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I've had this book on my radar for a while now and finally decided to take the leap when I saw it as part of a June group read. Part love story, part commentary on the evils of slavery and war, and part horror story with the revelation of an ancient evil that underlies the book, "Those Across The River" was an uneven read that ultimately fell flat for me. The writing itself was excellent, and I really liked the first half of the book. However, once I figured out the twist about halfway through, the build-up to what could have been a dramatic conclusion felt rushed and unsatisfying. Not a bad book but there are definitely better examples of this particular storyline.
It took first half of the book to set itself up. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t read evenly, trying to be both ordinary-seeming and at the same time foreboding. It did each well but not well together. The middle quarter of the book flew once the plot-catch released, and it made up for lost time in both pace, plot, and reader engagement. It draws you in not just with plot but with the characters, and to be honest, that made me simultaneously kind of appreciate the overlong setup *and* be kind of be more irked by it. In part that’s because some of the telegraphing was too obvious and reduced the effectiveness of some good reveals. The last quarter of the book was a mixed bag, very mixed. There was some deftly done stuff, and there was some clumsy, unrefined cringe. And the very close, I feel strongly, did what came before it a disservice. All that said, the rating stands at 3/5. It’s not a bad read. It’s average.
Overall I enjoyed this book. I don't think I'll re-read it, and I think the characters, and plot was simply just OK. A few unusual approaches to the werewolf genre, like werewolves the can speak clear and perfect English, I found to be a bit odd. There were definitely two or three stand out moments from this book that made it really special. A relatively quick read.
I really liked this book. Not loved. LIKED. The "baddie" reveal was disappointing for me because I felt it was a plot line that has been done to death. Good writing. Suspenseful. But I wouldn't read it again.
There was something powerful here, something beyond the reach of lightbulbs and combustion engines.
"Those Across the River" is a moody, horror-thriller, dripping with intensity and menace. I enjoy Buehlman's writing style which is more literary than most pop-fiction currently on the market, and highlights the fact that writing can be smart as well as fun.
I enjoyed this story of a couple who finds themselves in the deep South, exploring a family history that's better left unexplored. The main characters are well drawn and fully three-dimensional, but most of the others are so weak that I completely lost track of who was who. They simply became an amalgam of indistinguishable southern accents.
I think this book could easily have doubled in size to build upon the tremendously creepy foreboding built up from the earliest pages. The conclusion was mostly satisfying, but had greater epic potential. I don't want to delve too much further into the details of the story for fear of spoiling much of the punch.
Christopher Buehlman is a terrific writer. This is the second book of his I've read and he's definitely on my short-list list of new-ish go-to authors.
I was looking for a good werewolf story and this really turned out to be something else. I mean...we know it's a werewolf story, that's on the book description, so why go with the "mystery" angle for half the book? And then when the werewolves finally show up they're pretty lackluster. And the author seems to have a tendency to try and elevate his writing my mimicking the style of greater literary writers.
It's not terrible, but I get the sense the writer thinks he's elevating the genre here, and while I'm all for that (a lot of genre writing can be pretty bad), it doesn't work here. This book quality fits in well with any of the Howling sequels. If you like your werewolf stories with shallow historical analysis of what the south was like during the times of segregation, with failed attempts to elevate the writing by connecting to social issues like slavery, and boring characters then this is for you.
Somehow I came to read "Those Across the River" without knowing the genre. I was mesmerized from the beginning by the quality of the writing. Buehlman laid a solid foundation, weaving the wonderful period language into a realistic and compelling rural Southern background. The passion of the love story drew me in and the characters in the little Georgia town revealed equal amounts wholesomeness and quirk. And yet...overall I was terribly disappointed. Buehlman writes beautifully, with lines that occasionally lead me to go back and read them again. Perhaps it's because I wasn't expecting horror, but it seems to me the exceptional writing is cheapened midway through the book by the story line. I hoped for original. What I got was not exactly hackneyed, but so terribly predictable. After I realized the nature of those across the river, I put the book down for several hours in disgust. The fact I finished the book is a testament to the quality of the writing and the strength of the main character. A climactic scene reminiscent of fairly early Anne Rice proved, for me, a particularly unsatisfying resolution.