The Creeper

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Pub Date 15 Sep 2022 | Archive Date 15 Sep 2022
Head of Zeus, Head of Zeus -- an Aries Book

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The Creeper is a masterful tale of horror and suspense from one of Ireland's most talented emerging authors.

Superstitions only survive if people believe in them...

Renowned academic Dr Sparling seeks help with his project on a remote Irish village. Historical researchers Ben and Chloe are thrilled to be chosen – until they arrive.

The village is isolated and forgotten. There is no record of its history, its stories. There is no friendliness from the locals, only wary looks and whispers. The villagers lock down their homes at sundown.

It seems a nameless fear stalks the streets, but nobody will talk – nobody except one little girl. Her words strike dread into the hearts of the newcomers. Three times you see him. Each night he comes closer...

That night, Ben and Chloe see a sinister figure watching them. He is the Creeper. He is the nameless fear in the night. Stories keep him alive. And nothing will keep him away...

Reviewers on A.M. Shine:

'A dark, claustrophobic read.' T. Kingfisher
'Readers get an intimate glimpse into the fraying edges of each character's psyches... Will appeal to fans of Kealan Patrick Burke, Josh Malerman, and Scott Smith.' A.E. Siraki, Booklist
'An ideal read for the Halloween season, or any time you want some spookiness in your life!' Beauty and Lace

The Creeper is a masterful tale of horror and suspense from one of Ireland's most talented emerging authors.

Superstitions only survive if people believe in them...

Renowned academic Dr Sparling seeks...

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ISBN 9781801102209
PRICE £4.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 31 members

Featured Reviews

4.25 stars

For me , this feels like a step up from the previous book.
It's very creepy, and tense, and at times surprising, and at other times just made me shudder (not in a bad way).
There was one point where my jaw just hung open -I'm sure you'll know if you've read it.

Places Shine firmly on my MUST read author list.

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This is a slow burner but once the pages are lit there’s no putting this book down!
It takes a while for the story to get going, to the point I was going to move on to another book but I am so glad I kept reading.
The subtle hints at the horror becomes an intense sense of psychological fear that leaves you sleeping with the light on!

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“Three times you see him, she said. The first night he is far, far away. And the next night he’s closer. So close that you can see him, and he can see you. And then, on the third night, his big ugly face is at your window. The fourth night is your last night, because then uh-ho.”
After a strange job offering by mysterious Doctor Alec Sparling, historian Ben French and archaeologist Chloe Coogan travel to the secluded Tír Mallacht, a small village that exists outside of civilization. The assignment seems quite easy: interview some of the villagers and get some information around the figure of the Creeper, a folkloric figure that only seems to reside in this place. And then things take a turn for the worse.
After reading his first novel, The Watchers, and enjoying every page of it, I knew I needed to follow author A.M. Shine closely. I think I’ve never clicked faster than when I saw The Creeper was available at Netgalley, and I was ecstatic when I got granted early access to it.
Do you know the feeling when a story touches all the topics you are interested in? It had already happened with the Watchers, isolated location, noises at night, but I was just not prepared for the Creeper. I think it would be difficult for me to pinpoint another novel that checks all of my preferences: village in the forest with their particular folklore and tell-tales, check; outsiders who are not ready for what’s coming, check; creepy, stalker-y figure that only appears at night, check. Everything else, including some magnificent twist and turns and a jaw-dropping ending, check, check, check.
I think I need to update my “favourite authors” list right now.

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Thank you so much to Head of Zeus and A.M.Shine for allowing my the E-ARC of The Creeper.

After reading The Watchers I knew I had to read The Creeper and I was not disappointed.
I love the way A.M Shine writes, he captures you in his world and takes you on a journey. I felt confused at times but that was the point, it made you feel like Chloe and Ben, I questioned everything.
Towards the end I thought could it be but then I convinced myself that no it couldn't be. And the ending omg the ending. I kinda wish I could do spoilers so I can say what I want to say but I'm against spoilers and I want the reader to feel what the book intends them to feel.

Thank you again for accepting my request for this novel I'm truly grateful.

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A masterpiece of Old School gothic terror.

When penniless historian Ben French, and archaeologist Chloe Coogan are recruited by eccentric academic Dr Sparling to investigate Tir Mallacht, a remote village in southern Ireland, they think they have landed lucky. Until they arrive at the village and meet the residents. Sullen, in-bred and definitely weird, they seem to be stuck two hundred years in the past. No one will talk to them. And no-one goes out after dark. Then, a little girl mentions The Creeper...

And with that the reader is pulled into a classic tale of folk horror, complete with isolated village, half-crazed villagers, mad professor, and more twists and turns than you can handle.

First, the setting - rural Ireland, bleak and muddy. Then the village, isolated and forgotten, where no historical records exist, and a rundown church and burned out cottage hold sway over the villagers. Finally, the growing unease as Ben and Chloe piece together a story of evil, betrayal and fear. It's the perfect mix. The story moves along at speed, building tension as it goes, as we learn more about the village, its history and the links to the mysterious Doctor Sparling. We get a little background on Ben and Chloe, just enough to flesh them out and make us fear for their fates. There are a few genuine "jump out your skin" moments, but it's the slow-burning, gradual building of unease that makes this a page turner. And as the full back story emerges, it's truly horrifying. I honestly had to keep going to the end.

If an indie film producer doesn't buy the rights to this, they're mad.

"The Watchers", the author's debut novel was a breath of fresh air - truly creepy, in the manner of Machen, Blackwood or LeFanu. Whether you class his work as horror, folk-horror, or thriller, it's classic goose-bump inducing stuff. The Creeper is a fine follow-up, and I hope to read more from Mr Shine in the future.

I can't recommend the book enough, for fans of Algernon Blackwood, WC Ryan or Laura Purcell, or to someone just looking for a traditional spooky story. I was lucky to score a Netgalley ARC of the book, but can't wait to get my hands on a proper copy.

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This book had me on the edge since the first page.
If your looking for a gothic horror with influence of Irish folklore this book is for you.
Also thank you netgalley for the chance to read this ARC. I enjoyed it very much.

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Renowned academic Dr Sparling seeks help with his project on a remote Irish village. Historical researchers Ben and Chloe are thrilled to be chosen – until they arrive.
The village is isolated and forgotten. There is no record of its history, its stories. There is no friendliness from the locals, only wary looks and whispers. The villagers lock down their homes at sundown.
It seems a nameless fear stalks the streets, but nobody will talk – nobody except one little girl. Her words strike dread into the hearts of the newcomers. Three times you see him. Each night he comes closer...
That night, Ben and Chloe see a sinister figure watching them. He is the Creeper. He is the nameless fear in the night. Stories keep him alive. And nothing will keep him away...
Really enjoyed I couldn’t put it down totally recommend
Thank You NetGalley and Head Of Zeus
I just reviewed The Creeper by A.M. Shine. #TheCreeper #NetGalley

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I absolutely loved this book. I thought the story was going to be slow as I was about 25% into the book and nothing really had happened.

But then I realized how gripped I was by the actual story. A fright-fest, it is not. What it is, is a beautifully written, expertly spun story of folklore, survival, betrayal and revenge.

A few questions were raised that were not answered, but this can be forgiven.

I read before bed and usually only manage a couple of pages but I finished this in record time, several 2am late nights happened.

Definitely recommended.

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I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book and I was instantly hooked. This is my first A. M. Shine novel and it certainly did not disappoint. I've honestly never read anything like this, so for me it was completely original. It was such a well written story that was atmospheric and creepy from the start and throughout but also had elements that felt very close to real life. And that twist! I can't wait for this book to come out and for others to read it.

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Ireland has his own boogieman and he’s called ‘The Creeper’….

If you have never come across Ireland’s AM Shine then now is the perfect time to rectify that fact as this guy is going to be huge. Shine follows his excellent debut The Watchers (2021) with a second novel which will do Ireland’s tourist industry absolutely no favours whatsoever! The author’s fascination in his country’s culture and landscapes once again shine through, drawing their dark atmosphere and eloquence from the Gothic literature of yesteryear, giving his work extra depth and context. Both The Watchers and The Creeper and very Irish and are inspired by folklore, history and mythology with very clever plots built around a blend of these ideas. However, both novels are about much more than fairies at the bottom of the garden and bring very modern twists to tales which would not have been out of place if they had been set 500+ years ago.

I read The Watchers and The Creeper within two months of each other and enjoyed picking up the similarities but ultimately what impressed me most about his follow-up was how unique it was from its predecessor. Shine’s debut was great but he truly ups-the-ante in this terrific sophomore effort which I devoured in two days. If Shine is out to identify a niche in the market for literary horror novels, which have a strong sense of Irishness then he has already cornered the market and it is hard to see him having any genuine rivals. Fellow Irishman John Connolly might have been writing his legendary supernatural detective Charlie Parker series since the late nineties, but as they are predominately set in Maine/USA they do not count and I do not recall Charlie ever visiting the Emerald Isle!

The Watchers featured a young women getting stranded in a remote forest cottage after her car breaks down and she realises there is something nasty in the woods watching the house where she finds herself trapped with three others. In The Watchers the reader realises very quickly the creatures are real, however, in The Creeper much of the horror comes from the superb use of ambiguity and you are never quite sure what is real (or not) right up until the killer ending, with some outstanding shrouding of the truth. However, AM Shine does not leave the reader guessing or frustrated like some authors might and instead delivers another wild finish.

The Creeper has a great hook which partially revolves around a curse which is presented around following a set of rules (I won’t divulge them), which partially reminded me of the brilliant film It Follows and dances around the idea that superstitions only survive if people still believe in them. Remember this is set in Ireland, a country which is totally full of ancient superstitions, religious and otherwise. In the early stages of the novel cash-strapped history graduate (and jobless) Ben French and archaeologist Chloe Coogan (also just starting her career) are recruited by an academic to visit a remote Irish village and interview the locals. If Dr Alec Spalding is to be believed, this village has been isolated from the rest of Ireland for hundreds or years and is ripe for all sort of history, archaeological and anthropological studies. I initially found this part of the story hard to swallow, Ireland is not a big country, how could a community exist in isolation for so long? However, once you find out more about the place (and the curse) it becomes much more credible and easier to swallow.

Through their initial conversations with Spalding the pair realise he has a deeper interest in the village of Tír Mallacht, regarding their superstitions and in particular a shadowy figure he calls ‘The Creeper’. The novel is also seen from the point of view of Spalding, a very rational academic, who lives in isolation and never goes out after dark. Why? He has much more knowledge of The Creeper than he reveals to Ben and Chloe and why does anybody require their entire property to be locked down by metal shutters every night? Only an individual who is trying to stop someone or something gaining entry. Some terrific suspense sequences were developed around what Spalding was genuinely afraid of (and believed in) and it was nicely drip fed into the story and the idea that fears which originated in superstitions could be passed down from generation to generation was also very convincing.

As with its predecessor, this novel has some sublime plot switches which really ramp up in the final 25%, including some intense sequences when Chloe and Ben realise what they are up against. The story really picks up the pace when the pair arrive at Tír Mallacht and meet the unfriendly locals who (like Spalding) also never go out at night, but to reveal any more of what went on would head into spoiler territory, so you will have to make do with part of this very creepy rhythm about The Creeper sang to the pair by a mouthy little girl: “Three times you see him. Each night he comes closer...” To call the sequences in the village bleak would be an understatement, but they were equally riveting.

I really liked both Ben and Chloe and the reader was vividly sucked into their fraying psyches as they realised that in the modern world, where science can explain everything, that monsters might really exist. The terror which came with this switch in reality was beautifully pitched and wait until you get to the window scene! (you’ll know exactly what I mean should you read it). There was an outstanding Blair Witch inspired moment when they were camping near the village and they hear branches snapping and are certain there is somebody watching them outside. However, everything about this landscape was sodden, moody and threatening, all of which made the novel more unnerving.

The Creeper was a terrific read and if you have not read AM Shine before you have two great books to get your teeth into. The use of the supernatural, Irish local superstitions, curses and the clash with the modern world was absolutely perfectly pitched. Horror fiction is teeming with great boogiemen and ‘The Creeper’ ranks with the very best of them.

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Don't give up half way! It's such a slow start and everything is sooooo drawn out that most reviews I've read have all said the start is pants but then it gets really good! Whoch is the only reason I didn't give up and I'm so glad I didn't. Apparently its the writers sign style of writing but luckily the end is worth the very long boring start. The ending is suffiemcetly creepy and leaves you a little bit scared to open your binds after dark!! Really good read..... once you get through the incredibly dull start

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'The Creeper' left me not wanting to look out my windows. 😅

My initial response to the main characters wasn't positive and, to be honest, I still didn't like any of them much by the end but, unlike with most stories, my dislike of them didn't affect my enjoyment of the story.

I was quickly hooked by the plot and the story held my interest so strongly that I ended up reading the entire book in one sitting.

The story is a nice mix of gothic horror and folk horror that touches on the power of stories and the danger of belief.

I need to vaguely discuss the ending as it is the only aspect of the story that I have a slight issue with. When initially reading it, I enjoyed how everything played out. However, as soon as I stopped to think on it I realised just how improbable and unrealistic it was. The logistics alone make absolutely no sense.

That said, I'm willing to 'just go with it' in this situation as I enjoyed the book too much to care about whether the climax/twist actually makes practical sense or not.

Thank you to NetGalley, Head of Zeus, and A. M. Shine for giving me a free digital copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review.

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Dark, creepy and chillingly haunting. It was gripping and unpredictable, I couldn't put it down, a really great read.

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This is the second book that I’ve read from this author and this one gripped me a lot more than the first. The creeper was a combination of the village meets slender man and I enjoyed it! It was a bit of a slow start but it did help to build the tension, there were some quite tense moments but I would say this book was more creepy (ironic I know!) than out and out horror. I found there were a couple of unexplained questions which I won’t post here as I don’t want to spoil the ending but it was a little frustrating..

Overall I would be down to read more from this author, I can see each book published just getting better and better.

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I read alot of horror but this one genuinely scared me! Loved the character development and the mystery around the Dr character. Each chapter written from his perspective left me feeling uneasy. The descriptions of the people of the village was eerie and I'd love to read a prequel style book based on life in the village. Really excellent horror writing and would love to read more from this author!

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One of my surprise reads from 2021 was A.M. Sine's debut The Watchers – A spine-chilling horror adventure set in the remote and sinister forests of Ireland.

So – when the chance to read follow up The Creeper arose I jumped at the chance!

Right from the start you’re on edge – with the protagonist being hunted down by something that, at this point, we don’t know is real or a figment of an imagination gone wild.

Enter mysterious, wealthy, lonely Doctor Alec Sparling garnering information from a detective – in his pocket – and the hiring of History and Archaeology graduates Ben and Chloe to carry out an expedition to Irish village, Tir Mallacht, whose inhabitants haven’t left their confines for 200 years. Apparently.

It’s their job to find out more about the villagers’ lives and, if the opportunity arises, about a particular superstition called “The Creeper”. And as the tale progresses you’ll find out why Dr Sparling takes a particular interest in this bit of Irish folklore.

Unlike The Watchers, the author doesn’t confine us to one space for the majority of the book but there are times where it certainly feels claustrophobic. It’s also pretty tense in places, with more jump scares than a book should legally be allowed to have. As the superstition of The Creeper emerges – “I’m not allowed to talk about him. That’s how he finds you.” – Ben and Chloe are told exactly what to expect. They’ll see him three times before a fourth appearance that will render them lifeless. But of course, they don’t believe any of it – until…

To unwrap more of the plot would reveal the secrets and surprises that are locked within, and that’s unfair – you need to go in blind. Suffice to say A.M. Shine has created a piece of folklore here that’s suitably creepy with some absolutely nerve-shredding scenes that will stretch your threshold of horror to the limit – Ben’s Aunt Patricia, in particular, deserves a novel of her own – AND there’s a smashing ending.

With vibes of The Wicker Man, Midsomer and even M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village – The Creeper will mess with your head and creep you out. Just keep your windows closed and your blinds shut while reading. And don’t mention the Creeper man…

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Thanks to Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I enjoy a creepy read but often times I'm let down because the writing just doesn't feel all that atmospheric, but this was did not disappoint. I love the authors writing style, there were moments when I genuinely felt creeped out and it made the reading experience all the more enjoyable!

I really loved the Irish folklore Influence of this story and the idea of a mysterious, forgotten village in rural reland.

I do wish there was a little more character development with two main characters, but all in all an enjoyable read and I'll definitely be Keeping my eye out for future work from this author because that ending!! 👌🏻

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I absolutely adored The Watchers by this author and was very excited to hear that another book was on the way.
The Creeper keeps in style with being a horror story that is full of unease and palpable tension. This is much more of a slow burner in comparison to the other book which readers will either love or hate. I enjoyed the idea behind the book and the power of myths and urban legends and how they're kept alive generation after generation. The Creeper is a great example of this and frighteningly he seems to be very real as out unfortunate protagonists find out.
I really enjoyed the concept behind this book but it did leave me with a few unresolved questions with the logistics of a few points.
This is unquestionably another brilliant book by A.M Shine who has created another unique and unpredictable story that kept me up reading until the small hours. This book didn't quite pip The Watchers but still definitely up there in my top reads. Looking forward to the next one!

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AM Shine is a completely new name to me. but I loved that cover and the story sounded interesting.

And by God does it deliver in spades!

This is one of the best horror novels I've read for a few years. A. M. Shine is a major talent.

As far as I can see, this is only his second novel. Within a minute or two of finishing this book, I'd already ordered his debut, The watchers, and it will be very high up on my TBR pile when it arrives.

Back to this book though.

The story opens with a young woman hiding from something following her. The atmosphere is palpable even in the short prologue.

We then jump forward a couple of years and we're introduced to Alec Sparling, a reclusive type living in a secluded mansion who's just paid off a detective to deliver him the recording of the last 999 call made by the terrified girl in the prologue.

He then recruits Benjamin French and Chloe Coogan, a young historian and a newly qualified architecture student respectively, to investigate a hidden village deep in the countryside of Ireland, apparently untouched by the outside world for 200 years. While they're there, he instructs them to ask about a local superstition known as The Creeper.

You see the Creeper three times, first time, from a distance, the second time he's closer, the third night, he's at your window, after that you won't see much else.

From this fairly simple premise, Shine has created a paranoid and deeply scary thriller. Ben and Chloe are likeable and sympathetic protagonists. Their mounting terror as they come to believe the superstition is superbly realised, with Ben's skepticism steadily eroding.

Shine proves he can handle gory detail just as well as he can build atmosphere using shadows and suggestion. His prose is a pleasure to read, lucid and intelligent, and creepy as hell.

he's a name to look out for. If he's this good on book 2, who knows what heights he'll reach.

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This is probably the best horror I've read this year so far!
I love it, the slow build up or events, the characters that got you even more invested in the story, and the highly suspenseful scenes.
I know it starts slow, but trust me, it is worth it!

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The Creeper is a masterful tale of horror and suspense from one of Ireland's most talented emerging authors. Brilliantly plotted, with a crisp pace and constant surprises. Lures you in until you can’t escape.

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I have been eagerly waiting for A.M. Shine’ next novel and was not disappointed in the slightest, definitely one of my whole time favourite authors. After reading and loving The Watchers last year I was so happy to be given the chance of a copy of The Creeper. Shine has the ability to create the atmosphere of such a slow build up but has the feeling whilst reading to look over your shoulder, even in your own home hearing the slightest noise will make you jump and your heart beat a little faster. By god does he deliver in his novels, he has such a talent for writing horrors and will still be on my top list of horror authors.

Starting off with a slow build the pace starts to quickly build up tension. The characters were once again written really well, I always have the feel with his characters I don’t like nor dislike them so by the end of the novel I’m not too wounded by any deaths or demises they bring themselves too.

Set on a remote village, we are introduced to Dr Sparling and historical researchers Chloe and Ben who are looking forward to being there that is till they arrive. The village has been forgotten and is isolated on it’s own, no history is known.. just nothing. The locals are not very keen of newcomers or welcoming and our characters are met with disdain and whispering amongst them. At sundown all villagers lock down their homes.. why is that? Something stalks the streets and nobody will talk about the nameless thing apart from one girl who instantly puts fear into the newcomers. Chloe and Ben come upon the figure who they have heard about aka The Creeper. It is alive like the stories and rumours say it is, the fear of the villagers is real and nothing will keep it away. It will follow them back, will they be able to escape the creeper was my thought.

Such a genuine scary and looking over your shoulder horror story which has a great ending. It will keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat. Twists are in the novel with I loved. Such a terrific read, if you haven’t read A.M. Shine’ novels you must.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for my copy in exchange of an honest review.

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This is the second book I've read by A.M. Shine; this new Irish author really knows their stuff and it is CREEPY. Two academics receive a mysterious and well-paid task out of the blue, to map an ancient and very isolated village in the wilds of Ireland. The residents haven't left the place for 200 years but why? And what interest does the Dr have in the village? And what of the Creeper? Full of old-fashioned gothic horror. Great stuff!

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This novel starts off with a terrified girl hiding from something stalking her. It then jumps forward with academic Alec Sparling acquiring her 999 call and hiring academicians Chloe and Ben to investigate an isolated, rural Irish village, and in particular try to find out about a local legend named the Creeper. This is a truly creepy village where supposedly no one has left in 200 years. The villagers don’t want to talk to them and fearfully close up their homes every evening before nightfall. Only one girl is willing to tell them anything about the “Creeper” – see him three times and you die. Is he real or a hallucination?

This book is a slow burn with the first third setting the scene and laying the groundwork for the creepy tension to come. This is more gothic than straight up horror, and I really enjoyed this atmospheric, spine-chilling tale.

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A.M Shine's "The Creeper" is a haunting, bleak, jaw-dropping read. A.M Shine encapsulates your attention almost immediately with a sinister yet compelling plot. At first, I was confused with a slow, drawn-out build with a questionable timeline. Still, as a pages turn, it was a deliberate execution, confirming the confusion of the protagonists, Ben and Chloe. There were moments when I was afraid to close my eyes as the words evoked haunting images. The interactions between Ben and Chloe were well done, exploring their motives, intentions and attitudes and creating well-rounded characters. I didn't know what to expect when it came to the ending, and boy, was it jaw-dropping and intense. A.M Shine's mastery of words with the concise imagery and simile usage was brilliant, making this a gripping read. A 5-star read!

Thank you to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for giving me an ARC. This honest review is left voluntarily.

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