Title: The Thirteen
Author: Susie Moloney
Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: March 27, 2012
Format: Paperback, 336 Pages
ISBN-10: 0062117661 (Harper Collins)
ISBN-13: 978-0062117663 (Harper Collins)
Reviewed by: Sheila
The Witches of Eastwick meets Desperate Housewives in Susie Moloney’s The Thirteen, her new and long-awaited novel.
Haven Woods is suburban heaven, a great place to raise a family. It’s close to the city, quiet, with great schools and its own hospital right up the road. Property values are climbing. The streets are clean, people keep their yards really nicely. It’s fairly pet friendly, though barking dogs are not welcomed. The crime rate is practically non-existent, unless you count the odd human sacrifice, dismemberment, animal attack, demon rape and blood atonement. When Paula Wittmore goes home to Haven Woods to care for a suddenly ailing mother, she brings her daughter and a pile of emotional baggage. She also brings the last chance for twelve of her mother’s closest frenemies, who like to keep their numbers at thirteen. And her daughter, young, innocent, is a worthy gift to the darkness.
A circle of friends will support you through bad times. A circle of witches can drag you through hell.
Quick & Dirty: A confusing mesh of witchery and deceit.
Opening Sentence: The drunk at table eight was shouting something at the dancer.
When it comes to horror movies or books, I usually decline. I no longer like being scared to death by creepy serial killers that eat the bodies of their victims or demonic children taking over. I have seen too many bad things in real life to appreciate them for the entertainment they are meant to be. That being said, I love me some B-rated horror movies. The ones that are so beyond corny that they become funny. The Thirteen is like a horror movie that is too bad for traditional horror status but not “bad” enough to cross over into B-ratings. It tries to be a new blend of The Witches of Eastwick and Desperate Housewives, but falls tragically short.
Paula Wittmore is a struggling single mother of a teenage daughter. So when Paula’s mother becomes ill, she and her daughter, Rowan, return home to help out. The carefree town of Haven Woods is everything that Paula had as a child and wanted for her daughter’s life: clean, friendly, and a safe place to call home. Little do they know that the power that keeps up this façade is hungry for their blood. The ladies of Haven are witches in need of two things to continue their “good lives”; a thirteenth woman to join their coven, and a sacrifice to the god that gives them their power. Will Paula and Rowan survive the selfish and greedy women around them, or will they fall victim to their unholy pact with evil?
This is such a good idea for a book. Women sacrificing, their child or husband, in order to get their material “heart’s desires” and an outsider that can either make them or break them. Unfortunately, this book doesn’t deliver. I had no clue what was going on until almost the very end. Even when I did get it, I felt cheated. There was all this build up toward a spectacular confrontation that turned out to be very anticlimactic. Also, Thirteen’s first person narrative jumped from character to character without preamble and it made it difficult to follow the story as a whole.
The characters themselves were opaque. There wasn’t a lot of depth to any of them, even the two central characters, Paula and Rowan. And the love interest, Sanderson, felt like an afterthought. The sexual tension between he and Paula was “meh” at best, which made the whole relationship harder to believe in. I couldn’t relate to any characters, either as a woman or as a mother.
The only part I liked in this book was the truly creepy evil entity that supplies the ladies their magical abilities. He did bad bad things to the women to have them prove their loyalty. And when he came and took their sacrifice, he demanded that they get down on their knees and thank him for doing it. This thing was like an abusive husband that gave you material things but crushed your spirit and soul in return. Though I appreciate the vagueness given to him for added tension, I believe that the overall story could have used it more efficiently.
If the overall book were a movie, it would be on Lifetime in the middle of the week. Something to watch when there is nothing else on. I am sorry to say, I would not recommend this book to anyone. It’s too meager in a world full of books that are far more satisfying.
She leaned in, giving Paula just enough time to jerk herself up before fear could stop her. She swung the doll as hard as she could and made sudden, hard contact. There was a terrible wet, tearing sound and Glory staggered back out of the van, clutching the side of her face. Her mouth opened and a gasp came out-uuuhh. Paula jammed her hand against her own mouth to keep from screaming out loud. The doll’s legs had plunged right into Glory’s eye.
Blood soaked into Glory’s glove, dripping down as her good eye stared, shocked, at Paula. Then she staggered and fell forward heavily onto Paula’s legs, hovering a moment until gravity pulled her large body to the ground.
Paula scrambled out of the van. She stared at Glory sprawled on the grass, her mouth open in horror, then looked at the doll in her hand. It was covered in blood to the knees. Murder-Weapon Barbie.
FTC Advisory: William Morrow/Harper Collins graciously provided me with a copy of The Thirteen. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. The only payment received came in the form of hugs and kisses from my little boys.
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.