I have read a few books by Stacey Rourke and I really enjoy her work. Her characters are fun and just make me want to continue reading, couple that with the fact that on her birthday she gave us all of her books for $.99 each….it was a steal, so I got the entire series.
***Please know – there is minor spoilery type content below…***
What I Loved: I am a huge fan of retellings. I love it when authors take a famous story line and carve their own path into it. There are many retellings that I actually like better than the originals. This book is a great retelling of The Legend of Sleepy Hallow, and it includes several ‘characters’ you will recognize. I really liked this version of Ichabod; instead of the scared wimp you get in some of the cartoon versions of this story – you have this handsome, socially inept hero. There is something sweet about a strong man who is also shy.
In Crane, Rourke took a fun method of taking us back and forth between timelines, blending the original story with a modern-day take. I don’t always like it when books jump back and forth like that, however it really worked for this book. It was never confusing, but I’m sure that had a lot to do with the fact that the “voices” of the two POV’s were very different – even if the stories were parallel(ish).
Not So Much: I had a hard time connecting with our modern-day main character, Ireland. I loved her voice, she was funny, sarcastic and all the things that I like in a character, but I don’t really feel like I got to know her all that well. I also had a very difficult time with the Ireland/Noah relationship – probably for the same reasons. Noah, quite honestly, wasn’t really IN the story as much as you would like him to be. He seemed like a great guy, but again I couldn’t really tell. Then the two of them together – well, they were just playing at the edges of ‘together’ in this book…I imagine that is rectified in the future installments, however the fact that they were truly together by the end of the story (sorry minor spoiler) – I just wasn’t ready for it yet.
And if I’m going to pick on the relationships, I did kind of feel the rush of Icabod and Katrina’s relationship as well. Perhaps my problem is I like to see people’s feelings unfold rather than having this insta-attraction turn into love. Life rarely works that way – so I think I enjoy books where the characters have to work at it a bit, too. Spend some quality time together, you know.
Finally, there is the parallel of the legend; in the old version you have a reason the horseman showed up and the events transpired, but in modern-day it I believe the reason it was happening again was because all the right people in all the right place. That felt flimsy as a story-line, in my opinion. WHY did it happen again when all of the people were in the right place? Just because it was foretold, and that’s it?
The Verdict: I really, really wanted to love Crane. I was looking forward to reading it, and felt this was (is) the perfect season to read it in; however while I liked it, I didn’t love it. I have been told by mega-fans to keep reading. I do have Raven and Steam on my iPad, and I will likely continue with the series. Perhaps by the end this will be one of those series I re-read over and over again and discover all the things I missed in this first book and how they relate to the following – who knows.
I do think it’s worth your time, especially if you’re like me and enjoy a good retelling. Give it a chance, because you know – my opinions are my own, and there are many who loved this book!
Rated: 3 Stars
Rating: PG-13 – some sexual content, mild cussing