This is a non-spoiler review.
A gothic version of The X-Files and Supernatural. 19th century ghost hunters become ensnared in a deadly investigation of a haunted house. They are a psychology professor, his assistant, an African-American physicist, a young sideshow medium, and a traumatized Civil War veteran, each possessing unique strengths and weaknesses. Will any of them survive?
Hi everybody! And happy spooky season!
This week, I took on Robert Herold’s THE EIDOLA PROJECT, so let’s dive right in! As the synopsis says, this story follows a band of unlikely companions that investigate the paranormal. I’ll start with the elements I didn’t like as much, just to get them out of the way so I can gush about the good stuff!
I can’t believe I’m going to say this, being a huge fan of The Stand (by Uncle Stephen), but there were too many characters for me. Now, that’s not to say that there are loads of characters, but at times I found myself a little lost about who was who. I think it’s because the story opens so strongly with Sarah, and we get a lot of detail about her childhood home, parents, talents, etc. When we then moved on to another character, I felt prickly about it because I already loved Sarah and didn’t want to move on to the next person! I like ensemble casts but if memory serves, the other characters didn’t quite get the same level of detail as Sarah did (or perhaps I just wasn’t as drawn to them as I was to her), and so I had trouble caring about them that much. I think I would have preferred if the author had either given us the entire story through her eyes, or really gone for broke with the storytelling and explored everyone’s lives in minute detail.
At times I found the story a little convoluted because as well as jumping from character to character, there were a few subplots that turned out to be kind of irrelevant – Louis and his marriage, for instance. That’s not to say these things weren’t interesting – I was extremely interested in Louis (who’s an absolute dick, the kind that makes you tense before you even meet him) – but I think there are a few chapters that could either have been condensed or cut without impacting the story.
Okay, that’s my complaining over with! On to the things I really enjoyed:
Sarah is awesome and I really enjoyed her parts of the story. She’s a great character with whom I was able to empathise with immediately, and I really looked forward to seeing her again every time she reappeared.
The author did an amazing job of putting me in the mid-19th century, and clearly did a lot of research to bring his settings and time period to life. His descriptions were detailed and vivid, and emphasised the atmosphere and tone of the story beautifully.
The seance scenes were awesome, and I wish there were more of them! They were creepy and spooky, and once again to the author’s credit, the scenes were set so perfectly, I felt like I was participating.
Though the middle dragged for me a little, it was well worth it to get to the third act, where insanity and carnage erupted. The last couple of chapters were glorious to read, and something happens with a particular character which came as a complete shock – a grin-inducing, delightfully dark shock. I won’t say a word about it here as I wouldn’t want to spoil it, but this revelation threw the doors of this world and its possibilities wide open.
Overall, I think it’s pretty good! The characters (I know, I’m always bleeting on about the characters) were well-realised, so that I felt like I knew and understood even the ones I didn’t like. And I’m a sucker for an ending that subverts your expectations!
I’d recommend this to lovers of the paranormal,, supernatural, and a slow-burning suspenseful tale of mystery, quiet horror, and intrigue.
If you’d like to get your own copy, you can find it here:
If you’d like to check out the author, Robert Herold, and his other works, you can find him here:
If you’d like to explore the works of the press that released this title, you can find them here:
Until next time!
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