Sunday, February 20, 2022

Review - The Lighthouse Witches (DNF)

The Lighthouse Witches

by C. J. Cooke
Date: 2021
Publisher: HarperCollins
Reading level: A
Book type: prose novel
Pages: 357
Format: e-book
Source: Kobo

Upon the cliffs of a remote Scottish island, Lòn Haven, stands a lighthouse.

A lighthouse that weathered more than storms.

Mysterious and terrible events have happened on this island. It started with a witch hunt. Now, centuries later, islanders are vanishing without explanation.

Coincidence? Or curse?

Liv Stay flees to the island with her three daughters, in search of a home. She doesn’t believe in witches, or dark omens, or hauntings. But within months, her daughter Luna will be the only one of them left.

Twenty years later, Luna is drawn back to the place her family vanished. As the last sister left, it’s up to her to find out the truth . . .

But what really happened at the lighthouse all those years ago?

(synopsis from Goodreads)

DNF @ 27%

Nope. I just can't do this to myself anymore. Even if it is set in Scotland. Even if is about witches and paranormal occurrences. Every time I think about picking this book back up, I immediately think of something else I'd rather be doing. Vacuuming. Taxes. Waxing my legs in slow motion.

This book suffers from some of the worst editing/proofreading I've seen in a traditionally published title in a while. The continuity is awful. Characters sit down when they're already sitting. They help each other up when they're not even down. Events are changed, and then not all instances are caught. (At one point, the mother slaps her daughter across the face. The girl runs away, clutching the back of her head as if she's banged it, and the mother says the kid is injured. Later, a reference is made to when the mother "pushed" her daughter. I'm guessing the shove was changed to a slap, but not every reference was caught.) When the teenage daughter runs away, the middle sister tells her that their mother hasn't noticed yet... and then, a few paragraphs later, says their mother is freaking out over the disappearance.

Even if I wanted to subject myself to a few hundred more pages of that kind of thing, I'd still hate the characters. The mother is some sort of underdeveloped artiste type who says she loves her daughters more than she shows it. (She seems rather indifferent, honestly.) And the girls... They're 15, 9, and 7, but they all come across as about 4 years younger than their actual ages. The teenager pouts and runs away from home when she's upset, says her mother probably won't even care, and then writes a letter to her boyfriend, telling him that she's probably going to get murdered by a serial killer, so he can have her CD collection (at which point she says something about how her boyfriend was probably going to murder her for it anyway). The 9-year-old has no character development, either as a child or as an adult (parts of the narrative take place when she's all grown up). The 7-year-old acts like a toddler, clutching her stuffed giraffe and being carried around. (She's actually 7½. Why can't she walk?)

But the biggest thing that got my goat was the ridiculous plot point of the family's disappearance. I can't really say much more without major spoilers, but suffice it to say that there's a pretty big plot hole there. Either that, or the police in Scotland don't keep very good records.

I kind of want to know what happens, but I just can't take the stupid characters, continuity problems, and implausible plot points anymore. If someone makes a movie out of this one day, I'll watch it. But as a book... nope. I'm done.

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