The Stickman’s Legacy is a fantastical, horror novel that will keep you hooked.
This book feels like something my friends and I would come up with when ad lib-ing stories together. It’s fantastical, it has some horror elements, and is packed full of mystery! It jumps right into the action (which makes me, a fan of action packed stories, very happy!) and very rarely moves at a slow pace. Sure, the book is mighty long, but every page is worth it. I will say though – it’s not a binge worthy book. This book requires a lot of mental effort to read (lots of terminology and story plots you need to follow) so I’d suggest reading this over many nights. If you spend your time with it instead of rushing, you’ll find this book way more enjoyable.
Mary Martin/Spindle is the lead character of this story. We follow her journey on solving the mystery of her father – Jeremy Spindle – The Stickman of this story’s legacy. We find out lots of interesting story elements along the way – he left her his house in London, her childhood flashbacks involving Uncle Hob, a past car accident, and strangers leaving her cryptic messages along the way. Uncle Hob and Mary’s various family members all give us explanations to help push this story along and fill in any blanks we are missing as readers.
I found this book to be quite unique – it didn’t fully feel like a pure fantasy, pure horror or pure mystery novel. Benjamin Appleby-Dean does a great job of weaving this story together and slowly introducing us to all the major plot points. Mary (being a slightly unreliable narrator) was also very interesting. Each chapter gave up a little bit more about her back story to make the reader more engaged with the story. Throw in some secret societies that are reminiscent of Scientology (if you want the info, you better join…) and some magical elements, and you’ve got yourself one wacky ride! Add a dash of swords, falling bookshelves and a name like Nimbleknock and you’ve got yourself an epic, fantasy, adventure too!
The worst part of the novel was one specific plot point – Mary is asking questions from some special characters within the story… AND THEY DON’T GIVE HER DIRECT ANSWERS. For a plot point, this is awesome! It opens up the story a little more to keep pushing Mary forward. But for me, as an impatient reader… I would never survive in this story. My impatience would lead me to a little temper tantrum if I would have been her. I wanted to throw the papers across my desk in animated frustration because it would have driven me insane as a person.
Overall, I think this book is really cool! It’s a unique story that has many different perspectives that could draw in a wide variety of readers. To me, it felt like a New Adult novel instead of a teen (Mary was a teenager, but this book didn’t feel like strictly YA) but it would be loved regardless. As long as you’ve got a mature audience who can focus on the bigger picture of the novel, you’re set!
Four out of five stars.
I received this book for free from the author Benjamin Appleby-Dean in exchange for an honest review.
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**Photo courtesy of the author.