Read Something Red by Douglas Nicholas Online

something-red

From debut author Douglas Nicholas comes a haunting story of love, murder, and sorcery. During the thirteenth century in northwest England, in one of the coldest winters in living memory, a formidable yet charming Irish healer, Molly, and the troupe she leads are driving their three wagons, hoping to cross the Pennine Mountains before the heavy snows set in. Molly, her lovFrom debut author Douglas Nicholas comes a haunting story of love, murder, and sorcery. During the thirteenth century in northwest England, in one of the coldest winters in living memory, a formidable yet charming Irish healer, Molly, and the troupe she leads are driving their three wagons, hoping to cross the Pennine Mountains before the heavy snows set in. Molly, her lover Jack, granddaughter Nemain, and young apprentice Hob become aware that they are being stalked by something terrible. The refuge they seek in a monastery, then an inn, and finally a Norman castle proves to be an illusion. As danger continues to rise, it becomes clear that the creature must be faced and defeated—or else they will all surely die. It is then that Hob discovers how much more there is to his adopted family than he had realized.An intoxicating blend of fantasy and mythology, Something Red presents an enchanting world full of mysterious and fascinating characters— shapeshifters, sorceresses, warrior monks, and knights—where no one is safe from the terrible being that lurks in the darkness. In this extraordinary, fantastical world, nothing is as it seems, and the journey for survival is as magical as it is perilous....

Title : Something Red
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781451660074
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 336 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Something Red Reviews

  • Saleh MoonWalker
    2019-04-24 05:31

    Onvan : Something Red (Something Red, #1) - Nevisande : Douglas Nicholas - ISBN : 1451660227 - ISBN13 : 9781451660227 - Dar 336 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2010

  • Tracey
    2019-04-05 00:39

    I was wary of all the extravagantly glowing reviews I saw on Goodreads for Something Red (which I received from the publisher through Netgalley, thank you to them). In many cases it's simply a sign that the author has a lot of cooperative friends. I'm happy to report that this is not the case here. I was dismayed by the formatting of the ARC on my Kindle; it was a mess. The decorative elements of the text, while very nice, played harry with the reader program, and it took persistence just to get from one chapter to the next. However – well, two things. First, I pushed through despite the issues; I have been known to quit a book because of excessive formatting problems (there are just too many in queue to waste time on something that fights me), but this time I wanted to read this book. What's wonderful about this is (the second thing): I made a comment on Goodreads when I started – and the author got in touch with me for more details to pass on to the publishers to fix it. Which they did. Mostly. Except that new problems cropped up. But I'm sure the final product will be sorted. This book deserves a beautiful format (which, Mr. Nicholas tells me, is exactly what the hardcover is – I look forward to seeing it).I keep trying to think of other books to compare this to, and I'm finding it difficult. Maybe that's why I've had trouble writing a review for it. It's a sneaky book. What could be very dull, traveling through forest in the winter, is turned into a small masterpiece of suspense as the travelers – Molly, a temporarily dispossessed Irish queen and her tiny caravan of an ox, a mule, two carts, and three of her kin, adopted and blood – pick their way through the coldest winter in living memory to trade and heal and maintain the bonds. The tribulations of journeying on muddy roads through a freezing and vast forest are detailed without every becoming tedious – and part of the beautiful way this is accomplished is through the boy Hob, whose perspective is used, and his relationship with the animals who pull their wagons. The ox and mule are given personalities better than a good number of human characters I've encountered in lesser books. And those basic difficulties of travel begin to pale next to the fear that suddenly comes one evening as they draw near a monastery where they will take shelter. "He felt like a coney in a snare, and he could not tell why." There's something in the trees. They can't see it, really, but they – humans and animals – know it's there. It's a predator, and nothing so clean a killer as a wolf or a bear, nothing so stupid as a brigand. They can feel its malice, and its attention … and it is a tremendous relief for the little group when they meet up with other travelers. There are no stereotypes in Something Red. The individuals within these pages look askance at expectations, and walk the other way shaking their heads in disgust. The people – and the events, and the setting ... this is thirteenth-century England, in the very dead of winter, and almost as alien as Narnia. Maybe more. In this England there are small enclaves of people huddling together for survival, and travelers – like Molly and her troupe and the holy and unholy travelers they encounter – move from haven to haven trading what they have, such as music and news and healing, for shelter from the elements and the bandits and beasts haunting the forest. In this England there are battle monks who can – and will – beat intruders into bloody pulp, and who have created an ingeniously walled refuge; there are kindly nobles who keep packs of dogs that are almost as scary as anything in the woods; there are Templars and pilgrims and Lithuanian travelers. Molly is a heroine to make all others look insipid. And I am including the horde of vampire-fighting/loving girls in recent fantasy in that sweeping statement. Molly is a battle queen, and the fact that she is middle-aged (or as I prefer to say, in her prime) has only made her tougher. One minute she will be healing with the gentlest of touches; the next she will be unerringly picking off bandits with a powerful bow. She is desirable: more than one man encountered in their travels makes it clear he would be happy to have her stay with him, but she already has a man in her bed when she chooses. And she has plans to end her exile from Ireland. Her enemies will need to start gathering an army now. That man is Jack, a big, inscrutable, terribly scarred man who trails a history behind him that he would choose not to discuss even if those scars did not make speech difficult for him. He is far more than the gentle giant a story will sometimes feature; there is always the sense that there is a great deal going on in his heart and his head. He is Molly's man, in every way, and it is that that helps save him, and all of them in the end. Nemain is Molly's granddaughter and her apprentice, on the edge of becoming a woman and shaping up to be every bit as formidable as Molly. She is, at times, otherworldly, a sprite earthbound; at other times she is a young girl who has been rather like a sister to Hob for the year and a half he's been with the group. At still other times she is like anything but Hob's sister, and baffling to the poor boy. Hob is a lovely, lovely character. He is all boy; whatever the setting, boys always have and always will be unchanging in some regards: he goes where he shouldn't, does what he shouldn't, is always eager for a treat and reluctant for chores – and is just becoming old enough to see the allure of the young women they meet along the way. He develops a sweet infatuation with one girl, all the while growing more and more aware of Nemain. Many times I've found that after the first flush of a read has worn off, a cooler head and heart means that the original rating for a book edges downward. After a while I'll go back and look at the notes I made toward a review, and I'll wonder why on earth I was as generous as I was… With Something Red, though, it went in the opposite direction. I gave it four stars, a "B". But time has passed, and I find that the impact of the book is still with me. The characters are still vivid. Four is not enough.

  • Jaime
    2019-04-18 02:39

    This book was written by a award winning poet. As you read it, that is evident. It is extremely descriptive and lyrical. The problem with this book is that it is extremely descriptive and lyrical. While it is beautifully written, the focus on the most minute details, causes the story to lag. To much time is spent describing people’s bath robe’s, and not enough time is spent creating a sense of urgency and danger. I also didn’t feel connected to the character’s. Molly is an extraordinary woman of her time, I was impressed by her, but I didn’t really care about her. Or Hob, or Jack, or Nemain… The big twist’s and reveal’s were not surprising and could be seen coming from a mile away. This book was originally released in 2010, then they tried again in 2011, and now here we are in 2012. I know they say the third time is the charm, but I think one more good, no holds barred edit is necessary.

  • A Book Vacation
    2019-04-24 00:42

    1.5 starsThis novel was really not for me. I think it’s more for those who like Tolkien’s style of writing, very descriptive and a bit slow paced, fueling the story with few events and much journeying along dangerous mountains. To be quite honest, I was bored throughout most of this novel, dying to get to the shape shifters and sorcerers. While warrior monks and knights are okay, they didn’t really do anything for the story, in my opinion, aside from creating a pit stop for the main entourage as they traveled through the mountains in the bitter cold. The synopsis makes the reader think that the novel will surround the pursuing monster, but I really didn’t feel like the characters were threatened along their epically long journey, nor was I all that interested in their trek. There just weren’t enough events to keep me grounded as I read, and again, I felt there was way too much description. In some cases, less is more, and while I liked the characters enough, I would have liked much less traveling and discussing of their clothes, their sex lives, and their observations and much more action.Yes, Nicholas does have the characters continually stumble upon gruesome scenes of murder, but as they just stumbled upon it and nothing ever seemed to happen to them, I didn’t find the read all that interesting. I need a much faster paced read, which Nicholas delivers in the end, once the evil that has been chasing our four main characters finally reveals itself. Had the novel been like the end is, fast paced, gruesome, and extremely riveting, I think I would have liked this story much, much more, but as is, I can’t say I enjoyed it all that much.To see my full review:http://wp.me/p1jhaj-2dI

  • Alisha-Dear Constant Reader
    2019-04-03 03:56

    The perfect book for fall! Lovers of mystery, thrillers, and the unknown unite! There's something in the woods and it's hungry.Something Red centers around a troupe traveling the snowy Pennine mountains of England in the 13th century when they encounter a pervasive sense that something evil is hunting for its meat, and has its unholy eye on their troupe. What inhabits the woods and how to avoid it is the central problem for Molly, Jack, her lover, Nemain, her granddaughter, and our young Hob. Something Red is told from Hob's point of view in third person limited. This choice lends to further mystery. Hob knows little about his mistress, but he cares for her deeply and understands she is well respected. She is clearly more that an Irish troupe leader and a kind of medicine woman, but what we learn is based on Hob's understanding of his dire situation. Hob is a sweet, hard working boy, with a sensitively to the thing that stalks them through the woods, but he is still a young man, and hard work makes Hob sleepy. When things go bump in the night, Hob willfully dismisses his fears and trundles back to sleep like a good lad.The mood of this thriller is perfect for the fall as the weather begins to turn. There are four distinct setting in the novel and each so perfectly rendered to the reader that we can't help but feel closed in by the forest, or smell the fresh rushes strewn on the castle floor. Nicholas masterfully recreates 13th century life if a way that is as believable as it is beautiful. Nicholas has created a book to love that is simply magical. ARC provided by Simon & Schuster in association with Netgalley.comA great thanks to Mr. Nicholas who suffered my complaints with grace and lent me courage to wade through the formatting issues that plagued the earlier e-galleys.

  • Mary
    2019-04-05 07:39

    I originally bought this for my husband, thinking it was just the sort of medieval/fantasy stuff he loves. He did love it and strongly encouraged me to read it, as well. Fantasy is not my cup of tea at all but I was in the mood for something different so I thought I would give it a shot, after having recently read and really enjoyed Christopher Buehlman's Between Two Fires. To my surprise and pleasure, there were no fairies, trolls, Orcs, or any of that mess. There is a supernatural element to this novel, but it is pleasantly blended with the richly detailed descriptions of medieval life.

  • Jason Golomb
    2019-03-31 04:56

    “Something Red” is a beautifully written, patiently drawn, mood-filled literary thriller. It’s not outright scary, but one could classify it as horror. It’s not a straight out mystery, though poet-turned-novelist Douglas Nicholas drafts an expectant, slow-boil whodunit.“Something Red” centers on a small band of travelers winding their way through northern England at the earliest onsets of winter. The story is told through the eyes of Hob, a young orphan in the care of Molly, a world-wise woman who's equally as skilled with a bow, as she is with the medicinal powders and elixirs she keeps in her wagon. Molly’s granddaughter Nemain and the silent, brooding and terrifically strong Jack, flesh out Molly’s troupe.Nicholas uses his remarkable linguistic skill to build his plot and shape his characters, slowly like the earliest bubbles within a pot coming to boil. The story thread develops patiently, always on the verge of exposing an important clue, always promising to unlock a key riddle in a characters’ development.This following quote not only describes a scene midway through the book, but aptly describes the reading experience itself. “Life with Molly’s troupe was a constant procession of revelations…like suddenly stumbling upon an old Roman road in the midst of thick forest. Questions rose to his lips, so many that his thoughts became too tangled to choose one."There’s a supernatural element to the story, but it’s subtle and suggestive, and not fully explored until the final 75 pages or so. The dark and purposefully trudging plot persistently pulls the reader towards an inevitable peak - supernatural, but realistic and very human in its portrayals of emotions and motivations. Nicholas serves the story like a feast of accents. The core narrative is written in a form of middle-age English, but the various characters are written with both soft and hard Irish brogues, peasant medieval English, and a heavily accented Eastern European.So wonderfully epic in his storytelling, Douglas establishes a broad mythology that hints at the possibilities of a sequel.If a monastery, forest inn and castle form the backdrop for the expositional narrative, then the building pressure and promise of snow and its eventual release in a monster blizzard provides its voice. A great autumn or winter read, I wanted to step away from my reading nook and find a snowy forest dell to envelope myself further within this tale. But not too far. As Hob asks from within the confortable and warm confines of an English castle: "What could harm us here? What could reach us here?”Much. And more.

  • Susan
    2019-04-21 23:50

    Part historical fantasy and part horror, this novel follows a group of travellers on their journey. The country has new Norman lords, insecure in their titles and the borders are unsettled. Our witness to what happens is Hob, a young orphan boy who has spent his childhood in the home of Father Athelstan, before the old priest became too old to care for him and allowed Mistress Molly, an Irish healer, to take him with her. Accompanying Molly is her granddaughter, Nemain, and Jack Brown, a soldier wounded in the Holy Land.As the group make their way through the oppressive, wintry landscape, you get a real sense of what the country was like in those times; with the forest deadening sounds and making it impossible to see more than a few feet in any directions. The landscape makes the little band of travellers open to attack - but, by what? While the band are heading for the safety of a monastery, they come across the body of one of the brothers, whose body has been mutilated. As the group travels onwards, they feel something is following them through the trees and it seems there is no safety even behind the strongest walls...Overall, this is an exciting and atmospheric read. I enjoyed watching Hob as his landscape gradually expanded, along with his understanding, and he grew from a boy into a man. I felt the book worked more as a historical mystery than a horror story, but that did not make the whole less enjoyable. Probably best read on a dark and snowy evening for the full, atmospheric effect!

  • Scott
    2019-03-28 01:49

    Very good story. Written from a different point of view. A little slow, but the build up is written very well. you have to keep reading this. The way the author tells the story is quite interesting. There is a lot of description and world building going on and character development. It is very well written, but it does seem to plod along at times. Then something happens to further build up the story for the reader. It is an enjoyable story and I have moved on to the second book and picked up the third book. Interesting way to read the story and have it presented to me as a reader. I like the characters and the world building is very good. There is a lot going on and a lot you have to earn as a reader by continuing to read the story. There are a lot of hints as to who people and what their purpose is and you have to pay attention to what you are reading and where you are in the story.I ma intrigued and want to know more about these characters and how they will return to Ireland in the end. This has the makings of a really good thread/timeline of events. Hopefully the author will continue to tease the reader while providing enough to keep me interested in purchasing more.......A good read nonetheless.

  • Karl
    2019-04-26 23:55

    What do we really know about England in the 1300 ? Douglas Nicholas tries to tell us in this book. We follow the adventures of a band of interesting characters as they travel across the countryside from somewhere to somewhere. Mr. Nicholas gives us endless fascinating detail about life on the road during those historical times.The book starts out as a slow and pondering historical narrative, not much happens excepting daily daily life, when about one hundred and thirty pages or so into the book our hero's determine they are being stalked by an unseen nemesis. This tale is more of a historical fantasy than a historical horror story.The main characters consist of two adults and two coming of age children.Regardless that not much happens in the story, Mr. Nicholas is a compelling writer and has an outstanding command of language.

  • Staticblaq
    2019-04-06 05:52

    This is a simple story set in a handful of simple locations but is superbly written. The attention to detail and nuance in descriptions and objects gives the story a vibrant sense of authenticity and depth. The setting is tangible, the atmosphere brooding, and hanging over all is the dread of some unseen monster. I don't feel there were any great twists but I found the story very engrossing. My one gripe would be that the climax didn't quite have the visceral punch the build-up deserved. If anything, it seemed too understated and brief.However, despite this, the art of storytelling is displayed so well in this book that I will definitely be seeking out the sequel The Wicked at some stage.

  • Seregil of Rhiminee
    2019-04-16 04:51

    Originally published at Risingshadow.Douglas Nicholas' Something Red is a novel which will leave you breathless with admiration, fascination and shock. In my opinion it's the best debut novel of 2012, because it blends beautiful prose, fantasy, horror and historical elements in a perfect way.Before I write anything else, I'll mention that Something Red restored my faith in historical fiction. I've been more or less disappointed with some of the historical novels I've tried to read during the last couple of years, because there are authors who tend to write mediocre novels with no originality or style (and most of these books contain bad and dull prose). Fortunately I had a chance to read Something Red, because it was something totally different and it was written in beautiful English.There are probably readers who wonder what kind of a novel Something Red. I can say to these readers that historical fantasy is the first term that comes to my mind when I think about the content of this novel.This novel is an interesting reading experience. At first it seems to be an exceptionally well written historical novel, but when the story begins to unfold and things begin to develop the reader will notice that there's much more to this novel than what meets the eye. This novel starts as historical fiction, but soon turns into historical fantasy (the mystical and mythological fantasy elements are slowly revealed to the reader).Here's a bit of information about the plot:The events take place in the 13th England. England suffers from one of coldest and harshest winters ever. At the beginning of the book a small group of people (an Irishwoman Molly, her granddaughter Nemain, her lover Jack and a young apprentice Hob) travels in the snow towards a monastery. They soon find out that something horrible is walking in the woods and it kills people...Douglas Nicholas writes beautifully and pays a lot of attention to minor details. The prose flows effortlessly and the descriptions are amazingly beautiful. I think that the author's background as a poet has given him an ability to write lyrical and evocative prose. Everybody who has read poetic English will notice that the prose in this novel is remarkably beautiful and poetic (if you like rich and poetic English as much as I do, I think you'll love Doulas Nicholas' prose).The prose is so good that you can easily believe you're in the middle of the happenings and walk with the characters and their wagons along the snowy roads and paths. You can almost feel the cold and the bleakness of winter when you read this novel. Some readers may probably think that reading about travelling in the snow is dull, but that is not the case here. Douglas Nicholas keeps his story flowing and allows the reader to feel sympathy for his characters.From a Finnish person's point of view the descriptions of winter and snowy landscapes feel accurate and precise, because we have similar cold winters here in Finland. I think that all Finns know what it feels like to walk in the snow.The author writes fluently and vividly about the characters. He reveals bits and pieces of them during the course of the novel, which is nice. Each character is different and has his/her own personality.Here's a bit of information about the main characters:Molly is an Irishwoman and the formidable heroine of this novel. She keeps her secrets hidden, but they are revealed at the end of this novel. Jack is her lover, but he also has his own secrets, which are gradually revealed to the reader (I noticed that at one point the author revealed something important about him and then later wrote more about it - it was nice how the author managed to use this element at the end of the novel). Nemain is Molly's granddaughter - she's a girl, who is becoming a young woman. Hob is an apprentice who helps Molly.I especially liked how the author wrote about Hob and his feelings. His coming-of-age story is fascinating, because he's a boy who's growing up and has to deal with different emotions (for example, he finds himself infatuated by a girl from the inn, but he also has feelings for Nemain).This book features shapeshifters, monks, love, murders, horror and sorcery etc, so there are plenty of different ingredients. These ingredients are an important part of the story and the author uses them in a fascinating way. It's actually quite amazing how fluently the author writes about these things, because he never overdoes anything, but delivers all the ingredients in perfect doses.Reading about shapeshifters and their abilities was enjoyable. The mythology involving shapeshifters is interesting, but I'd better not write more about this subject, because I don't want to write spoilers.Douglas Nicholas has a nice way of building up suspense. He knows how to keep the reader interested in the story by delivering shocks at regular intervals. The strange murders and brutal happenings will keep the reader glued to the novel. I think that reader will also be thrilled to read how the characters feel the presence of evil, but are unable to see it.This novel is surprisingly rich with historical details about life and living conditions in medieval England. The descriptions of the places (monastery, inn, castle and the woods), people and happenings are realistic. I think that the author has done quite a lot of research, because everything about this novel feels authentic. You can easily imagine what kind of life the characters live when they travel with their wagons from place to place and how their problems affect them.This novel has a short glossary of Irish terms. The glossary is helpful, because Molly uses Irish terms and it's good that the reader understands what she means by them.I sincerely hope that Douglas Nicholas will write more novels, because he is an excellent writer. (I have to confess that I didn't want this book to end, because I loved it and wanted it to last as long as possible.)Something Red is a novel, which everybody book lover and fantasy fan should read, because it's a quality novel. It's a hauntingly beautiful masterpiece of historical fantasy fiction, which offers perfect escapism and entertainment for fantasy and horror readers. It will also appeal to people who read historical fiction, because the historical details are interesting.Before I finish writing this review, I'll give a word of warning to the readers: If you start to read Something Red in the evening, don't expect to be able to put it down before you've reached the last page. It's one of those novels which grabs hold of you immediately and doesn't let go until you've reached the last page (yes, Something Red is that good a novel!).Highly recommended!

  • Tammy
    2019-04-23 00:43

    Often when I start reading a book, I have a pretty good idea of what to expect. But once in a while, I am surprised, and Something Red was one of the biggest and best reading surprises I’ve had in a long time. Nicholas is a master storyteller and has the rare skill of being able gradually build a sense of dread and terror in such a way that it virtually sneaks up on the reader. This is a rather quiet story that relies not on big action scenes, but on an irresistible mix of wonderful characters and carefully constructed moments that add up to an amazing reading experience.Set in thirteenth century England during an especially nasty winter, Molly and her band of friends are trying to cross a mountain pass with their wagons ahead of the impending heavy snows. Molly is an Irish woman of indeterminate age who brews potions and is able to communicate with crows. Her travelling companions are granddaughter Nemain (pronounced “Nevan”), a young girl in her teens who helps Molly make her concoctions and is able to sense danger; Jack, Molly’s lover and protector, a mysterious and silent man who is not able to speak but is a strong and passionate defender; and Hob, Molly’s thirteen-year-old apprentice whose main job is caring for the ox that pulls Molly’s wagon. The story is told in third person mostly from Hob’s point of view and takes place in a monastery, an inn, and a castle, as the troupe battles their way from place to place in the terrible winter snows that are gradually getting worse. As they make their way through the dark and snowy woods between each location, the feeling that something is stalking them is keenly felt by everyone in the troupe. And when the danger becomes real and horribly mutilated bodies begin to turn up, Molly and Jack come up with a dangerous plan to save those who are still alive.The lilting Irish brogue of the characters was hard to get used to at first, but once I caught on to the rhythm and beauty of the language, I couldn’t imagine this book being written any other way. Nicholas is a poet, and his love of language shines through in every sentence. His descriptions, especially those involving the senses, are so vivid that I imagined I could feel the biting cold of the snow and even smell the coppery scent of blood. Although this is a fantasy, the fantastical elements are subtle, lying just beneath the surface of the story, waiting to jump out when you least expect them. I also loved the historical authenticity that Nicholas brings to the book, as he scatters words like “escaffignons” and “cotehardie” throughout the story.Although I loved everything about this book, my favorite part of Something Red was the characters. Despite the unseen horror that is stalking them through the forest, there is a certain charm to the story that’s hard to explain, but I’m sure the characters have a lot to do with it. Molly, the leader of the group, has an almost mythic quality about her. She’s a woman who can seemingly do anything (throw knives, win at chess, heal the dying), and although she is a grandmother and is described as having gray hair, I never pictured her as an older woman. Her granddaughter Nemain, who just happens to be in love with Hob, is a mystery as well. Nicholas describes her in his typical poetic fashion: “Her silence was that of one who carries gold in a secret purse, hoping not to be noticed.” Fiercely devoted to Molly, Jack is a larger-than-life character with an intriguing back story that eventually emerges later in the book, and also explains why he is mute. Not only does he defend Molly, Nemain and Hob against the various dangers they encounter, but the author injects a touch of bawdiness into the story when describing his prowess in bed.But of all the characters, I loved Hob the most. At its core, this is a coming-of-age story, and Hob goes through many changes before emerging a man at the end. One of his most endearing features is his love for Milo the ox, who also loves him back and will do anything Hob asks of him. Any coming-of-age story worth its salt wouldn’t be complete without first love, and Nicholas makes sure Hob experiences love and desire for the first time, but in a controlled and subtle way. Like the looming horrors in the snow, Hob’s awareness of his desire seems to grow alongside the terror, as he experiences the pain and confusion of first love.Eventually Molly and her troupe are able to put a name to the evil and confront it, in a wonderfully surprising way. Nicholas brings in several shady characters later in the story who could be responsible for the horrific killings, but he keeps the reader guessing almost to the end. In the final pages as Hob makes the transition from child to adult, the snow begins to melt and winter turns to spring. I had goose bumps as I read the final page and longed to know that thing all writers want their readers to feel at the end of a story: What Happens Next.Many thanks to the publisher (Atria/Emily Bestler Books) for a review copy. This review originally appeared on Books, Bones & Buffy.

  • Elizabeth Moffat
    2019-04-07 02:42

    This story whizzes us back to the thirteen century where, a young boy called Robert (Hob) is adopted by a group of travellers, and shares in their journeys. This consists of the matriarch of the family – Molly, whose talents lie in healing, Jack, an enigmatic, mysterious and silent companion, and Molly’s grand-daughter Nemain, who appears to have picked up some of the magical family traits. As we meet the group, they are travelling to a monastery where they would seek shelter before journeying further. From the beginning, the reader gets a sense that the group is disquieted and wary, not certain if something malignant is following them, meaning them harm. This does not really escalate however until about the middle of the book, where the group encounters a massacre in a place that they had thought of as previously well-guarded. This is when the action really begins, and the travellers begin to fear the power of the creature that may be stalking them.This is the debut novel from Douglas Nicholas, and after doing a little bit of research on the author. who is a well-established poet, I am able to appreciate the story slightly better. The writing is incredibly descriptive, and although this was beautiful to read, I felt it sometimes took away a little from the story in general. I didn’t really feel like the book picked up any pace until the last third, where it was then action-packed. In fact, I was getting to the point where I was certain that I would not carry on with the series. So then we come to the explosive and exciting last third, which did flip my point of view to a more favourable one, and I must admit, I am now intrigued to see “what comes next,” and where the author will take the characters. I think due to the time spent by the author in creating the characters and building up the atmosphere, I began to care about them, and am curious to know them a little better. So would I pick up the next book in the series? Not right now, but on the strength of the last 100 pages or so I think I might do in the near future.Please see my full review at http://www.bibliobeth.wordpress.com

  • Jessica Knauss
    2019-04-20 01:51

    I read this book very slowly, partly because of other commitments, but also because it begins as if it were a snail at the races. It's easy to put down in frustration, because the language is difficult, even for someone like me, who has spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about the thirteenth century. When the travelers are finally attacked by bandits, the author interrupts the action with the kinds of descriptions we've already read so much of: the mechanism of how to secure the carts so the attackers can't make off with them, what kind of arrow they're using, and how and when they were made.Tenacious readers will be rewarded with a middle that reads like a horror movie: the characters get caught in a kind of mousetrap, in the snow, with dead bodies at every pass, and despite Molly's ability to deal with anything, it's possible to believe for a few moments that they're all going to die, either frozen or brutally murdered (and then frozen).Especially tenacious readers will be rewarded with an ending unlike any other part of the book, and yet satisfyingly inevitable and maybe a little wistful. The ending will stay with me for a long time as an example of how to successfully end a complex book.The book ends up working really well. Somehow, the reader cares about the characters that have come through so many words. Molly, Jack, Hob, and Nemain seem real and strong, and as if they have much more story to tell. The male/female balance of power and Molly's popularity were a pleasure to read about.There is an obvious poetry to the language, and I enjoyed feeling as if I were actually living in the thirteenth century through the author's conjurings. The fantasy elements weave seamlessly into the history (it's been said before, but there's really no other word for how smoothly the two supposedly opposing elements meld). If you already have a thorough knowledge of the vocabulary of thirteenth-century English and Irish traveling life, or of you don't mind learning, this is the book for you.

  • Zora
    2019-04-19 03:52

    Atmospheric, delicately rendered historical fantasy. It feels like a fairy tale, it reads like the best of plotted literary novels, it grips you like a page-turning horror novel. In this story, Hob is a 13-year-old boy in the 13th century, servant and friend to the middle-aged Irish wisewoman Molly, who is more than she seems. Something is in the woods, threatening their little band as they travel through a harsh winter landscape. The first 2/3 of the novel, while carrying a brewing sense of eerie menace, could nevertheless be straight historical fiction. The details of life on the road of that era are beautifully rendered. I'd be surprised indeed if the author hasn't spent many hundred of hours poring over the OED; his choice of words is careful and apt. Through the POV of Hob, who is a quiet and observant boy, we see clues about class, status, social relationships between people which we are allowed to understand somewhat more than Hob himself does. He sees the world like an artist, like a natural spiritual savant, and so the fictional world he moves through is compelling and vivid to us. We can feel the bellowing of the oxen's side against our own, feel it tug on the lead rope, smell its sweat, see its ear flick at a distant noise. The detailed observations of the gaming and feasting in the castle made me feel as if I were there, and I could have stayed there for many more pages, although the plot events that we were given during these scenes were minor. Most writers need to describe less--they get quite boring when they let themselves go beyond a couple sentences, but Nicholas can write description in a way that left me wanting more. I hope I get more fiction from him in the future.If you're the kind of person who prefers movies to books, particularly movies with endless explosions and car chases and shouted cliches, you may find this too slow, but if you have any sensitivity to language and a love of fantasy, fable, or fairy tale, you should enjoy it.

  • Darshan Elena
    2019-04-11 07:36

    That Douglas Nicholas, the author of Something Red, is a poet will come as no surprise to any reader who has passed page six of this gorgeous, lyrical narrative. His words and sentences are so precise and evocative; I found myself drawn to read, re-read, and read a third time entire passages so I could I revel in their beauty. Nicholas has a command of language that reminds me of authors such as Humberto Eco, Toni Morrison, and D. H. Lawrence. However, it isn't just the prose that attracted me as a reader - it is the story itself.I love all things fairy, creepy, and ethereal. Throw in shape-shifters and sorceresses, and I just might disappear on a book bender for twelve hours or more. This happened to me while reading Something Red. The novel starts slow, its pace matching the slow march of its central characters as they cross rivers and passes. Tensions build, danger lurks, a castle appears: the force and tempo of the writing quickens in a manner that is almost sneaky. I loved this aspect of this book! I was seduced into feeling mounting tensions, sharing them with characters of the thirteenth century.In fact, that element of the book, its meticulous description of its time period, was one of its greatest successes. That I could smell the scent of rock, urine, and snow through its pages indicated not just Douglas Nicholas' mastery of language but the author's excellent historical knowledge. Passages describing the texture of stone or the arrangement of a keep were exacting, reminding me of my recent adventures in Europe visiting actual monasteries from the thirteenth century.Something Red is something to be read. If you love language and "creatures of blood and dream," Douglas Nicholas' novel is sure to please.

  • Lisa
    2019-04-21 03:31

    Something Red is not what I would consider a typical fantasy novel, but that is not a criticism. It is set in 13th century England and is both a coming of age tale and a haunting mystery. There are definitely fantasy elements and magic in it, but they are not revealed or understood initially. Part of what sets it apart is that it is told from the perspective of young Hob, a 13 year old orphan (see... it is a fantasy book, it has an orphan boy as the protagonist ;) ), who is traveling with Molly, a stoic, strong female who is leading the group, her lover Jack and her granddaughter Neiman. The difference, to me, what set it apart, was that Hob has no knowledge of magic, or strange fantastical creatures. The story centers on Hob's journey with Molly and the others and the fear of the unknown that was wreaking havoc around them. What is going on is left for the reader to discover as the story progresses and Hob himself discovers and understands it. This is not a fast paced book, even during the parts that contain "action". But it is a wonderfully vivid book. I found the authors descriptive prose to be beautifully written. It was lyrical and the imagery and sounds surrounding the settings were so masterfully created. I honestly can not think of another novel I have read that has accomplished this to the level that Nicholas has in this book. Others may disagree, but what he did, worked really well for me. I will also mention that perhaps the vividness, and flow of the prose should not be surprising since Nicholas is a poet (and an award winning one at that).The book is not perfect, I could make some criticisms for parts that I would like to see done differently (or not at all), but those are minor and overall, this was a very enjoyable read, and something different.

  • Jillyn
    2019-04-01 06:59

    I received this book through Goodreads First Reads.Something Red is a novel that beautifully blends myth, magic, & mystery, & probably other words that start with "M" as well. It centers around a group of travelers. Molly is the leader- a tough but kind, skilled middle aged Irish woman. With her is her strong but silent lover, Jack, her granddaughter/protege Nemain, & the main character Hob, a boy who grows to manhood through this book's journey. They travel from place to place, stopping to wait out the awful snowstorm that bites at them. But both females are uneasy- Something is out there, stalking them, & it may be closer than Hob ever even imagined.This book was slow to start. Extremely slow. To the point where I almost abandoned it. However, I'm glad I stuck around. From cover to cover, this book is at the very least beautifully written. The author's writing is poetic & detailed, to the point that I very easily pictured this world. And more than that, I wanted to be *in* this world. All of the characters are well thought out, & I felt a need to cheer on this little gypsy troupe. Plus, Mr. Nicholas sir, you gained incredible favor from me when you put a glossary in the back for the Irish words. With no exaggeration, the last three books I have read that involved foreign language italicized the words, but never gave a definition. But I digress. This book is perfect to read on a fall or winter day by a fire, & though it was slow, I found it enjoyable to the point that I would read a sequel, were one to arise. I give this a 3.5/5 (rounded to 4) because of the aforementioned slowness, mixed with a bit of a let down at the climax of the story.I recommend it to adult fans of mythology or historical fiction.

  • Nick Brett
    2019-03-28 00:44

    This is one of those rare books that pop up and you feel that you are reading something different and a little bit special. Set in Medieval times, it is part historical, part horror and part coming of age and with a touch of fantasy. The author is an established poet and you can tell his love of words and language in every element of this novel including an ability to capture an age and time that is rare, even in historical fiction.This is, in headline terms, about a small group of travellers in thirteenth century Northern England circa coming up against something evil and even castle walls may not protect them. But they have a secret weapon - themselves.So I very much enjoyed this with only one minor frustration (which stopped me going 5 stars). The language. Modern dialect is not used and although I prefer to read modern dialect, I can cope without it. Here we have with the main characters some old fashion speech, but now and then the locals interact with them with even more challenging dialect:“He were in terrible dolor, Mistress, and part of his face tore at, sithee. He were just chuntering’, verra low. ‘Twere hard to hear ‘im, an’ harder tae ken what he were on aboot: summat aboot a fox, he talked of nowt else for a time”I do find it frustrating if I am jerked out of the flow of a story to have to re-read something and translate it in my head, I really hope the author avoids these extremes in future books. Having said that, I still have no hesitation in recommending this, it is multi-layered, very well written and deeply atmospheric.

  • Kris43
    2019-03-31 03:56

    When i read a book that has nothing about it that is excessively mentally or intellectually challenging i expect it to make sense. Right?Or let me put it differently, there is one thing that i really hate, when a book is deliberately written in a way that is hard to follow only to make it more 'literate'. I'm sorry, somebody else may find it a literary masterwork brimming with sophistication. Good for them, I find it a waste of my time!As you can see, I really don't like this book. The primary reason for this is the writing style. Its so overly descriptive and full of pretty but insignificant details that its smothering the plot. Every little detail is described, the road, scenery, their clothes, what they are thinking about, what happened in the past...So you get a few pages of that, but story wise, they are only going down the road! The sentences and overly long, start describing one think, then you get a few analogy and then the sentence ends with something completely different. Oh its all very pretty, but has absolutely nothing to do with the initial thing....Now try reading a few pages of that, you will not even know what the initial thing was! At the end I figured what is bothering be, this is like a pretty picture book posing as a story! And plot wise, the pacing is horrible, absolutely no sense of urgency or danger. When things finally started to happen, I didn't care.

  • Book Him Danno
    2019-04-10 01:37

    The author spent a lot of energy developing the characters and describing the world which they inhabited. By the end of the book you really cared about these fully threshed out 3 dimensional people. Unfortunately that would have been fine in a massive multi-book epic saga, but in a relatively short 300 page book it came with a cost, and that was action. It took quite a while to even figure out what was going on, let alone to get into the story. We start with a group of travelers just going down a road in winter, meeting other travelers. That is it for the longest time.Finally when the action does arrive it is very good, and when I figured out what exactly what was going on (as the synopsis states – they are being stalked by something terrible) I was fully into it. The writer is obviously very talented, but he created the the Lord of the Rings with the page count of the Hobbit. This book could have been cut down tremendously, or (and my vote) it should have been a 3 book, 1000 page tome to be enjoyed over time.In the end this was a nice story, but I was disappointed at such phenomenal character development to be over so abruptly, especially after we got to see them do so little. I look forward to future efforts by this author to see if he strikes a better balance.

  • Jamie Welch
    2019-04-22 01:57

    I loved this tale. Something Red was written so beautifully, I truly felt the cold of the snow and the crisp scents and sights of winter. Being that Douglas Nicholas is a poet, this translated very well into the book. I love the way the author writes, I was truly engrossed with this tale. I found this book in passing at the book store and was intrigued by the synapse on the jacket. Being Irish myself, I was curious about the mythology in the book. Something Red does in fact have mythology in it, but more over this is a coming of age tale. The coming of age aspect in this book was beautifully written. I feel the reader truly sees Hob grow as he embarks on this adventure with Molly (Maeve), Jack and Nemain. Hob was forced to grow up in the face of tragedy, and instead of cowering he came into his own. The first half of the book more or less is about the journey leading up to the final battle so to speak but I felt that it played out well, like a movie instead of a daunting task. Some have said the first half of the novel is boring, I for one did not feel this way, but everyone's tastes are different. I felt Something Red was a quick but thoroughly enjoying read. Take a chance and read it, you may just get as caught up in it as I did...

  • Chris Bauer
    2019-04-27 05:38

    I'm not sure how this fine book slipped under my radar. Really glad I picked it up.This is a coming of age story, set in 13th century England. Our young protag is on the cusp of manhood and is part of a traveling group of "entertainers" wandering the medieval lands. There is a very high degree of authenticity in the work and I was impressed by the smallest of details the author took to get things just right.The characters were all exceptionally vibrant and well constructed. The conflicts in the story arise when they realize they are being stalked by "something" unnatural. The supernatural element is light in the work but grows in intensity towards the climax.I can't rave enough about Nicholas' talent for word choice and evocative description. He is an award winning poet, so I guess it makes sense. But the prose is absolutely breathtaking at many points. The overall pace is brisk and full of excellent twists. And the attention to detail provided during the scenes which involve food left me starving! If you're interested in a strong, fast-paced book without the usual conventions and is written in a strikingly beautiful manner, check out "Something Red."

  • Caitlin
    2019-04-05 23:54

    Something Red absolutely blew me away. This is one of the best debuts I've read in years and the story itself still haunts my dreams. It was all the best elements of Irish folklore, historical fiction, and a very frightening mystery at its cores.Mr. Nichols' is a very talented writer and storyteller. I love the way he puts words together and describes scenes, events, and people. He also writes great and slightly mysterious characters that I couldn't help, but fall in love with almost immediately.Imaging being a trader in the 13th century - I couldn't before this. There is the community of travelers, pilgrims, traders, and inns that supply the necessaries along the way. There are bandits and things that go bump in the night and weather that can quite literally free to death anyone unfortunate enough to be out in it.It's the things that go bump in the night that are at the core of this book. Wrap these things with exiled Irish queens, Lithuanian travelers, monasteries with mastiffs, inns and pure survival and you get a tale you won't soon forget. Highly recommended.

  • Tabitha (Pabkins)
    2019-04-20 03:41

    At the time when I read this one I thought - blah its going so slow and what is really going on. It was just plodding. But the more I think about it - because it sometimes peaks at me from my "giveaway or donate" book shelf - that it was well written but just needed more OOMPH in a lot of areas. I think it could have been GREAT if there was more action and less of an attempt at suspense because the suspense just didn't quite hit the mark.I'd say this was about a 2.5 for me. Between a meh and a eh sort of feeling. I liked the characters and really loved the twist at the end - I just wish there were more going on throughout the whole novel instead of everything just happening in a big rush at the end.*A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. All opinions are my own.

  • Seija
    2019-04-17 05:44

    It is a rare book indeed that I want to recommend to EVERYONE in my life. Gorgeous, poetic, atmospheric writing and compelling, mysterious characters drive this novel. FINALLY, an exciting, suspenseful narrative that uses...wait for it... RESTRAINT when it comes to supernatural elements. I will not spoil anything, but Douglas Nicholas absolutely rewards the attentive reader. Every bit of suspense and foreshadowing and character development is cashed in later. I took a break to read other books at around page 200... I'm so glad I came back to this, the ending is balls-to-the-wall awesome, and what I mean by that is you will be AWED. I was so reluctant to leave these characters behind, and the last paragraph was so perfect it gave me chills. Love, love, love this book.

  • Kitty Chatfou
    2019-04-03 04:39

    Book Title: "Something Red”Author: Douglas NicholasPublished By: AtriaAge Recommended: 17+Reviewed By: Kitty BullardRaven Rating: 5Review: Douglas Nicholas has written a fabulous tale that weaves so many profound elements both new and old. Though the book has a great sense of the supernatural of which many of us are familiar, the author has succeeded in bringing the readers a delightful change of pace that will have you guessing the entire way.The characters are ones that leave a lasting impression and the writing conveys the old Irish World perfectly. I recommend reading this book and intend to look for more from this author in the near future. I long to know more about what happens to Nemain and Hobb!

  • Kristen Mirek
    2019-04-16 03:56

    Slow to start and he does get VERY caught up in descriptive details. It was common to read 5 or so pages w/o anyone actually doing anything. That said, the actual plot line was interesting and it had good build up but still left me wanting ... I'm not sure I like how it was all wrapped up. Overall, when it was good, it was good, and when it wasn't, it wasn't. I am planning on reading the second in the series though since they continue to get good reviews. I'm curious to see where it goes from here.

  • PopcornReads
    2019-04-18 02:40

    I was in the mood for something historical and a little different when I saw Something Red by Douglas Nicholas, and it looked like it just might fit. Boy did it ever! This novel is not only historical but it’s got some paranormal/mythological elements, and it’s just downright creepy in places. For all you purist historical fiction fans, no worries because the research makes this one come to life and the elements I mentioned fit perfectly with superstitions held during that time period. Sound interesting? Read the rest of my review at http://popcornreads.com/?p=4619