Reviews

The Blackening, by Seán O'Connor

spookishmommy's review

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I was intrigued by the setting taking place in Iceland but unfortunately, this book was not for me. I gave it about 50 pages and just couldn't get into it. I promised myself in 2021 I wouldn't force myself to finish something that isn't holding my interest.

motherhorror's review

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3.0

THE BLACKENING is my third Seán O'Connor read. The last book, WEEPING SEASON was a fast paced, page-turner. I enjoyed it. This book seemed to mash-up a favorite genre, Crime/Murder Mystery (set in Iceland! Bonus) with a not-so-favorite genre, Cosmic Horror.
The book starts off with a bit of Amity/Jaws vibe when a woman disappears under very mysterious circumstances and the lead investigator wants to cancel a big tourist attraction for the safety of the townsfolk but the Police Commissioner vetos this with a concern for tourist dollars over safety.
A subplot with some scientists develops. They are researching a black substance found at the location where the missing woman was last seen. This sub-plot, in my opinion, should have lead the story. For me, this is just a case of one part of the story being more interesting for the reader than the other and a growing frustration anytime the focus shifts to the less unique storyline. I loved touring around Iceland with O'Connor because it felt so authentic--to the point where I'm sure the author has either traveled there a few times or just researched the hell out of it. The cosmic horror element was a great compliment to the missing woman story and then when THE BLACKENING transitions into a creature-feature is when I felt a little bit of a lift. However, with all the set-up, thin character development, and some clunky dialog weighing these aspects down--the wind dropped out of the sails for me.
A solid 3 stars that could have easily been 4 or 5 with some re-working. As per usual, I will always read anything O'Connor puts out because he does have a unique storytelling voice that I enjoy.

findingmontauk1's review

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dark mysterious slow-paced
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? N/A

2.5

I keep telling myself I love or want to love cosmic horror, but maybe that sub-genre just is not my thing. But here is an element of cosmic horror that I DO love:  I love creepy tentacle horror.  But that is not what defines cosmic horror in totality.  That might have been the reason I did, for the most part, enjoy THE BLACKENING by Seán O'Connor.  Tentacles just get me.  Maybe I need to focus on the tentacles and not the word/description "cosmic" anymore?

THE BLACKENING is the story of an Icelandic village that is about to have a Northern Lights Festival.  Tourists start to go missing.  There is an angry and hot-tempered cop who ultimately wants to do the right thing, a power hungry and greedy police commissioner, and a quirky and curious scientist and her research assistant.  I wanted more from these characters than some of the same tropes and repetitive dialogue.  I could not connect to any of them and was already fairly annoyed by our lead protagonist, police inspector John Ward, from the first few pages of his entrance.

I did really enjoy the Icelandic scenic descriptions of black sand beaches, underground caves, and when the overall mood would be detailed.  I thought the action that picks up heavily in the last 1/3 of the book was written well and turned this book into something more fast-paced.  And I think descriptions of some of the deaths, the corpses in the aftermath, the combination of Nordic noir with cultish monster mayhem, and the monster itself were quite intriguing.  So I think my biggest issue with the book is the character development or somewhat lack thereof.

(Special thanks to Night Worms and author Seán O’Connor for this #NightWormsBookParty review copy)!

teamredmon's review

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adventurous mysterious medium-paced
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.0

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