A British horror tale between multiple worlds and universes. Hekla’s Children – book review

Teachers Nathan and Susan saw four of their students walk up a hill and vanish during a hiking trip. Only one of them, Olivia, comes back shocked and unable to tell what happened.

untitledTen years later, a body is found in the same ancient woodland where they disappeared: it is first believed to be one of the missing children, but is soon identified as a Bronze Age warrior, whose leg belongs to one of the students indeed. Yet Nathan starts to have horrific visions of the kids, alive but trapped in a world full of horrors, a land where an epic battle between evils is taking place. Then Olivia reappears, desperate that the warrior’s body be returned to the earth.

Nathan embarks on a journey to find out the truth about what happened ten years prior, between supernatural discoveries and ghosts from the past, such as the police doubting his alibis and Susan’s love faded away…

Despite the intriguing narrative of Hekla’s Children, this horror novel didn’t grab my attention throughout the 397 pages.

Hekla's Children .pngJames Brogden (the author) here proves to be extremely capable of creating atmospheres and drawing the reader in the world he gives life to, whereas the story becomes convoluted and hard to follow at times. This movie lacks linearity, looking too blocky in more than one occasion.

In fact, the story can be split in different segments which don’t flow seamlessly as they should.

I don’t want to give away too much, in case you want to read Hekla’s Children, but I believe there’s an extreme lack of consistency between the scenes on Earth and those in UN (another dimension where the kids could possibly be…).

At the same time, the author’s ability to present believable and fully detailed environments enhances the scare factor within the story – as a horror novel, Hekla’s Children works very well by providing the readers with unsettling and bloody paragraphs: the narration of these bits is powerful and helps your imagination to fill the gaps and experience tension and intensity.

Another aspect of the narration I found rather ballsy and refreshing was swap between main characters. Throughout the first half of Hekla’s Children the reader relies on one lead protagonist, who nearly disappears during the remaining 200 pages only to be replaced by a new one we didn’t get the chance to know at the beginning.

This approach is both bold and ingenious, since it provides the story with an extra layer of originality. However, it doesn’t help in feeling emotionally attached to the ‘new’ hero, which seems to be coming from nowhere and doesn’t have much the reader can latch on.

Overall, Hekla’s Children is an interesting novel, very well written and with the ambitious goal to create a broad universe. Despite my complaints about the convoluted plot, I would still recommend it… it should be widely available from February 2018 – at least in America, Australia and United Kingdom.

 

Hekla’s Children     7/10

TITLE: Hekla’s Children

AUTHOR: James Brogdon

COUNTRY: England

PAGES: 397

PUBLISHER: Titan Books

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