THE GIRL IN THE CORN | JASON OFFUT
Here we are again to talk about another book. This time its Girl in the Corn by Jason Offutt.
Beware of what lurks in the corn.
Fairies don't exist. At least that's what Thomas Cavanaugh's parents say. But the events of that one night, when he follows a fairy into the cornfield on his parents' farm, prove them wrong. What seems like a destructive explosion was, Thomas knows, an encounter with Dauðr, a force that threatens to destroy the fairy's world and his sanity.
Years later, after a troubled childhood and a series of dead-end jobs, he is still haunted by what he saw that night. One day he crosses paths with a beautiful young woman and a troubled young man, soon realizing that he first met them as a kid while under psychiatric care after his encounters in the cornfield. Has fate brought them together? Are they meant to join forces to save the fairy's world and their own? Or is one of them not who they claim to be?
Whilst out with his mother, Thomas sees a diminutive woman in the corn field. When he tells his mother and father he has seen a faerie in the corn field, they think it is a product of a child's overactive imagination.
When he is a little older, he is visited again in the middle of the night, the fairy attempts to get him to eat a snack, and sensibly Thomas gives it a miss coz we all know what happens when you eat faerie food.
When he is ten, he is visited again. This time the faerie tells him that his world is about to end as a force that has destroyed the faerie's world has found its way to Thomas's world and he is the only one that can stop it. A titanic battle between good and evil ensues and the results of which change events in ways that Thomas could not imagine.
At the age of fourteen, the impact of the titanic battle has left Thomas scarred in many ways and he still has nightmares about that night. Suffering from PTSD he is admitted to an adolescent mental health unit where he meets Jillian, a troubled teen who has experienced trauma, and Bobby, a disturbed individual, who after killing another teen is the antithesis of Thomas.
Now you may be forgiven with the mention of faeries that this walks the line of fantasy. However, long before fearies were written of with a certain amount of whimsy, the old tales were bordered on horror, and this book taps into that.
There is a lot going on in this book and there are a number of elements at play. For one there is Bobby's storyline which is very dark and filled with bloody murder. However, there is dark fantasy in relation to the faerie's which draws upon elements of Norse mythology and in addition to this there is Apocolyptic cosmic type horror thrown in to boot.
So, with this mash up of different styles you would think that the story would pull in different directions and become a bit of a mess. However, James Offut manges to write an engaging book that kept me wanting to read more.
Yes, Offlut uses familiar tropes, but adding that element of dark fantasy really pulled me in, and besides it's the familiar tropes that pull readers in right? Sometimes they can be done well, sometimes it's a case of nothing new here officer! But, I must say that The Girl in the corn manages to fall into the former camp, primarily due to Offlut's writing.
The characters are engaging, although I thought that at times Bobby was a little weaker than the other characters and at times could be a little stereotypical, as. Oils some of the side characters, but on the whole they were good and fit well into their respective roles in the story.
I listened to the audiobook of this book published by Camcat books and narrated by Josh Bloomberg who does a fantastic job of bringing this book to life. Initially (as always when listening to new narrator) I was a little unsure. However, I soon got comfortable and enjoyed the story.