This is the story of a girl who didn’t want to live…
Carrie Anne is desperately unhappy. Tangled in a web of abuse, she seeks solace in the cemetery that backs onto her garden. But something creeps between the gravestones. Carrie Anne is not alone
…and a boy who cannot die.
The cemetery is home to a boy. He has guarded these forgotten bones since meeting a gruesome end two hundred years ago. Neither dead nor alive, he has been watching for a long time. And now, he finally has the visitor he’s been waiting for…
This book quickly stood out as a favourite pick for many for Spooky Reads Week, so I had to get it for myself.
What I discovered was an incredibly unique and strangely beautiful, yet deeply disturbing story.
We first meet The Boy, in Victorian London. A boy who’s life is filled with pain and suffering from a sick mother and a twisted father. He longs to escape, but in his quest to learn the secrets of the dead, becomes unable to die.
Then there is Carrie Anne. I must say that while there is beauty to this story, it is not necessarily an easy read. The subject matters it covers – the abuse Carrie Anne suffers at the hands of her father – is not pleasant knowledge. There are no in-depth descriptions, so it’s not too vivid like that, but the hurt and suffering of a very young girl by the one man who should protect her, that felt very real and vivid indeed.
While trying to escape her suffering, Carrie Anne is drawn to the strange boy in the cemetery, and an unlikely friendship blossoms. They have a mutual understanding of childhoods stolen, and trust being breached. Carrie Anne finds herself drawn into the strange life of the un-dead boy, filled with rats, bugs and bones, but which still provides more comfort than she’s known for a very long time.
I must say that one thing Sebastian writes particularly well, is setting. In Victorian London, I completely felt like I was among the grubby streets with the boy. In the cemetery and the crypts, I could practically feel the dirty, rotting and damp surroundings.
The one thing that I struggled with, was that the book was filled with errors – spelling, punctuation etc. While I am used to receiving review copies, where the final editing is often yet to be done, I bought this on Amazon, and was therefore incredibly disappointed that I found myself stumbling over errors every few pages or so. It made for slightly difficult reading at times.
[Edit: Seb has since told me that this is being rectified, and I totally appreciate it is not his fault! So don’t let this dissuade you from getting the book!!]
However, it’s a fantastic and unique book, which overall I was very impressed with.