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Book Review - The Ghostcrow: A Tale of Andor by M.K. Theodoratus

The Ghostcrow
The Ghostcrow: A Tale of Andor

by M.K. Theodoratus
Genre: supernatural fantasy
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: March 1, 2015

Blurb:
Seeing ghosts has plagued Dumdie Swartz since early childhood. Afraid that ghost guts might stick to her if she stepped through them, thirteen-year-old Dumdie Swartz still cringes when she encounters them. Her strange attempts to avoid spirits create a lonely life. Her sisters constantly mock her strange behavior, her parents are clueless, and her social life is zero.

Dumdie finds solace working in a shared garden with her elderly neighbor, Mr. Carson. When teens from her high school steal pumpkins from his garden, Mr. Carson is hurt during the theft, and later, dies. Dumdie’s life takes a dark turn. She learns there are stranger things than ghosts, when she senses something evil living in Kyle, one of the boys who had raided the pumpkin patch.

Kyle bullies Dumdie to scare her into silence. The more Kyle threatens her, the clearer she perceives the evil thing possessing him. Dumdie finds support in an unlikely group of girls who befriend her when she helps them with their costumes for the Pumpkin festival. During the festival, Dumdie’s fears explode when the thing possessing Kyle decides it wants to possess her.
You can find The Ghostcrow on Goodreads

Excerpt: 
I should’ve stayed home. Why wouldn’t My father let me stay home?

Her feet shuffled forward but came to a halt at the path to the fort’s grounds and stopped. Ghosts in hooped skirts and military uniforms crowded the path ahead of her. Dumdie’s toes wanted to dig into the ground like roots. Her breath came in sharp gasps. Her mother yanked her arm, but Dumdie didn’t move. More transparent people roamed around the entrance to the enactment. Ghosts infested the parade grounds, chatting in groups or standing alone staring at nothing Dumdie could see.
“Dumdie, get a move on, for goodness sake,” grumbled Her father. “We’ll miss the re-enactment of Fort Bonnet’s fall to the Tejanos.”
Her mother yanked harder on her arm as Her father strode ahead of them without looking back. A pat on her shoulder from Her grandma encouraged Dumdie to lumber forward. She closed her eyes to a slit and stared at the ground immediately at her feet, hoping none of the ghost guts would stick to her. Shrieks and proddings from Her mother had lost their power to scare her into action long ago. Ghosts were more terrifying than her parents ever could be, and Dumdie’s feet dug deeper into the ground.
You never knew when a ghastly specter would reach out with its clammy hands and try to squeeze your heart, like the Stalker ghost back home. Her shoulders wriggled as the memory rose in her mind from where it hid. She shivered, remembering the last time its cold fingers dug into her chest before she could escape.

Why are there so many misty people? Panic rose until she could taste it. There’ve never been this many of them before. They’re easier to avoid when there’s just one or two at one time.
Her mother’s pull and Her grandma’s push prodded Dumdie into motion. Why am I the only one who sees things? Life was so much simpler before, when I was little.

Dumdie had started seeing dim transparent people back when she was practically a baby, in kindergarten. Today they swarmed among the clumps of real people, back in the parking lot and along the path before her. Everywhere Dumdie looked ghosts milled, many going about their business in strange repetitive patterns that never made any sense. Dumdie wished she were three-years-old instead of thirteen so she could jam her thumb into her mouth.

Among the tall trees on either side of the gravel path and in the meadow ahead, the state park crawled with ghosts, parading as if they had come for the reenactment, too. Two groups of real people pushed around Dumdie’s family onto the path to the fort. They passed through the entities without a cringe or shiver. Dumdie had never really seen ghost guts attached to any one, not even herself, but new things were always happening.

Her mother grabbed Dumdie’s arm. “This is not the time to go all goofy, girl. I’m tired of your hysterics. Dumdie, why can’t you be normal for once? We’re in public. Please don’t be strange. Please?”

Clenching her teeth, Dumdie swallowed the saliva slithering down the back of her throat. My name is Dolores. You named me Dolores. Dumdie kept the protest to herself. She’d given up on her name long ago. Teachers might call her Dolores or Dorry, but the kids called her Dumdie.
An unintelligible grumble rolled in Her grandma’s throat. Her mother’s fingernails dug into her arm. Dumdie’s eyes opened wider. Her mother was pulling her forward to where a group of ghosts stood, two soldiers flirting with a lady in a wide skirt. As Her mother yanked her forward, Dumdie closed her eyes, preparing for the sharp cold to pierce her. Her stomach churned. She swallowed, ready to run to a tree and scrape off ghosts’ guts if she passed through them. Before Her mother could shout at her, Her grandma grabbed her arm.

You can buy The Ghostcrow here:

Note from the author:
I prefer to write short stories and novelettes while I’m exploring a new world. For my Far Isles Half-Elven, I just wrote this huge 400,000 page manuscript and realized I had a couple novels in there if I ever get the drafts revised and edited. My approach to stories in my Andor world has been the opposite. While I have novel-length notes in my computer, I’m writing short stories and novelettes about different characters experiences after the end of the Celestial Wars, when invaders from alternate universes tried to colonize Andor. I’m currently drafting a new novella set in Andor.

MK Theodoratus
About the Author:

Hooked by comic books at an early age, M. K. Theodoratus’ fascination with fantasy solidified when she discovered the Oz books by L. Frank Baum with his strong female characters. She has traveled through many fantasy worlds since then.

A sixth grade English assignment started her writing. The teacher assigned a short story. Theodoratus gave her an incomplete, 25-page Nancy Drew pastiche which turned into a full novel by the next summer. She’s been writing happily ever after ever since.

When she's not reading about other writer's worlds, she's creating her own. Most of her tales are set in the land of Andor where magic and demons clash with ordinary humans caught in the middle. She also writes in the world of the Far Isles Half-Elven where she explores the political effects of genetic drift on a mixed elf-human population.

Gargoyles, magic, ghosts, demons, and other magical beings are open game for Theodoratus. You can learn more about her writing at her author website: http://www.mktheodoratus.com.

You can find and contact M.K. Theodoratus here:

My Review:
This is a short story that is a quick enjoyable read. I could really relate to the main character Dumdie because I too felt like a completely misunderstood misfit with no friends growing up. The story is a strong one about survival and making it through life as a misfit. I enjoyed the plot about Dumdie's difficulties dealing with Kyle the bully after the death of her friend the neighbor widower. Everyone will feel the emotions in this short story and I think they will like the end/moral of the story which is very realistic. The Ghost and Dumdie's ability to see them aren't left overs in this short story. Basically the Ghosts are not a simple way for the author to make this story paranormal. I feel like the ghosts' purpose is to really showcase that Dumdie is different and to represent the nature of human beings so she knows she will always be different.
Overall I would recommend this short story everyone who can read. Young people feeling left out like they have no friends should also read this story. I did not give it five stars because I was disappointed in the length but I understand the authors preference for short stories, and I feel like the short format will appeal to younger people.

My Rating:


Comments

  1. What a beautiful cover and intriguing excerpt!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey thanks for featuring my novelette. Appreciate it.

    As for writing shorts, I'm an old lady. I get tired just looking at the novels that need revision in my files.

    ReplyDelete

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