Saturday, May 10, 2014

"House of Bathory" by Linda Lafferty

This book had great potential. Its premise was intriguing, the cover alluring, and the star rating online was rather high. This led me to scoop this up in one of the "Kindle Daily Deals" binge-buys. Now, I kind of regret buying it.

House of Bathory is supposed to be about Countess Bathory, vampires, goths, and Carl Jung's "Red Book". It ended up sounding like the author had it out for Goths, as she in no way accurately depicted them. I know because I was only accepted in the public high school into their groups, due to my fondness for strange colored hair dyes (midnight blue, purple). In this book, the author succeeds in displaying them like the vast majority have some type of mental illness. The people I hung with weren't prickly, were highly intelligent, extremely eloquent with their words, and were in no way mentally ill. They wore black because they liked black, they did have an interest in paranormal doings, but it wasn't as excessive, as portrayed in this book.

Daisy Hart, the "goth" girl in this book, sounds like a horrendous pantomime of a high school cheerleader who took various hallucinogenic drugs and decided to become what she viewed as "goth". I wanted to reach through my Kindle and wring her little neck. She's annoying, and a bit of a "female dog", but in a way that insults the entire population of female dogs out there. This resulted in the book being a pain for me to read.

The Plot:
Storyline #1, set in 1610: Countess Bathory is old, but her face remains young. Her servants mysteriously vanish. People get angry.

Storyline #2, set in 2010: Dr. Betsy Path has a problem patient, a goth named Daisy Hart. Daisy sits through sessions without saying a word, until one day Daisy and her mother clash over her "choking problem". Her throat closes up with no apparent cause. Betsy analyzes Daisy's dreams. They mull over things. Betsy's mother turns up missing in Slovakia, while researching Countess Bathory.

Two different stories, that aren't particularly related, except that all characters are descendants of Countess Bathory or her servants, or they're all somehow psychically in tune, or something. It's all rather muddy. In the end, nothing about that is really resolved.

I also noticed the author chooses to cut up scenes, I suppose to make it more... awful easily read? But this resulted in jarring the reader from being in the book to the reader thinking: "I'm reading a book, and this author keeps dragging me away from reading to look at this ugly 'cut scene' pictograph". There are scenes that could readily be combined, or cut altogether.

This book was disappointing for me. Perhaps if I didn't know anything about the "goth" scene, I could have liked it, but Daisy still would irk me. As I read before I bought this, the two plotlines never made sense together, and read as two books, never truly meeting until the end, which was rushed.

The author cites a girl in her acknowledgements as telling her about the "Aspen High goth scene". I feel sorry for whoever this is, and therefore you will have to dig the name up in the book if you need to know. I hope she was a goth like I met in high school, intelligent and witty, and dearly wish that in no way did Linda Lafferty base Daisy Hart on her.

Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars, for "Goth" misinformation and choppiness. Daisy Hart: your mother is right.

Content: A weird f-bomb, a misplaced endorsement of President Obama, some descriptions of extreme violence, so to be safe, 18+ years, if you dare to read it after my scathing critique.

Page Count: 461 pages

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