The Official Description: Men have gone missing before.
The village of Krume is plagued by a haunted wood and a hungry witch. It’s been that way for as long as Hans and Greta can remember, though they have never seen the witch themselves; no one has.
When men start to disappear once again in the cover of night – their bloody hearts turning up on doorsteps – the village falls into frenzied madness.
Hans and Greta, two outcast orphans, find themselves facing accusations of witchcraft and are met with an ultimatum: burn at the stake, or leave the village forever.
With nowhere else to go, they abandon their only home.
As they venture into the strange forest, their path is fraught with horrific creatures, wild and vivid hallucinations, and a mysterious man tied to the witch’s past.
The Shrike is watching, just beyond the deep darkness of the woods.
Just the facts: Young adult, horror/fantasy, a retelling of Hansel and Gretal.
Dark, brooding! A combination of Hansel & Gretal and The Salem Witch trials. – Kinzie Things
My thoughts bit: This is a very dark retelling of Hansel & Gretal! Even though I believe it’s marketed as a Young Adult book, I would say it’s more New Adult or Adult. The content covered within is very somber in spite of the genre.
Hans and his twin sister Greta were orphaned when young and have stuck by one another in their small village. Through flashbacks (that can be a little confusing) the author tells the tale of their mother being killed in the forest, their father dying and the way that the village has come to think of the two of them as “unusual”.
When Hans breaks off his relationship with a lover, she begins to talk about how Greta is a witch and is controlling Hans. The rumors have appeared at the same time as the Shrike has begun killing locals men again! Hearts left on doorsteps are the calling card of the creature that lives in the forest and takes only men from the village. You can see where this is head! It’s a collision course for Greta with the villagers!
There are some truly disturbing images/moments in this story so kudos to the author for such frightening writing. The novel could use some editing, but as I read an ARC I’m not sure if it’s in its final format.
Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) attempted sexual assault/abuse, violence, and gore, death, severe injuries.
I received an ARC of The Shrike and the Shadows by Chaudry and Wright from The Parliament House via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.