Have you ever read the synopsis/blurb of a book, then a number of reviews about a book and think ‘Well that book sounds like something I’d quite enjoy reading?’ only to find that when you read the book, it feels like those reviews and that synopsis were about a completely different book!?
That’s how I feel about Charla.
The premise was strong – a mother who hates her daughter so much she summons a demon to cause her pain – but the reality of it was a mentally deranged woman who took pleasure in fantasising about hurting her daughter, who dabbled in the occult and was a full-blown alcoholic.
The characters were flat and hopelessly cliché: Amelie was a fairly brainless bimbo, who was quite naive. Her father was the typical rich tycoon, a hopelessly handsome, powerful man who fixed the bad things in his life by throwing money at it (he was well endowed too, just in case you wanted to know if he also fit that mould). Amelie’s best friend, whose name escapes me and I just finished the book, was supposedly some sort of practicing wiccan/medium who was largely ineffective against the demon and the fiancé, well he was a special piece of work.
However, I would have overlooked a lot of the failings of the characters if I got a good scare out of the story, if I felt an ounce of terror make its way into my brain or felt myself get a bit jumpy at every-day noises. Alas, the supposed creepiness was completely missing. Not a single scene caused shivers up my spine or the hairs on the back of my neck to rise. I didn’t feel scared, I didn’t need the lights on, nor did I feel the need to check over my shoulder. What an epic let down!
The demon could have been a rather fun and creepy character to play with, emotionally, physically and mentally, but it all just fell short. Outside of a few oddly placed shadows and some partial apparitions, his/its appearance was mostly for show. I felt a deeper sense of creepiness coming from the Doctor who came in at the end of the book.
To me, this felt like Alexander was after a full blown creep-fest with various taboo subjects including non-con, but he failed to push the envelope to the point of actually getting there. (An author who does push those boundaries would be [a:Johnny Stone|5006690|Johnny Stone|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1375844112p2/5006690.jpg]).
The scenes that involved fighting or struggling of some kind were a little unclear and left me wondering what was actually happening. This resulted in me having to re-read sections of the action to be sure of positioning/actions.
Ultimately, I was quite underwhelmed. The writing was reasonable and the premise was a strong and unique one, but it just failed to deliver.
**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of the book in return for an honest review**