The Feast of All Souls: Alice’s house stands at a gateway between worlds. Now something has awoken on the other side – and she’s in its way…
378 Collarmill Road looks like an ordinary house. But sometimes, the world outside the windows isn’t the one you expect to see. And sometimes you’ll turn around and find you’re not alone.
The suburb of Crawbeck, on a hill outside the English city of Manchester, overlooks the woodlands of Browton Vale. Alice Collier was happy here, once, but following the end of her marriage and loss of her daughter, she’s come back to pick up the threads of her life.
John Revell, an old flame of Alice’s, reluctantly comes to her aid when the house begins to reveal its secrets. The hill on which it sits is a place of legends – of Old Harry, the Beast of Crawbeck, of the Virgin of the Height and of the mysterious Red Man – and home to the secrets of the shadowy Arodias Thorne.
And now Alice and John stand between him and rest of our world… – Goodreads
The Feast of All Souls Review
The Feast of All Souls was a long read that felt like a short one. That’s a good thing. The story flowed smoothly, the pacing was excellent, and the main character was one I empathized with. The author did a great job of establishing the creepiness factor almost immediately. I loved the weird ‘in-and-out of time’ sort of thing that was going on. That’s not often utilized, and when it is, it’s often over-done. This had the perfect amount in it.
I’m always nervous when I go into a book where the main character has lost a child. As a child loss mom myself, I’m sensitive to how it’s handled. I’m also afraid (especially in horror reads) of the needless detailed almost graphic depictions that some authors like to include in their books of dead children. Luckily, The Feast of All Souls has a talented writer who handled the child loss angle well and didn’t need to stoop to depictions of dead kids to get his point across.
Now, The Feast of All Souls was a bit predictable in a couple of elements. (Some big, some small.) However the author made up for this when he went against the grain and pulled an ending I was not expecting. I had been preparing myself for a certain thing to happen, and when it didn’t I was left blinking at the page in almost shock for a moment. I love it when an author dares to do the unexpected.
Honestly, my favorite part of The Feast of All Souls probably was the main character. She felt so very real. Even though I’m normally not very character oriented, she drew me in. Simon Bestwick did a fantastic job of illustrating how even though it feels like your whole life can be overcome by grief, you still manage to go on. There was one particular line in the book that I loved.
“Grief couldn’t occupy your every waking thought past a certain point; the old banalities crept back in. Sometimes that was almost comforting.” – Simon Bestwick, The Feast of All Souls
And, actually, talking of quotes that I liked, there was another one. As I am non-religious, I bounced in my seat when I read this quote. He put it perfectly. Perfectly!!
“And people wondered how she bore the idea of a universe without purpose, without a guiding intelligence? It was actually far less terrifying than the alternatives: being the playthings of a god or gods with the attributes of sadistic children, or pawns in the crossfire of a never-ending war between God and the Devil.” – Simon Bestwick, The Feast of All Souls
Overall, while I can’t say that The Feast of All Souls was a masterpiece, I really liked it. Enough so that this will probably go on my re-read list. By the time I was on the last page, it felt like I was reading a ‘comfort book’. One that you go to when you need a read that’s not going to excite you or make you think too hard. One that you can just settle in and enjoy. Good job by Simon Bestwick.