Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The White Devil by Justin Evans: Book Review


The White Devil
by Justin Evans
HarperCollins
ISBN: 978-0-06-172827-3
Release Date: May 10, 2011
Buy from Indigo
Suggested Ages: 17 + (Due to sexuality and violence)


Description:Set in a four-hundred-year-old boys' boarding school in London, a chilling gothic thriller by the author of the critically acclaimed A Good and Happy Child . . .

A fierce and jealous ghost . . .

A young man's fight for his life . . .

The Harrow School is home to privileged adolescents known as much for their distinctive dress and traditions as for their arrogance and schoolboy cruelty. Seventeen-year-old American Andrew Taylor is enrolled in the esteemed British institution by his father, who hopes that the school's discipline will put some distance between his son and his troubled past in the States.

But trouble—and danger—seem to follow Andrew. When one of his schoolmates and friends dies mysteriously of a severe pulmonary illness, Andrew is blamed and is soon an outcast, spurned by nearly all his peers. And there is the pale, strange boy who begins to visit him at night. Either Andrew is losing his mind, or the house legend about his dormitory being haunted is true.

When the school's poet-in-residence, Piers Fawkes, is commissioned to write a play about Byron, one of Harrow's most famous alumni, he casts Andrew in the title role. Andrew begins to discover uncanny links between himself and the renowned poet. In his loneliness and isolation, Andrew becomes obsessed with Lord Byron's story and the poet's status not only as a literary genius and infamous seducer but as a student at the very different Harrow of two centuries prior—a place rife with violence, squalor, incurable diseases, and tormented love affairs.

When frightening and tragic events from that long-ago past start to recur in Harrow's present, and when the dark and deadly specter by whom Andrew's been haunted seems to be all too real, Andrew is forced to solve a two-hundred-year-old literary mystery that threatens the lives of his friends and his teachers—and, most terrifyingly, his own.

The Good Stuff

  • Author really knows how to create mood -- it felt eerie and spooky - almost gothic like
  • Wonderfully moody ghost story, which there should have been much more of over the constant mentions of the scholarly politics
  • Love the scene between Dr Khan and Andrew in the library
  • lots of twists and turns
  • Sensitive portrayal of homosexuality
  • Interesting characters
The Not so Good Stuff
  • The beginning is very slow and a tad confusing at times, but really picks up by Chapter 9 - but honestly almost put it down quite a few times, I just felt like saying - get on with it!
  • It just never lived up to its fabulous back cover description, I just expected better
  • Not enough ghost story and too much politics of the school
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Andrew held a cold, fragrant martini in his hand, wondering what the protocol was for drinking gin in the apartment of your housemaster when you were underage and had narrowly escaped lynching for being a teenage drug lord."


"I am an archivist. A research librarian. Not a book retriever. When Fawkes goes playing literary historical sleuth, he has all the self-important silliness of a boy playing dress-up in his father's shoes and hat, or better yet, a Sherlock Holmes hat and pipe."

What I Learned
  • Some interesting background on Byron and tuberculosis
Who should/shouldn't read
  • Even-though the protagonist is a teen, I would not recommend it to younger readers, I would say 17 and up. Quite graphic at times
  • Those who enjoy moody ghost stories
3 Dewey's

More Positive Reviews here: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10156337-the-white-devil  and http://leeswammes.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/book-review-the-white-devil-by-justin-evans/

I received this from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review

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