Jessica Verday's debut novel caught my attention as it follows the story of a few of the present-day inhabitants of Sleepy Hollow. I have a fondness for books that retell other stories, be it folk tales and fairy tales or reinventions of classics. Sadly, apart from the excerpts that start off each chapter from Irving's Sleepy Hollow,
, we actually get extraordinarily little retelling until the very last thirty pages or so and even then it was mostly laying groundwork (or what I very much like to hope was the groundwork) for a much more intense second volume in a planned trilogy. And I hope that the next two volumes focus more on the The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories aspect of the story.
Apart from the disappointing lack of retelling going on (it was there, but so vague and left alone for such long stretches that you barely remembered the last reference made to it), I had a difficult time connecting with a lot of the characters. Caspian was practically non-existent as a character and was just there as the love interest. Abbey had a little more going on. She was grieving the death of her best friend, only to find that her friend had been keeping secrets from her, secrets that seem to have led to her untimely death. The depth of her loss was illustrated quite well and I was really able to feel how close Kristen and Abbey were and how much her death has affected Abbey. Abbey's passion for perfume making was interesting. As was her love of Sleepy Hollow and her connection to the legend. I just felt at times that her reactions to things was not quite authentic. I could certainly appreciate her feeling that she was going insane.
I really loved Nicholas and Katie:)
And the pacing and length? Ouch. About two hundred pages could have been shaved, for me at least. I really felt things needed to move a lot faster than they did and for such a long page count, not a whole lot actually occurred and even less was resolved.
So, overall, I feel that the idea behind the story has a lot of potential and I will be reading the next volume in the trilogy in the hopes that I see that idea being shaped more fully.
Edit October 17, 2010 ~ I just finished The Haunted and suffice to say that it fulfills none of the potential I had hoped that it would. I did not enjoy it at all. What few points I felt were well done in the debut were gone, I disliked the characters and was just left with a feeling of general dislike for the story when I finished. I may or may not read the last depending on what I hear. I still think the books are overly long, still wish there was more of a SLEEPY HOLLOW connection and more about Abbey's perfume-making. Alas.