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Monday, September 27, 2021

Review: Horseman by Christina Henry

by Christina Henry

Thank you Berkley and NetGalley for this #giftedbook. 

Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: September 28, 2021
Kindle Edition
352 Pages
Genres: Horror, Fantasy, Retellings

Everyone in Sleepy Hollow knows about the Horseman, but no one really believes in him. Not even Ben Van Brunt's grandfather, Brom Bones, who was there when it was said the Horseman chased the upstart Crane out of town. Brom says that's just legend, the village gossips talking.

Twenty years after those storied events, the village is a quiet place. Fourteen-year-old Ben loves to play Sleepy Hollow boys, reenacting the events Brom once lived through. But then Ben and a friend stumble across the headless body of a child in the woods near the village, and the sinister discovery makes Ben question everything the adults in Sleepy Hollow have ever said. Could the Horseman be real after all? Or does something even more sinister stalk the woods?

My Review:

This is my fourth Henry read and there is no mistaking how talented she is in bringing us a darker version of stories we already know and love (i.e., Alice, Captain Hook, Little Red Riding Hood, etc...).  But what happens when she takes and already spooky and terrifying legend as the one we know in Sleepy Hollow?  

Labeled as a retelling, it actually takes place a couple of decades(ish) after the original story and we get to see what happens after Ichabod Crane's disappearance.  And there are non-believers - (SHUN THE NON BELIEVERS!) However, wouldn't you start believing if bodies, human and other, started showing up, head and handless? Ben's curiosity is QUITE piqued and I must say, I was with him 1000% of the way! I also loved seeing trans representation as Ben is a 14 year old teen who identifies as a boy... even if his mom is determined to make him into the lady he never wanted to be. 

Henry once again uses her immense talent to expand upon a legendary tale.  Just in time for those who start Spooky Season now (as opposed to all year like I have it 🤣).  But apart from the tale we already have a sense of, we also receive a story of family loyalty, acceptance, friendships and adventure.  For this, I think it was brilliantly written.  For my particularly macabre taste, I wished it had more spooky/horror and less family dynamics. Also, I'd love to see an own voices review of this re the trans rep.

While not my favorite Henry to date, this definitely packs a pumpkin punch! Hold on to your heads, folks! 😉  


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