Even the worst streak of bad luck has to end eventually, right?
Jebediah hasn’t had an easy childhood by any stretch of the imagination. His response to all of the traumatic things that have happened to him made me empathize with him early on, but what happens next made me take a long, hard look at the times in my life when I’ve acted just like him. One of the reasons why I’m such a huge fan of science fiction and horror is that both genres are quite good at bringing attention to topics that aren’t always easy to discuss. I wasn’t expecting to experience as much introspection as I did while I read this novella, but doing so made me wish for a sequel.
It would have been nice to see more character development occur during the course of the plot. A lot of time was spent describing the appearances and demeanours of all of the individuals Jebediah meets, but only a limited amount of space was set aside to show how they changed as a result of what happens at Beechwood. Had this not been the case, this story would have easily earned a much higher rating.
The horror genre is strongly represented in this tale. What made the scary scenes even more interesting, though, was how much time Mr. James spends foreshadowing them. This was a great choice for this particular story as it gave me the opportunity to acclimate to the culture these characters were living in before the plot thickened.
I’d recommend Blood Red Roses to anyone looking for something dark yet intelligent. It kept me on my toes from beginning to end!
Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short Reviews. It has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.