The Grove by Elizabeth Guizzetti

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This book caught my attention right away with its premise. The gods of the old world have been asleep for many years and are prevented from awakening by various sorcerers, assigned to guard their resting places. But of course, someone comes in to cause havoc.

Sitka’s Quay appears to be like every other coastal tourist town on Highway 101, but lurking below its southern grove of ancient spruce are three sleeping primordial gods. For an eon, their bloodthirsty dreams have radiated into the ground and restore anyone who walks within the Grove. The Keeper, Dayla Fischer, must remain in control of her magical abilities or fall into sickening madness, but lives a relatively quiet life with her husband, Oliver.

That is, until the delusional, but charming Jonah Leifson comes to town with a plan to awaken the Three. With powerful suggestion spells and mind reading abilities, Jonah wins over almost everyone in town. Though no one believes her and she doubts her own sanity, Dayla must stop Jonah, before he wakes the Three and brings about the end of the world. (edited from Goodreads)

The book starts off very slow because of such long sentences. There are a lot of minor details given about the characters and the scenery, etc. that aren’t really important to the plot and end up just bogging the story down. I enjoyed the basic plot but it was hard to get into when I was given such trivial information to wade through.

In regards to the plot though, I really liked the author’s imagining of magic in her world. Here, magic is quite difficult and incredibly draining. By making the magic itself darker than it’s usually thought of is where this author stands out in her genre, and it certainly helps sets this book up as a horror novel.

She also avoids creating an easy-out with her good vs bad set-up. Now I’m not giving away the ending here, don’t worry! It’s just that throughout when we see good struggling against bad, it feels like a real fight. Neither side is given any unrealistic advantages like we often see in movies. It is just the characters with their relative strengths battling it out (and it’s a really good fight!).

Now, I’ve added it to the horror category but my main reason for that is because that’s what it’s billed as. Personally, I didn’t really feel it ever reached horror levels, though there were definitely high stakes for all the characters involved. After I finished reading it I understood what the author was trying to achieve, attempting to leave readers unnerved long after they’d put down the book, but it felt too lackluster both within the book and especially with the ending to actually achieve that effect.

Overall, I was kind of “eh” about the ending just because I think it could’ve been more hard-hitting and that is true of most of the book too. It was a strong plot with great characters but it never really felt like it hit the mark. Still, it’s a good read for some magic and suspense, and I’m sure the author will only get better from here!

Author links: Website | Twitter

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review



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