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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin Fife

Great Gothic Tale in the Tradition of the Classics

Updated: Feb 14, 2020

I recently did a quick listen to Joshua Quillan’s narration of An End in Ice by Rachel Ford. Having never tried any of their works, I didn’t know what to expect, though I had expected possibly some tongue in cheek humor based on some of her other titles. Not so in this title. I was pleasantly surprised by both the writing & the performance. Radu is your average Romanian young man in the 14th century or so (I may be off by a century or so). The story is told in first person, entirely from his perspective, and without giving away much, his transformation into a vampire. I don’t like vampire books. I don’t like modern monster shows or books (Doctor Who being my exception to the rule). I have no desire to ever read or watch Twilight. I shy away from science fiction variations on vampires. That being said, I LOVED this little book. Like so many gothic era horror stories before it, instead of focusing on the monstrous & disturbing for the sake of being monstrous & disturbing, it highlights the duality of human nature, like The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (my oldest daughter's favorite book btw). Both within Radu’s own mind, within his family and within his community, Rachel Ford explores what it is to be human and what it is to be monster, and the irony that there can be a very slim line. Joshua Quillan’s performance was also superb. The book is the inner thoughts of Radu & Quillan did a great job making him alive, along with the dialogue of other characters throughout the book. His pacing was great & meaning given to the text continually shone through. My one complaint on his performance – The voice of Radu in his head vs. when he actually speaks is a little to starkly different. I do understand the story is being told as if it were years later & his reflecting on what happened, but he remains the same “physical age” as it were through the whole book, though to say he has no character development would be oversimplifying things undoubtedly. Even with my one complaint, I still loved his performance & would recommend it to anyone interested. I would also most definitely read or listen to books from Rachel Ford & Joshua Quillan again. One more tiny little thing - Joshua Quillan's name was misspelled on the cover for the audiobook. I received a promotional copy of this book from StoryOrigin, but my opinions are my own.

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