stop anyone from exploring, though the church is little-used and frightening.I really like these characters. Cora is brave and thinks quickly. The boys personalities complement hers very well. Mimi is nearly a side character, despite the action revolving quite a bit around her. And Aunt Ida, the classic tragic character. All of them share in the telling of the story, changing narrators as needed. Thankfully, it's well done and the story doesn't lag or have missing blocks because of it.
I read the last several chapters under my desk at work because I just couldn't put it down.
While I was reading it, I compared it to the Stephen King novel, It, as both books had a very similar theme. I thought that this book was better.
Why? Because it was strictly British with no boomercentric pop culture references; even though these two novels are set in the same time period. Also, we don't delve into the details of the characters lives and learn a lot of personal things that have nothing to do with the story.
The monster is better. I really loved the Beowulf reference during the final battle with Long Lankin.
I am just a sucker for a novel with a moldering old manor house, a Domesday Book family with a curse and an ancient monster out of legend. You just can't get much better than that.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a traditional, creepy ghost story.
Pet Lover's Advisory: SPOILER!
A good dog dies a brave death in this story. The death is not a gratuitous manipulation of the reader's emotions, but integral to the story. Not bloody, gory, disgusting, but he does die......so be warned!
Long Lankin is told from the perspective of three characters: Cora, the outspoken older sister to Mimi; Roger, one of the Bryers Guerdon neighborhood boys who becomes Cora's friend; and Mrs. Eastfield, Cora and Mimi's troubled, reclusive great aunt. Each character has their own distinctive speech pattern and personality, insuring that as many details as possible are covered from multiple perspectives. I really came to enjoy each character over time, though I was very much put off by Mrs. Eastfield, at first. Once you learn more about her, however, you come to realize that she is a woman in torment from her past, all thanks to the story's antagonist: Long Lankin. Oh, my. Long Lankin (aka Cain Lankin) has to be the most frightening monsters I have read about in a long time and reminded me very much of Rawhead and Bloody-Bones, a figure from Yorkshire folklore that is absolutely horrifying. I made the mistake of finishing the novel at night and let me tell you, I was very jumpy as I read about the main conflict with Long Lankin. Don't say I didn't warn you.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Beautifully written, evoking a past time with well-delineated voices for the three first-person characters. Eerie and creepy. Read morePublished 26 days ago by A LE BAS DE PLUMETOT
I remember how I just had to have this book when it was published, so I purchased and shelved it immediately. Read morePublished 1 month ago by misspider
Really enjoyed this. Great characters. Should make into a movie if it's not already. Couldn't put it down!Published 4 months ago by Kindle Customer
I thought Long Lankin was great.
This is the sort of creepy, supernatural novel I adore. I loved the atmosphere created throughout the novel, the constant sense of... Read more
Was slow for about 40% of the book to start, but the mystery kept me reading.Published 9 months ago by Shannon Lyon
I absolutely loved this book! I love horror books so after reading the description and seeing the cover, I knew I had to read this one. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Amanda Torres
This story was such a creepy mystery to watch unfold. This is one I would love to see turned into a movie.Published 16 months ago by Sarah Rout
A good old-fashioned ghost story. Great characters and good creepiness. A very enjoyable read!Published 16 months ago by NRBailey