We’re All Mad Here // Review: The Creeper Man by Dawn Kurtagich

the-creeper-man-by-dawn-kurtagich

The Creeper ManUS Title: And The Trees Crept In
Genre: 
Young Adult, Horror
Date Published: July 14 2016 (UK/AUS)
September 6 2016 (USA)
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Pages: 400
Buy: Amazon – Book Depository
Australia: BooktopiaHachette Australia
Follow Dawn Kurtagich on Twitter

When Silla and her little sister, Nori, escape London and their abusive father, Aunt Cath’s country house feels like a safe haven. Leaving the smog and fear behind, the girls have the love and freedom they never had in their violent home. But slowly, ever so slowly, things begin to unravel.

Aunt Cath locks herself in the attic and spends day and night pacing; every day the surrounding forest inches slowly towards the house; a mysterious boy appears from the enclosing wood offering friendship, and Nori claims that a man watches them from the dark forest. A man with no eyes who creeps ever closer. . .

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** I was provided with a free copy of this book via Hachette Australia in exchange for an honest review **

Why do I always read books that impossible to review without giving away the entire plot? Anyway.

The Creeper Man is an atmospheric and haunting tale of two sisters – Silla and Nori. Silla and Nori have not had an easy home life which is evident in Silla’s withdrawn personality and Nori’s mutism. Things come to a head and they both escape from their old life and find themselves at their Aunt Cath’s mansion, La Baume. The mansion is surrounded by Python Wood and Aunt Cath warns the girls that they can never go back in there because of something she and her two sisters (one of those being Nori and Silla’s mother) did when they children. Despite Aunt Cath’s eccentric behaviour, Silla and Nori start to believe that they can start a new life at La Baume, but it doesn’t take long for things to change and they realise they’ve just substituted one hell for another.

Rotting in your skin
rotting in your mind
you are rotting in this house
in this house you’ll die. 

What I loved the most about The Creeper Man was that at the start of some chapters there were “broken book entries” which kind of read like blackout poetry in the sense that certain words were bolded. There some really cool stylised pages too. The book, in general, was a lot more poetic and atmospheric than I was expecting. It wasn’t your usual kind of action packed horror. Sure there were some extremely grotesque and confronting scenes, but it was quite slow paced and almost felt like a Gothic Horror at times.

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Dawn Kurtagich wrote Silla’s descent into madness brilliantly. I honestly felt like I was going mad myself along with her. If you’re triggered by intrusive thoughts please be careful if you decide to read this. I felt like they really helped you feel what Silla was experiencing, but I know some people can’t read things like that. I also want to warn you for a slight trigger warning involving eating disorders. You’ll probably be confused the entirety of the book. I feel like Silla’s madness, the scenes involving the trees closing in around the house along with The Creeper Man (who was very Slender Man-esque) were some of the strongest parts of the book. The neglect and malnourshment that Silla and Nori faced was extremely realitstic and not glossed over like it can be in a lot of YA books. You know how in some Dystopias where everyone still looks perfect even though they’re not supposed to have food ect? This definitely doesn’t happen here.

One thing that really confused me was when the story took place. It was supposed to be in the present, but there was talk of war and the style of writing and the way the characters spoke made it feel like it was set in the past. I’m not sure if it was intentional, but it definitely made me feel a little off while reading.

The Creeper Man by Dawn Kurtagich.png
“three little girls
knelt by an alder

to summon a man
to be their protector

their game hard to bear
when protector turned
and gave them a scare!”

The mansion, La Baume, felt like its own character and I love when the settings in books feel alive. I enjoyed Nori and Silla as characters too. Nori was mute and Silla spoke to her in sign language and I thought it was great to see that represented in a book. Their sister relationship is strong and realistic despite the chaos around them. Silla does have a love interest and it is quite instalove-y. There’s a reason for this, but it’s still something I can never get behind.

The ending, like most horrors, was quite vague. I wasn’t expecting it, but I’m not sure I was a fan of it. It sort of seemed like it made the rest of the book redundant.

It’s hard to say much more without spoiling things and this is definitely a book where you need to discover things along with the characters. Overall, I did really enjoy this though. It was creepy, vivid and I was really caught up with what was happening. If you’re looking for a unique horror read then I definitely recommend that you check out The Creeper Man! 

And then it falls forward on all fours, long and thing and impossible, scuttling back ito the woods, head cocked up to me, grinning, until he is nothing but tree and shadow and I don’t know if I’ve seen it at all. 

The Creeper Man.

Of all the things that thing could have been, a man is not it.  

my-rating

★★★★☆


Have you read The Creeper Man or is it on your TBR?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

I hope you’re all having a fantastic day xx

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26 thoughts on “We’re All Mad Here // Review: The Creeper Man by Dawn Kurtagich

  1. Great review Lauren! It’s funny I just posted mine as well. 🙂
    And without saying anything too spoiler-y for others I 100% agree with you about the ending I thought it kind of ruined everything creepy that had happened. I also agree with you on the setting because it felt kind of old timey to me as well but they kept mentioned the start of World War 3 so then I thought it was maybe the present or near future? That never got answered either.

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    1. Ooh, I’m going to read yours now! And right!! One of the best parts was The Creeper Man and the ending definitely made that entire situation underwhelming. Glad I wasn’t the only who noticed the time thing. I think it was supposed to have that kind of feel, but it definitely made everything feel weird.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I agree so, so much. The Creeper Man was definitely one of the best parts and he was what scared me the most and the end took that away. And yes the time thing was just sort of odd, I mean at the end …a lot of time surpassed so maybe the old time thing is just Silla herself and maybe not the rest of the world, you know?

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  2. This is a great review Laruen, and you’ve definitely convinced me that I need to read this as soon as possible! I love the sound of the characters and it sounds like they were really well developed as well, especially Silla.
    I’ll admit I wasn’t really interested in this book before. The cover certainly creeped me out a little and along with the blurb it made it seem a little too horror-ish for my tastes but your review just makes it sounds like a book I can’t possibly miss out on. 😀

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    1. Thanks so much, Beth! There were a few parts that I think people could find potentially creepy. There’s a lot of vivid descriptions, but it’s not done in a senseless way. It’s all quiet poetic so I think even non-horror fans could read this! I hope you enjoy it when you get to it 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right. 😀 If there are any really scary parts I may just skim through them so I’m not too creeped out! It sounds really good, and I’ve seen some great review for it as well so I have high hopes and maybe it’ll get me hooked on the horror genre as well (though unlikely because I am a whimp when it comes to really scary things!)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I just read and reviewed Kurtagich’s first book The Dead House but it was a mixed bag for me. I loved the epistolary format and it seems she keeps some of that for The Creeper Man, but I felt that the plot was very messy and the characters a bit bland. I’m still going to give The Creeper Man a go though to see any improvements as there was definitely potential in The Dead House. Seems like Kurtagich may have improved on the “descent into madness”trope and the creepiness in The Creeper Man which is good. Great review!

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  4. This sounds really interesting. I’ve been looking for some darker reads lately so I’ll definitely have to pick this up myself at some point. I love the pictures you included that show how it’s formatted at times. One of them reminds me of blackout poetry. Great review, Lauren! 😊

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