Like Gothic literature in the classical tradition? Allow Colin Harker to cure your itch with The Feast of the Innocents, her debut novel which packs twists, turns, blood, and richly descriptive pose that swims round and round your head in the aforementioned classical tradition.

Oh, and more blood.

It’s a bit of a tome this one, with a wide-ranging character roster (I loved the ‘cast of principal characters’ at the beginning – classy touch) and a deepening story that sprawls over 500 pages. Yes, you’re getting your money’s worth here, but not just in page count. Nothing satisfies me more than tight editing and a story that’s clearly been cared for. Every page feels like a labour of love, and knowing first-hand Colin’s unbridled passion for Gothic fiction, I think it probably was.

Like all works in the vein of Stoker, Shelley, Maturin (Colin’s personal hero), or Lewis (serious lashings of The Monk vibes here), it takes our modern, attention-flittering sensibilities a few chapters to lock into the description-heavy, lengthy sentences and paragraphs of this kind of book. But I feel Colin also manages to inject enough contemporary influence so that it won’t be too jarring to those unaccustomed to this style of writing. There’s humour, dynamic characters, a forward-driving plot, and – of course – true horror.

Dive into The Feast of the Innocents today.

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