Title: Martha Kite Among the Congregation in Exile
Author: D.W. Cropper
Genre: Horror, Fantasy
Date of Publication: April 20, 2018
Publisher: Reliquary Press
Martha Kite, a former pickpocket and actress, is hired by the Crown to rescue a supernaturally gifted child from a group of religious fanatics called the Congregation in Exile. But Father Simon Pitch will not be discouraged, and he will stop at nothing to resurrect the Great and Terrible Lord, even if that means killing the gifted child’s “ungifted” twin sister. Martha Kite is driven to protect and rescue both children, but at what cost?
While the story has a very quickly paced plot, the major appeal for this book is the language. D. W. Cropper makes use of an elaborately crafted narrative and complex language. In the beginning, I found it hard to follow because of the heavy tone and dense descriptions, which were at times overly complicated. I got used to it as the plot progressed and the story picked up. While complex, the book is very well written, and Cropper does an excellent job of setting a dark and twisted stage for his horror story to play out on.
I found that the language (at times) detracted from getting to know the characters. The overly formal tone paired with the third person perspective distanced me from the motives and desires driving each of the main characters. This made relating to the characters more challenging. However, as I already mentioned, this book is plot-driven with an emphasis on mood, setting, and language. It’s rare that you’ll find a book that has a quick plot, detailed setting, eloquent language and well-developed characters.
That said, I particularly appreciate the way that Cropper delves deep into the psyche of the insane. The language used is poetic at times, which almost made me feel more for the mad characters than the sane ones.
This book features also several intense fight scenes. The story is thrilling right up until the epilogue, where things finally die down, but there’s the promise of a follow-up instalment.
I loved how dark and atmospheric this book is. It’s definitely for fans of Lovecraftian-type tales, and I greatly appreciated the allusions to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The story explores familiar themes of obsession and occultism in addition to examining the spectrum of different types of dysfunctional sibling relationships.
I recommend this book to those who enjoy reading a distinctive writing style with a horrifying premise and a quick plot.
*Thank you to D.W. Cropper for the review copy!*
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