Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Pandora's Box, A Review
Pandora's Box is the story of Maria Vakros, a woman fighting her own demons in order to reclaim control of her life as she and her husband, a teacher by trade, start anew in the small town of Sickle Falls. Leaving behind the big city of Chicago, they buy a quaint old house in the nicer part of town with a beautiful view of the lake, but hiding in the shadows of the basement lies an ancient horror waiting to be unleashed. It has infected the whole town, even causing the previous owners untimely deaths.
The plot is well constructed, weaving five different stories without making it confusing nor heavy. At all times the narrative is fluid and interesting, the sense of doom and horror is well transmitted without the overuse of adjectives. The story starts slowly, building on the mystery and creating a menacing atmosphere, and though there are segments quite violent, it never gets too graphic or gory. I found particularly refreshing the rich vocabulary Parypinski uses, it has been a while since a book made me open a dictionary, and though I always thank an author who teaches me something, when the uncommon vocabulary forces you to interrupt the reading in order to look for a word, it gets in the way of enjoying the book. I mean, if you use obscure words that the reader can deduct from the general context, you're okay, but don't over do it or you risk looking like a snub. Now, Parypinski doesn't go to that extreme but once, so we won't hold it against her.
The characters are interesting and complex and each individual story builds to a final crescendo that has all kinds of unexpected turns. Parypinski's style is refreshing, almost poetic in her descriptions, giving the horrors depicted a tragic and twisted feeling. It is outstanding how much information the author manages to convey and still leave the reader craving for more, in particular when relating the story of the box, and yet the ending feels a bit abrupt; but knowing how difficult it is to find the perfect balance between giving closure to a character's story and simply going too far, I think Parypinski's decision to give the final word to one of the side characters is an interesting one that explains the insertion of the box's story and allows for a small moral very apropos.
I highly recommend Pandora's Box to every horror lover, even the squeamish ones as there's something for everyone in this mystery/horror. An outstanding story edited to perfection, Pandora's Box shows small presses can be every bit as professional as the Big Six.
For more information on the author, go to her website Pandora's Pen. If you want to add this book to your TBR pile, go here.