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Bad Blood by Rhiannon Lassiter

Bad Blood

by Rhiannon Lassiter

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845219,731 (3.73)5
When Katherine, Catriona, John and Roley are forced to go on holiday to Fell Scar house, they know things will be grim. Inside the sinister house is a game, begun and abandoned years ago. At last it can be finished. The children don't know the rules and they quickly learn that in this game they are pawns not players.… (more)



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Showing 5 of 5
Creepy goodness, excellently difficult, sometimes un-likeable characters that I came to sympathise with - well, okay, not the mum, but I suspect she was meant to piss me off.

It is the un-likeable characters that I like so much in Lassiter's books. Not merely characters who are misunderstood by others - in Bad Blood, Cat is not misunderstood at all - but clever, interesting girls who are smart but sometimes very wrong.

( )
  veracite | Apr 7, 2013 |
Let down by the ending, this is otherwise a very creepy YA horror story. Completely free of gore, nethertheless it sends chills down your spine and tingling over your shoulder very much in the manner of MR James' best ghost stories.

A modern family - comprising of two remarried children and each of their children (a boy and a girl each). Decide to go on holiday to the ex-wife's family home in the Lake District. The boys generally get along, but the two girls Katherine and Catronia (both called cat) despise each other, starting with the theft of "their" name by the other girl. Very quickly the children notice there are lots of weird things about the house. A collection of mutilated dolls with one pristine leader; books with every character's name fiercly excised; and shapes that appear in the depths of mirrors. As the children explore the surrounding, they find many other curisoities, and some of the local children don't seem that normal either. When one of the girls finds her mum's old diary with details of the "Make Believe Game" that they used to play, events begin to make sense. Then on a night riven by a massive storm, Cat takes things too far, and the other Cat resorts to the diary to make things even.

The beginning and even middle is really good, very atmospheric, and creepy. Once the non-human creatures start to appear the belivability and suspense rachets down and the whole thing feels a lot more YA. The ending is a let down in turns of drama although well plotted and imaginative. I did think there was more that could have been done with the concept. There are also some loose ends in that how/why of Delima is never explained, and she passes out of the story.

The characters suffer the same lack - superficially quite good, but when examined in detail, there are many flaws. The fmaily structure is also quite confusing and it takes a while to get used to how each child is related. Catroina, for example, is supposed to be a modern 'hip' girl, concerned with fashion and image, but this never really comes across properly. She has no reaction at all to stepping in a muddy puddle for example. The emphasis on the technology seems forced rather than natural. The young boy, John, fails as a 10 yr old, suddenylgaining wisdom beyond his years and overcomoing fears in a very unbeiable manner.

The prose is quite readable, but the sudden jumps from character to character are disconcerting at times. The story probably suffers form too many people. It might have worked better with just two children and locals. Overall though, its worht reading for the inital creepiness, and the author certainly has the talent to keep an eye on, but this may not be the peak of her skills. ( )
1 vote reading_fox | Mar 2, 2011 |
I'd seen this book a few times but always dismissed it. Finally, I decided to give it a try and I'm pleased I did as it's the best book I've read in ages! The plot flows so well and with great characters I really did find myself turning page after page after page. I really didn't want to put it down. I visit the Lake District regularly and it was nice to read about the area but also with a bit of mystique attached to it.

For a teen novel even I was creeped in some places, I'd love to hear from a child who's read it. It really is an exciting novel full of mystery and suspense. Some aspects are obvious but I don't feel a teen reader would see these bits coming.

The only criticism I have is that it seemed to take me ages to get the family links right. You have 4 children, 2 belonging to the mother in the story and 2 belonging to the father and I kept getting the siblings and parents mixed up. However once I was about 20 pages or so into the story it all started to sink in.

All in all a fantastic read and one I'll be recommending to everyone! I'd love to (and will) read more by this author. ( )
1 vote SmithSJ01 | Jan 21, 2010 |
I didn't know what to expect from this book, but I thought it was very good. Social issues about families, divorce and separation are dealt with in a story about a family holiday to the Lake District. The book is set in the present but has a fairytale quality to it, as there are 'magic' books, scary dolls and 'living' trees/ woods. A great read for teens but also adults who may want something less 'intense' to read, although at times I was actually a little frightened! (Not telling you how old I am, but I'm not a teenager!) ( )
  djfifitrix | Jun 16, 2009 |
A brilliantly scary story about mutilated dolls, damaged books, and a forgotten game reaching through the decades to claim a new generation. ( )
1 vote Rubbah | Apr 10, 2009 |
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