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Summary

In 1910, eleven-year-old Iris Villarca lives with her father at Rawblood, a lonely house on Dartmoor.

Iris and her father are the last of their name. The Villarcas always die young, bloodily. Iris believes it's because of a congenital disease which means she must isolate herself from the world.

But one sunlit autumn day, beside her mother's grave, she forces the truth from her father: the disease is biologically impossible. A lie to cover a darker secret.

The Villarcas are haunted, through the generations, by her. She is white, skeletal, covered with scars. When a Villarca marries, when they love, when they have a child - she comes, and death follows.

When Iris is fifteen, she breaks her promise to remain alone all her life, and the consequences are immediate and horrific.

©2015 Catriona Ward (P)2015 Orion Publishing Group

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Intricate and terrifying

What other book might you compare Rawblood to, and why?

Rawblood reminds me of Woman in Black - it has the same kind of menacing presence haunting the protagonist, but I don't think I've ever read/listened to another book quite like this. The non-linear narrative makes it challenging to follow but it's very much worth the effort.

What does Victoria Fox and Peter Kenny bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

The narrators drew me into the story and characters in a way that only a human voice can. There are scenes that I think would have felt merely melodramatic in print, but that the audible narration brought to life, making the tragedy of Iris's life seem real.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The story builds toward a climax that I never saw coming. Toward the end I began to suspect the origin of the ghost/curse. When the reveal comes, it's like a dam bursting, a torrent and there are so many emotions one after the other it's almost disorienting. You wouldn't get that effect in print, where you can pause for a moment or put the book aside.

Any additional comments?

It is a challenging read - the story takes place in multiple time periods, overlapping and twisted together. It's not a book to listen to while driving or doing something else you need to concentrate on: you'd miss important details. But if you have a long flight or commute, it's perfect.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Gothic horror

The most beautifully written horror story I've ever read/heard. The acting is phenomenal. It lulls you into a false sense of security and is genuinely terrifying and heart-breaking at the same time.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I really wanted to like this book, it sounded so interesting but it was very choppy, the plot and characters were all over the place. A bit confusing and overlong.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Some of it was a bit tedious to be honest. I listened to it in large chunks but found myself not very engaged with the story.

Would you be willing to try another one of Victoria Fox and Peter Kenny ’s performances?

No, I thought Victoria Fox particularly tried to act the story rather than tell it. The language does that. I found her narration very irritating. Peter Kenny was much better.

Any additional comments?

A very promising story but I found it ultimately disappointing.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Gets dull after a while...

Great for the first third then tails off and I was relieved when it was over! Such a shame as it started so so well.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful