Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Return to Sleepy Hollow

Varley, D. (2014). Return to Sleepy Hollow. Missouri City, TX: Garden Gate Press.

New Adult / Fantasy / Paranormal

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars

In this sequel (which can be read as a stand-alone) to Severed/Sleepy Hollow, the story picks-up a few months after Katrina and Ichabod have fled Sleepy Hollow. Now in Philadelphia, Katrina has taken a false identity and is working for a pie maker in exchange for room and board.  She and Ichabod, who is an overworked apprentice at a law firm, see each other only secretly once a week, waiting for the hunt for Katrina to subside and biding their time until Ichabod makes some money for them to start a life together.  Just when it seems Katrina may have escaped the dangers of Sleepy Hollow, her security is compromised in numerous ways. Worse than threats from the living, it is the call of the Horseman that could be too much for Katrina to overcome. Desperate to save not only her own life, but any chance of a life with Ichabod, Katrina returns to Sleepy Hollow where she must avoid the noose -- and the Horseman.

Return to Sleepy Hollow introduces a bunch of new characters -- both honorable and ornery.  Violet and Seth, in particular, are richly drawn so that you love and loathe them, respectively.  Author Dax Varley has written the dialogues in a way that readers hear the characters' speech: Violet has an Irish accent, Seth and his mother sound more working class, and of course Ichabod and Katrina more educated.  This style gave each of the characters a unique stamp, making them more memorable and realistic.  Though there were a few typos that another editing sweep would catch, the writing was consistently well done, cohesive, and moved the story along. 

The story was divided into two parts, with the first to establish new characters and Katrina's dilemmas and the second focusing on her acting on the threats. For readers hoping for a focus on the Katrina/Ichabod romance -- this is not that kind of book. For readers for whom the Horseman is the real draw, patience is required as there's not much of him until the second part of the story.  It is well worth the wait, though, as part two really kicks the action into high gear, and much of what readers loved from the first book is revisited. Best of all, questions are answered about the Horseman, his past, and his motives, and some great unexpected twists come along.  

Personally, since very few of the characters introduced are ultimately important, I would have enjoyed a much shorter part one and a more extensive part two, which felt a bit rushed. The ending is satisfying and readers can imagine what comes next, but Varley has introduced some new information that could easily make a fantastic prequel revolving around the Horseman! Fingers crossed. 

Readers should be aware that there are sexual encounters (not explicit), crude humor, sexual harassment and a near rape. This is promoted as a young adult book, but I would recommend it for older young adult readers or more suitably, as a new adult book, given the age of our main character and her sexual activity. 

Thank you to the author for providing me a signed print copy in exchange for my honest opinion -- the only kind I give.  

Dax Varley writes the kind of young adult novels she wishes were around when she was a teen. She's a lover of humor, horror and all things paranormal. 
When Dax isn't writing, she's collecting odd photos online, reading recaps of her favorite shows or kicked back with a good book. She lives in Richmond, Texas with her husband, a shelf full of action figures and about a dozen imaginary friends.
Real or imaginary, you can find her at the following locations

Click for Hall Ways Review

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