Ah, Halloween. A time for scares, candy, costumes, and—wait, what do you mean it’s November? But I have a review for Halloween! That’s not fair! What am I… oh, yeah. It’s the internet and there are no deadlines. And it’s my blog, so I can totally post a late review.
Let me start off with a question: Do you like romance? What about the supernatural? Magic? A little bit of action? Maybe a dash of horror? Or mystery, I bet you like that, right? What if I told you there is a story out there that combines all of these into a relatively small novel?
Now now, put the strait jackets away. I have enough of those. Really though, this book exists! Bleeding Heart Yard by Noah Chinn (who was awesome enough to let me interview him) is the magical tome I speak of. This novel really fits into a number of categories, not just one, and it ties all of these genres together wonderfully.
The story follows a man who was cursed as a boy (Peter) and his witch-spawn friend (Red) whose mother is a bit curse-happy. The story mainly focuses on Peter’s curse and Red’s attempts to remove it before, without giving too much away, literally every word out of Peter’s mouth is some form of insult or profanity. Adding to this entertainment is the loner, anti-magic Evelyn and her beyond crazy co-workers, the sweet aspiring writer who is dealing with her own kind of crazy Amy, and a horrible creature named Vargr that creates quite a stir in England.
If just the character descriptions don’t make you want to read it, you and I are very different people and I would like if you would show yourself out of my blog space.
Anyway, back to the story and spoilers. Things are pretty standard at first, but they really pick up when Peter’s curse is activated. He and Red meet up and begin working towards breaking it with a great amount of difficulty. It doesn’t help that the entire process is interrupted by Vargr being trapped in the modern dimension.
Evelyn is kind of there for the ride and occasional support, while Amy is basically the center of most of the problems (other than Red’s mother, that is) due to a curse that keeps her soul from finding peace, causing her to be reincarnated and brutally murdered in every life. Peter and Red try to find a way to break Peter’s curse (which keeps him from being able to say a kind word to Amy, his soul mate), as well as Amy’s, but things get complicated when they realize Vargr is trying to kill Amy to use her to open a portal home… and possibly come back with friends.
As things get more and more serious, Red makes a believer out of Eve by using a spell he has deemed “Hadoken” and ropes her into using her connections to the authorities to try to catch Vargr. After several misunderstandings, a sacking, and a lot of “please let this get fixed fast” from me, a party pops up that Eve convinces Amy to attend so a close, friendly eye can be kept on Amy at all times. This leads into what amounts to a nice little action scene, followed by heart breaking moments as we learn that one curse was in fact broken, and somebody may still end up dead.
Chinn really knows how to keep readers on their toes, and he is even better at finding satisfying ways to end his stories. Instead of the whole “everybody lived happily ever after “ route, we find out Amy’s curse was broken by Red when he killed Vargr (this being dark magic, and something Red prefers not to use), saving her life. But what about Peter? Well, turns out Amy forces Red to explain everything to her, and when he does, they agree to place a new curse on Amy. One that lets her know what people really mean when they speak, meaning there is no way you’re lying to that chick. The story more or less ends there, followed by a sweet little Epilogue where we catch up on the cursed, the magic, and the direction their lives have gone in since everything went down.
This is the type of story that has you tilting your head left and right, laughing, rooting for the good guys, biting your nails, and overall having fun with it. It’s written very well, though you may not like it if you want everything to be relevant to everything else right away. The character development is great, the cast is nice and fleshed out, and nobody really feels like a useless background character.
Overall, this is a great read. It’s not overly long, so you really have no excuse for not taking a day or two out of your life to read it, especially if you love a mix of genres within the same story. Would I recommend this book? Stupid question, because the answer is obviously yes, over and over and over again. It’s entertaining, captivating, and Chinn deserves to know his work is appreciated.
Rating: 10/10 poor fools who messed with the wrong witch (which… I don’t have any pictures of…)