Feast by Merrie Destefano
HarperCollins/HarperVoyager (July 2011)
Mass Market: $7.99; ebook: $7.99
Favorite Lines: “And suddenly, I remembered what I had seen in the woods, the dead body and the shadowy creatures that had tried to hold me. Something foul and dreadful had by loosed in the wood this afternoon. We had to get out of here, quickly. I grabbed my son by the hand.” (p. 116, egalley)
Halloween is a bad time to return to the woods . . .
Madeline MacFaddin (“Mad Mac” to fans of her bestselling magical stories) spent blissful childhood summers in Ticonderoga Falls. And this is where she wants to be now that her adult life is falling apart. The dense surrounding forest holds many memories, some joyous, some tantalizingly only half-remembered. And she’s always believed there was something living in these wooded hills.
But Maddie doesn’t remember the dark parts—and knows nothing of the mountain legend that holds the area’s terrified residents captive. She has no recollection of Ash, the strange and magnificent creature who once saved her life as a child, even though it is the destiny of his kind to prey upon humanity. And soon it will be the harvest . . . the time to feast.
Once again Maddie’s dreams—and her soul—are in grave danger. But magic runs deep during harvest. Even a spinner of enchanted tales has wondrous powers of her own . . .
Feast is a campfire story put into book form. Filled with predatory monsters, the story revolves around a small town which has been cursed. At the center of the curse is Ash, a creature consumed with guilt and grief who refuses to let go of the past and live. At least until a tormented Maddie arrives. It’s not a romance. It is not character driven, but there is a romantic element to the story. The tone of Feast reminds me of Amanda Stevens The Restorer. Not in creep factor, but in pacing and ambiance.
The story is told in first person, but each chapter is told by a different character. The story is shown from all the important characters except Maddy’s son. Despite the multitude of storytellers, it’s not hard to follow; each chapter is labeled with the storyteller’s name. Feast manages to subtly combine horror and fantasy, while making sure to add a touch of romance. It’s a tale of implications.
It’s obvious Ash and Maddie will eventually hook up, but when it happens it doesn’t feel right. There was never any honest recognition of sexual attraction leading the way to a romantic love. It just sort of happens toward the end of the story. One minute Maddie is oblivious, the next she clearly sees the man/beast.
Then there’s the chaos which gradually expand from Ash and Maddie to encompass the entire town. There are implied murders without ramifications and the furtive rapes. The rapes aren’t violent, but when you have a greedy, driven shapeshifter who is capable of manipulating humans…well, use your imagination. I expect both the murders and rapes to be discussed if there are to be more books in the series. As it ended I was not satisfied.
You want to know what I think? So do I. I don’t hate Feast, but I won’t seek out future books if it becomes a series. Feast successfully intermingles the fantastic with reality and I enjoyed the introduction to the shapeshifting monsters reminiscent of the dark fae. However, it isn’t enough to hold my attention. Borrow it from a friend or the library.