10 Jun 2018

Review - Clowders by Vanessa Morgan

Title: Clowders

Author: Vanessa Morgan


Clervaux, Luxembourg. This secluded, picturesque town in the middle of Europe is home to more cats than people. For years, tourists have flocked to this place – also known as “cat haven” - to meet the cats and buy cat-related souvenirs.

When Aidan, Jess and their five-year-old daughter, Eleonore, move from America to Clervaux, it seems as if they've arrived in paradise. It soon becomes clear, though, that the inhabitants' adoration of their cats is unhealthy. According to a local legend, each time a cat dies, nine human lives are taken as a punishment. To tourists, these tales are supernatural folklore, created to frighten children on cold winter nights. But for the inhabitants of Clervaux, the danger is darkly, horrifyingly real.

Initially, Aidan and Jess regard this as local superstition, but when Jess runs over a cat after a night out in the town, people start dying, one by one, and each time it happens, a clowder of cats can be seen roaming the premises.

Are they falling victim to the collective paranoia infecting the entire town? Or is something horrible waiting for them? Something unspeakably evil.

Aidan and Jess' move to Europe may just have been the worst decision they ever made.

I received a free ebook copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts:

I was expecting a thrilling tale going into Clowders but unfortunately I closed the book in the end fairly disappointed. The plain truth is: I was a lot more bored than thrilled while reading it and I kept waiting for a turning point that would have changed my opinion but the real rush of fear never came and I was eventually left with an empty feeling regarding the book.

Clowders tells the story of a family who moves to a small town in Luxemburg that is famous for its high cat population. Aidan and Jess, who take their 5 year old daughter Eleonore with them too, soon realize that people in the town act strangely, especially when a cat's life is in danger. They learn about a legend that keeps the townspeople in fear and that makes sure they treat the cats of the town well. When a cat dies in an accident and a mysterious feral creature starts stalking Jess and Eleonore, the legend turns out to be real. The only question is whether the family can escape from the crazy cat town in time to avoid the gruesome fate they can expect after being involved in the incident.

More than half of the novel is about Aidan and Jess trying to patch up their broken relationship. I confess I didn't like these characters at all. Aidan is the one who wanted to move to Europe, he basically dragged Jess and his little girl with him because he wanted some adventure in his life again. Almost as soon as they arrive to Clervaux he starts an affair with with a horrible woman who likes playing around with (sometimes married) men just for fun. Aidan doesn't give a fig that Jess hates their new home, that she's slowly becoming depressed because she has nothing to do all day.

I didn't like Jess mostly because she was very slow to understand what was going on around her (just like Aidan, actually) and because she complained too much about things rather than doing something to solve them. She didn't like driving Eleonore to and from school for expample, but at the same time she was always going on about how she didn't have anything to do all day. Partly I understand why the situation was tough for her but many times she annoyed me with her utter helplessness. Even when Eleanore was around, she just put the kid in front of the telly rather than playing with her. They hardly ever did anything together, mother and daughter, which was kinda strange to me.

The half-human half-cat creature wasn't scary enough for me because for the longest time it didn't do anything at all other than stalk people by standing in their bedrooms at night. It didn't attack anyone unless a cat had been killed and even then, she made a quick job of getting rid of the guilty party. What made the whole thing creepy (and why I gave it two stars/pineapples in the end instead of one) was the town's reaction; they worked together with this monster/catgirl, they actually helped the creature eliminate the cat killers. Clervaux was a little bit like the village in the movie Hot Fuzz (only that movie is waaay better than this book).

No one tried to stop the creature. Like... what?? I'm not kidding. People tried to escape but they didn't try to fight. They accepted without question that it cannot be defeated and the only thing they tried was to outrun it. 

I didn't feel like I was entertained, I asked the question why??? a million times while reading the book and in the end I didn't understand why this story had to be told. It's a shame, the premise was excellent. It could have been so much more than what it became.

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