Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Review: Blackbrooke by Emma Silver

By Emma Silver
Crooked Cat Publishing

* A copy was provided by the publisher for review.

To Sum It Up: Blackbrooke is not your average town. It is shared between two different species: the humans and the Crits. Humans have the day while the Crits reign over the night; any humans out after dark are free game for the hungry Crits. Everyone in town has to follow The Rules; those people who "walk out" at night face certain death. Seventeen-year-old Liberty Connor follows The Rules religiously. She plans to travel the world with her boyfriend, Gabriel, once they turn eighteen and are free to leave. Everything changes, however, when some of the people closest to Liberty begin walking out, and she suspects that something more sinister than the Crits themselves is going on. With the help of some devoted friends, Liberty attempts to uncover Blackbrooke’s dark secrets.

Lee's Review: Horror movies and books have never been my thing. I freely admit that I am a complete wimp; monsters, blood, and gore freak me out to no end. It was with a bit of trepidation, then, that I started reading Blackbrooke. The premise sounded intriguing, though, and I was in the mood to read something outside of my normal genres, so I figured, why not give it a try? This book completely took me by surprise; I never expected to find a novel about evil, human-hunting creatures so compulsively readable.

Blackbrooke is one of the most original stories that I’ve read in a while. It’s not every day that you come across a town surrounded by creatures that are on the prowl for their next human meal. Silver makes this world very believable, and that was a huge factor in my overall enjoyment of the novel. I get frustrated with books that ask me to stretch the suspension of my disbelief to extreme limits, but that was not the case with Blackbrooke. The town’s history is so fascinating and unique that it’s practically a character.

As for the human characters, the protagonist, Liberty, is a fairly standard mix of smarts, courage, and determination. While I admired her fiercely protective nature, especially towards her little brother, Oscar, and her friend, Cassius, I didn’t find her as compelling as some of the other characters, like Cassius. All his life, Cassius’s skin condition has made him stand out, often marking him as a target of ridicule. I loved how he transformed into an unlikely hero, looking out for Liberty the way that she tried to shield him when they were children. I always root for the underdog in books, and Cassius won my support easily with his kindness, loyalty, and bravery.

For me, the standout character in Blackbrooke was Denzil, the town’s resident outsider and owner of the cleverly named Tales from the Crits shop, which peddles Crits-themed merchandise to tourists. Denzil is hilariously sarcastic, which endeared him to me instantly. I’m serious—this guy is never at a loss for something witty to say. Colorful personality aside, Denzil also proves himself to be a dependable, trusted friend to his lone employee, Liberty. If you ever find yourself being pursued by Crits, Denzil is your go-to guy for 1) refuge and 2) weaponry to teach those things a lesson.

Although I thought that the pacing was a little uneven at times, overall Blackbrooke was a very entertaining read. Whenever the Crits reared their hideous heads, the ensuing action was gleefully thrilling. I never would have predicted looking forward to the scary parts, but I absolutely did because they were brilliantly written. Thank you, Emma Silver, for making my foray into horror so much fun.

All in All: If you’re experiencing paranormal romance burnout, I suggest reading Blackbrooke. It creatively blends mystery and horror, and the human teenagers don’t fall in love with the first supernatural being they see because the Crits would rather eat them. I’m eagerly anticipating the sequel, which I hope will include plenty of Denzil appearances.

Ally's Review: Blackbrooke is a heart-pumping, bloodcurdling horror story. I love being scared; I think it's the adrenaline rush. I find it hard to be truly scared by a book, though. There are no images or sounds to captivate your senses; all you have are the writing on the page and your imagination. But Silver does a fabulous job of making her readers scared and creating suspense. Is it sad, on my part, that I had nightmares about the Crits?!

The story was so original and refreshing. I loved the whole concept of the Crits. There are four types of Crits in the book: the Watchers, the Hunters, the Lurkers, and the Queens. All of them are pretty scary, but I find the Queens the most horrifying. The Queens are the sick ringleaders of the Crits. But the Crits weren't the only characters who had my attention.

Liberty was a take-charge heroine. She recognized something was wrong, and she put her all into trying to fix it. That being said, Liberty wasn't my favorite character; I sometimes felt that she made risky decisions that put her friends in danger. Cassius was a cool guy, but I didn't really connect with him, either. I related mostly to the secondary characters, Denzil and Noah. Denzil is incredible! He happens to be Liberty's boss and owner of Blackbrooke's very own souvenir shop, Tales from the Crits. Denzil is hilarious, and he is not afraid to take on the Crits or the town! Noah was just as great. Noah was pretty witty himself, and, to me, he ended up being the bravest character in the whole book.

My favorite things about Blackbrooke were all the action and gore! When things were happening, things were happening! I was all caught up in the excitement; I was screaming at the characters and even occasionally covering my eyes. The gore was weirdly fascinating to me. It made everything feel more real, and it showed that the characters were not invincible.

I did have a few minor issues with Blackbrooke. It took me a little while to really get into the book. Liberty's relationships also seemed unconvincing. Despite Libby going on and on about Gabriel, I did not buy it. I couldn't see Liberty and Cassius as a couple, either. I think the romance element needed a bit more work.

Overall, I did enjoy the book. Blackbrooke kept me on my toes and gave me a good scare. I'm dying to find out what happens next!

All in All: Blackbrooke is a thrilling, suspense-filled horror story that takes its readers on an entertaining ride.


  1. Nice review, guys! Can't wait for your Character Interview with Denzil ;)


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