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Rawblood by Catriona Ward
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Rawblood

by Catriona Ward

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This novel can be a bit confusing because it is not a linear story. Each chapter is written by a different person who has been affected by "her". In order to read this novel, you need to pay careful attention or else you will find yourself utterly lost. That being said, I found the story to be highly engrossing. I enjoyed putting the pieces together and seeing how the Villarca curse has affected those in the Villarca family line, as well as those who aren't directly a part of this family. I liked the fact that the story didn't flow smoothly; I enjoyed the jarring effect of being caught up in one story just to be yanked out and put into another. It made the reading of this novel so much fun! I also quite liked the way the author resolved the issue of the curse and how she ended everything. This novel definitely gave me chills here and there but it made me think more than anything. Overall, a really interesting ghost story that I enjoyed very much!

I received this novel as an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

For more reviews, visit: www.veereading.wordpress.com ( )
  veeshee | Jan 29, 2018 |
When it comes to horror a Gothic tale has something that with all likelihood always will appeal to me. Add a mysterious family haunted by an entity just called "her" and I'm sold. THE GIRL FROM RAWBLOOD instantly appealed to me with its fascinating cover and interesting description. Iris and her father live in a lonely old mansion on Dartmoor and he warns her that she should never fall in love because strong feelings bring on "her" and when she comes, brutal death will follow. Nevertheless, Iris does fall in love and with that, a series of events begin that lead Iris to learn the truth about "her."

READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION!
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  MaraBlaise | Dec 14, 2017 |
Catriona Ward’s The Girl from Rawblood almost defies description as it crosses generations, characters, and locations. It is part haunted house/ghost story, part social commentary, part family tragedy. It is all of those things and somehow none of those things. There is plenty to disturb and plenty to sadden. There is even more to make you question your sanity and wonder what is happening. The general sense of unease crystallizes into a sense of horror as the pieces fall into place, leaving you to marvel at what Ms. Ward accomplishes.

Iris Villarca is only one of the characters at the heart of this tragic and compelling story. The story starts and ends with her, but along the way we touch on the lives of her ancestors and how they are each affected by the family curse. Just what the curse is remains nebulous, as are the reasons why the family is cursed, but that does not stop the terror from filling you when “she” makes an appearance. Much as one builds a lasagna, each member of the Villarca family adds another layer of understanding to the mystery of the curse and to Iris’ predicament. Theirs is not a happy story by any means, but there are snippets of brightness and love that ease some of the tension and reminds you that to give up on love means to give up on life.

The Girl from Rawblood is not a horror story in the Stephen King sense of the word. There exists violence and danger throughout the story; there is gore as well. Yet, it is not as assertive as King’s novels. With few exceptions, the violence is subtle, mostly off-screen and referenced in passing. The gore is less subtle, and there are some scenes involving medical testing that will turn your stomach. However, the sense of overriding fear that some of King’s novels cause remains lacking in Ms. Ward’s. One can still consider the novel horrifying but not for the reasons one expects when considering a horror novel.

Given all of that, and for many more reasons, it is no wonder that The Girl from Rawblood won the 2016 prize for Best Horror Novel at the British Fantasy Awards last year. Ms. Ward takes the traditional ghost story and turns it on its head with her cross-generational family curse. She also infuses the story with more concrete examples of horror – the kind humans can instill on each other. Combined together it is a novel that entices and horrifies readers, all the while allowing them to marvel at the genius twist on the genre Ms. Ward uses to create a novel that is similar to so many other novels but in the end so completely different from them all.
  jmchshannon | Mar 9, 2017 |
This book was a ghost story. The family that resided in the house called Rawblood had a hereditary disease whereby they must avoid strong feeling and excitement and most of all they need to stay away from other people.

I seriously think that this would have been a better story had it been a lot shorter. The author kept going back and forth from past time to present time which sometimes got very confusing. By the time I got to the end of the book, I was really wishing that I had not requested this book. The book took several hours that I could have spent on another book which I think I would have liked much better. As I said, this one became so confusing and unfortunately I kept reading it, hoping I would figure something out and it never happened.

Again, I think this would have been much better as a short story without all the confusing background history stuff thrown in.

Thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark for approving my request and to Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  debkrenzer | Feb 6, 2017 |
A brilliant bit of craft, but not one I particularly enjoyed. Ward deftly evokes a Gothic atmosphere, but delivered too few characters I cared about to keep me engaged.

Full review. ( )
  imyril | Oct 22, 2016 |
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At the turn of England's century, as the wind whistles in the lonely halls of Rawblood, young Iris Villarca is the last of her family's line. They are haunted, through the generations, by "her," a curse passed down through ancient blood that marks each Villarca for certain heartbreak. Iris forsakes her promise to her father, to remain alone, safe from the world. She dares to fall in love, and the consequences of her choice are immediate and terrifying. As the world falls apart around her, she must take a final journey back to Rawblood where it all began and where it must all end.… (more)

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