Friday, 17 September 2021

Review: Horseman by Christina Henry

I love the way Christina Henry takes well-known classic tales and puts her own spin on them, turning them into something new and fresh. Horseman is a 'sequel' to Irving Washington's classic story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, taking place about twenty years later.

Everyone in Sleepy Hollow knows of the legendary Horseman, but no one really believes in him until fourteen year old Ben stumbles upon the headless body of a child in the woods. Could the Horseman be real after all? Or does something even more sinister stalk the woods?

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is one of my favourite stories, so I loved the way some of the original text was sprinkled through the book, acting like a touchstone. Ben's grandparents are the famous Brom and Katrina, now wealthy farmers, which causes friction in the village due to jealousy and Brom's habit of ensuring he is always at the centre of things. While Ben is desperate to grow up to be just like Brom, the main theme of the story is about being true to yourself, accepting who you really are and not being afraid to be different. Horseman is also a story about the importance of friendship and family.

Like the inhabitants of Sleepy Hollow, you might think you know the legend of the Horseman but there are still plenty of surprises here! There's more than one monster for a start! The creepy setting and evil lurking in the woods also reminded me of M. Night Shyamalan's The Village. Like Christina's previous book, The Ghost Tree, I am not sure if the story is supposed to be a  Young Adult, but it does read like one. There are some gruesome bits (headless bodies!) but it's not too scary. I wasn't so keen on the 'ten years later' segment at the end of the book, which I found rather sad, but I did enjoy the final twist. 

Horseman is a deliciously chilling read for autumn. A historical horror story dripping with sinister atmosphere, Christina's fans will love it - along with anyone who adored the original story. A perfect Halloween treat!

Horseman will be published in the UK on 28th September 2021

Thank you to Christina Henry and  Titan Books for my copy of this book, which I requested via NetGalley and reviewed voluntarily.

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