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Thanks to Blue Rider Press for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.I think that we can all agree that this combination of title and cover will have a lot of people curious and wanting to pick up a copy Don t let this pretty pink unicorn cover fool you, this is not a happy feel good story A GUIDE FOR MURDERED CHILDREN by Sarah Sparrow covers some topics that are not for everyone this story depicts rape, abuse, and murder towards children.This book has a truly unique premise that I haven t seen before I can see this being a tad confusing for some readers in that there are a lot of characters to keep straight I think that part of the synopsis sums up what the book has in store very well We all say there is no justice in this world But what if there really was What if the souls of murdered children were able to return briefly to this world, inhabit adult bodies and wreak ultimate revenge on the monsters who had killed them, stolen their lives This is a story about revenge There is some police procedural mixed in and some elements of fantasy thrown in If the synopsis has any YA vibes, it definitely doesn t fall into that category This is a genre bending mixing that might not sit well with some readers and it s really hard to pinpoint exactly who this book would be for if that makes sense.My main issues stemmed from some of the errors within the galley copy I m sure these got fixed and corrected in the finished copy, so that shouldn t be a problem other readers experience It just affected my reading experience and threw off the flow of the book in places.Overall, I d say that if the synopsis intrigues you and you go into it knowing that there are some harder topics covered, then I would recommend it I appreciate the uniqueness of the plot and if you want a good revenge story, then this will be for you.I give this 3.5 5 stars rounded up for rating With a pretty pink front cover that looks like it should be on my bookshelf, and the comparison to my favorite author, Shirley Jackson, on the back, I went into this horror novel with exceptionally high hopes, only to be crushed by cumbersome dialogue and graphic child rapes Very graphic I can usually handle a violent book, but this one had me cringing in the worst way possible This book just wasn t for me. Somewhere, A Unicorn Is Crying Full disclosure I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley Trigger warning for violence, including the rape, torture, and murder of children For the children, when your time is done, it is VERY important to THANK YOUR LANDLORD they ve been such CARING roommates Remember, without THEM, you would never have been able to have your moment of balance For the landlords, when YOUR time is done, THANK your BODY For the wonderful times it provided NEVER FORGET that it gave you so much time than your child tenants had And THANK the FRIENDS and FAMILY that you LOVED and thank this beautiful BLUE EARTH from The End the Guidebook 2.5 stars Something strange and awesome is happening in the small town of Saggerty Falls, Michigan and in towns both large and small all over the world presumably The spirits of murdered children tenants are returning to this beautiful blue earth, temporarily inhabiting the bodies of recently deceased adults landlords in order to exact revenge the moment of balance on their killers They are guided through this adventure by a psychic mentor porter in this case, one Annie Ballendine, a former teacher who was institutionalized after she began to hear voices Annie was rescued and trained by Jasper, the porter before her and, as her cancer returns, Annie knows that the time is nearing for her pass the baton to her successor But how will she find this person, while also dealing with the haywire events that presage a Porter s passing Depending on how compassionately the narrative is crafted, rape revenge stories are some of my favorites quite possibly because rape carries so few consequences for the perpetrators here in the real world Fiction is often much satisfying Mindy McGinnis s The Female of the Species has become the gold standard for me Alex Craft is the ultimate antihero, and the book does an exemplary job deconstructing rape culture I envisioned the titular murdered children as miniature Dexter Morgans in training, crammed into the meatsuits of unsuspecting but ultimately game adult humans Like Alex, but with even personal vendettas Maybe even with a splash of Chucky from Child s Play in there somewhere In other words, horrible and magnificent Yes, my expectations for this one were through the proverbial roof.Which made the fall that much painful A Guide for Murdered Children isI hate to say it, but it s a hot mess Books that span genres can be exciting, compelling, and fun, but the blend of mystery, horror, and supernatural just didn t work for me Sparrow can t seem to decide what she wants this book to be There s a lot of needless hand wringing by the wronged children, no less about the futility of revenge, and doesn t murder in some cases, very clear cut cases of self defense make them as bad as their killers I suppose most rape revenge stories tackle ethical dilemmas such as these, but the many plot twists thrown in to facilitate the soul searching in A Guide for Murdered Children make everything so damn tiring By the time we get to Lydia s monologue to Willow, I was just like can we not More Punisher, less Daredevil, please I mean I think we can all agree, since we re talking about pedophiles and child killers here, right Since many of the characters are children posing as adults or enmeshed with them, might be a better description , the dialogue istricky Sparrow makes them seem a little too juvenile overly innocent, maybe, given what they d been through and the dialogue often feels clunky and overdone On the other end of the spectrum, many most of the characters occasionally think in 10 words that seem completely ill fitted to them I didn t really connect with any of the protagonists, and I outright despised Detective Willow Millard Wylde Like, are we supposed to root for this guy Willow is a walking clich the corrupt narcotics officer who steals from dealers the disgraced, hard drinking Big City Homicide Detective the shitty whoring husband and the even shittier absentee father who tries to buy his daughter off with a puppy Adopt, don t shop Dude is a straight up womanizer who basically fantasizes about maybe raping his new neighbor Willow flashed on pushing her against the living room wall and sticking his tongue down her throat He wondered if she d submit How long would it take for her to push him away Would it be a push Or a kick in the balls Make no mistake What he is describing is sexual assault But they hook up and fall in love, so I guess that makes it okay.And then there s the matter of his boss covering up multiple cases of police misconduct and brutality I ve never been a big fan of this trope, but even less so considering what s going on in the news Like, I get that surface appearances are hecka different from the meat of the matter, but Owen doesn t know that Yet he agrees to a whopper of a lie so that Daniel can go out a hero cop and to save the department s reputation This is gross, and it s gross precisely because it s the sort of thing that happens all the time IRL.The most generous thing I can say about A Guide for Murdered Children is that the idea was intriguing enough to keep me reading from beginning to end not once did I consider DNF ing Otherwise it s a pretty disappointing example of great idea poor execution I can only hope that the finished version will be a little polished I read an early copy eight months prior to publication www.easyvegan.info 2018 03 20 a guide The plot for this book is incredibly creative I love it when I come across a book that takes genre normal and blows it all to pieces With that said, there are some dark events in this book that some might not want to delve into murder, rape, etc of children Now given the title of the book, that s not a surprise, but just be aware before you read this story The basics The spirits of murdered children get to return to the Earth for a limited time to exact revenge on their killers The spirits inhabit the bodies of certain adults while on Earth These landlords are dead people who are reanimated for the sole purpose of assisting the murdered children The murdered kids attend secret meetings disguised as AA meetings at churches to discuss their journeys In the course of an investigation, former NYPD detective Willow Wylde discovers these meetings When he realizes those attending are actually slain children, Willow learns a whole new understanding of life and death.This story is incredibly creative, inventive and mind blowing But in places, the execution was a bit rambling and confusing There are just too many side characters and subplots going on all at once It muddied the waters a bit too much, making the plot a bit confusing at times That being said, the story itself was so interesting and bizarre that it kept my attention the entire book, no matter how rambling things got I love the character of Willow He s middle aged, feels tired and washed up Alcoholism has robbed him of a lot, but he s trying to pull it together to do something with the rest of his life Very realistic character All in all, an interesting book I enjoyed reading it, and I loved the creative plot But it could have been a bit focused The completely cool concept kept me reading I enjoyed this book despite the plot chasing rabbits a bit The front cover is totally perfect I voluntarily read an advance readers copy of this book from Penguin via NetGalley All opinions expressed are entirely my own. I fully admit to being sucked in by the title and then I stayed for the plot.In a nutshell Murdered children are reincarnated into the bodies of recently deceased adults Their mission To achieve a moment of balance aka revenge on their killers for their untimely demise.A Guide for Murdered Children was a solid 3.5 stars for me The premise is super unique and interesting and it definitely kept my interest the entire way through However, they are so many characters, as you have both the children tenants, their adult landlords, the killers, and a handful of others I needed to make a character map to keep everyone straight The plot also moves pretty slow at times no fault of the author, I think the story requires a lot of exposition and background but you re going to be tempted to skim and I d recommend not doing that because you ll need the information later.Obviously, there are darker topics at play Murder of children Rape Abuse But if you appreciate a good revenge story, there s that going for you.Is it worth a read Yes Will it be a slow process Most likely Will the Comic Sans on the cover constantly bug you The whole time Thank you Edelweiss and Blue Rider Press for letting me read. A Guide for Murdered Children is a supernatural realism thriller centered around the belief that one day, a murdered child gets to find their moment of balance when they are resurrected into the body of an unsuspecting landlord who themselves have recently died.First and foremost I have to say that I have never read a book like this before in my life The concept was inventive and for the most part was executed very well There was a perverse sense of justice to the moment of balance and the book stirred up issues of questionable morals, and I am a firm advocate of books that make you think no matter how weird the thought.That being said, the book started on very rocky ground The mystery that was trying to be maintained about the world of the story went so far that I was utterly confused and nearly stopped reading a number of times Personally I don t like not finishing a book so pushed through, but a lot of people won t wait to get a fifth of the way through which is where things started to get a lot clearer before putting it down Ex big city narcotics turned cold case cop, Willow Dubya Wydle is drawn back to the sleepy Detroit town where he used to live His team reopens the case of missing brother and sister Troy and Maya Rummer that shook the town twenty years ago Whilst solving that mystery Willow is also trying to solve one that has him drawn to a woman called Annie who introduces herself to him as The Porter Willow is that tough corrupt cop that you re meant to love despite his past, but in reality you don t care too much about his journey and mostly wait impatiently for him to know things the audience already does At first it was confusing differentiating between tenant child and landlord adult as both hosted the same body and could come and go without any warning trigger but it was smart once you got your head around the switcheroo s It wasn t until two thirds three quarters of the way in that anything really interesting happened, which was too far in But once the clues started dropping and unexpected twists literally made me gasp, I couldn t wait to read to the end.The term Haywire was used as scapegoat for a lot of inconsistencies which I can t elaborate on without spoilers and for me the book just left to many major questions unanswered that was blanketed by the continued message of the Porters to Not ask the big questions and to just Trust and accept Others may be okay with it but for me some sense of explanation even a hypothetical one to Who is in charge of this whole Porter, Train, Children s Justice malarkey would have been nice.Instinctually I would not recommend this book On the other hand now that I ve read it I want others to read it too so it can be discussed and also appreciated for how unique it is Okay that s all folks, but bear in mind that as this is an advanced readers copy, so by the time this book comes out March 2018 some of my dislikes about it may have been ironed out. Actual rating 1.5DNF 75%First, I d like to thank Dutton Penguin Random House for this ARC.Second, I must point out that, yes, I didn t necessarily finish the book, but I read enough to offer me what feels like a semblance of appropriateness in giving this review.Okay Let s get the pros out of the way Sarah Sparrow has a wonderfully creative mind Her writing is unique and wholly imaginative At a glance, the plot is intriguing I was very eager to read this book, because the originality of the synopsis alone is enough.But and here come the cons , the execution is just not there In the first few chapters alone, my brain was already swimming It came off as if Ms Sparrow took two handfuls of various genres, and tossed them in between the pages, but never once trying to nail it down to anything specific In that regard, the book felt like an over complicated and muddled mess.Really, there s just too damn much happening on each page I consider myself to have a pretty good grasp on absurd plots that go every which way, but there was a manic and frenetic energy to the story that threw me for a loop I was admittedly confused for a majority of this novel, as it jumped around between POV s and perspectives It s hard to keep track of all that is going on And it is a fairly dense book, too Character wise, I didn t much care for Willow, either, and that put a damper on the reading experience.I really wanted to enjoy this.I m mentally exhausted now that s it s done. For my full review click here I first saw this cover I absolutely had to get my hands on a copy Well I read the synopsis and was even intrigued by the book Not just the cover but the title and synopsis had me completely intrigued I could help but drool once I got my hands on it And naturally I couldn t wait to dive in but I needed to wait until closer to the pub date, which was SOOOO HARD But I was finally able to pick it up and I dove right in head first and wasn t even close to looking back I have to say at first I was a bit confused, but once I reread the synopsis things starting making sense, also I was riding the struggle bus coming off of a thriller high But I absolutely loved the characters and how the story built up I couldn t stop reading because I had to know how everything would work within the given manual.The story was so well plotted and executed and it was a huge plus for me, especially when I had so many questions about what all was going to happen Much like the children in the story I had to wait for my moment of balance And once it came, majority made sense I am just hoping that there will be a sequel so I can learn even about that world Thank you so much to Blue Rider Press and Penguin Randomhouse for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion. You can also read my reviews on WP anisabookreviews.wordpress.com 2017 0A solid 3.5 stars rounded to 4 Why Rounded up for an intriguing and incredibly creative plot 1.5 Stars taken off for the structure writing style of the narrative Imagine the world where the spirits of slain Children can return to exact revenge and to give closure to their cherished ones and finally restore the balance Justice in a world without any Recovering alcoholic and ex NYPD detective, Willow Wylde, aka Dubya is fresh out of rehab and about to take on the world without intoxicants As a divorcee, Willow has one last attempt to be a father to his daughter and a grandfather to little Larkin But Detective Willow is still unchanged, a collision of self and destructiveness as he tries to navigate his sobriety Strange deaths are occurring in Saggerty Falls, and Detective Willow uses his experience attempting to piece together the crimes What he learns is deadly, but what he becomes is reinvented.The premise of the novel is that murdered children can inhabit a moribund adult body and exact revenge on the person that wronged them There is a Guide Book and a structure of this society The Porter Annie, the guide , sentries assistants to the Porter , roommates child spirit , and landlords the moribund adult body And there is the train that arrives at the station with their Subalterns train sentries The children take on the ride to their final mission But something is amiss.The novel is recounted in the third person and begins with a writing style is difficult to appreciate and appears to read as a stream of consciousness I grappled with the presentation of the first few chapters, trying to grasp onto words that seemed to be placed together with a forced atmosphere of chaos Even though the pace is slow, the narrative jogs all over the place There are alternating stories, multiple points of view, and timelines Finally, there is an abundance of characters within characters and their full set of details which created confusion I was forced to read and re read And sometimes I moved on and it made sense later The chapter headings and sub headings were helpful but not always But where the narrative fails in structure, it makes up in character development and imagination I enjoyed Detective Willow, a character you can both love and despise at the same time A loathsome man is attempting to reassert his place in his neglected family His love is palpable as he rediscovers relationships As a retired old cop, he takes a chance at getting his old job back but knows he is washed up Middle age makes him feel invisible But he has a gift of voices he has been suppressing Other noteworthy characters in the novel are a murderous duo Laverne and Grundy s creepy rituals may keep me up at night Although the descriptions of their killing are not gruesome, it is hair raising and sinister Finally, The structure of the spirit world was impressive world building There was a feeling of strangeness, and it was believable The transparent hue of the Blue Earth, the train arriving at the station in dreams, the whispers of instruction, the Tom Collins and a cookie on a tray, the integration of body and spirit The spooky and surreal ambiance was on point.Overall, there is a mystery, mysticism, and some gruesome brutality A great concept to juxtapose the paranormal science fiction genre with horror It fell short in the structure, but the story still unfolds, and those bits are brilliant Not for the faint heart and for those who prefer a streamlined read.Thank you, NetGalley, PENGUIN GROUP Blue Rider Press Plume for the ARC in exchange for my honest review. `Free ☠ A Guide for Murdered Children ⇞ We all say there is no justice in this world But what if there really was What if the souls of murdered children were able to return briefly to this world, inhabit adult bodies and wreak ultimate revenge on the monsters who had killed them, stolen their lives Such is the unfathomable mystery confronting ex NYPD detective Willow Wylde, fresh out of rehab and finally able to find a job running a Cold Case squad in suburban Detroit When the two rookie cops assigned to him take an obsessive interest in a decades old disappearance of a brother and sister, Willow begins to suspect something out of the ordinary is afoot And when he uncovers a series of church basement AA type meetings made up of the slain innocents, a new way of looking at life, death, murder and missed opportunities is revealed to him.Mystical, harrowing and ultimately tremendously moving, A Guide for Murdered Children is a genre busting, mind bending twist on the fine line between the ordinary and the extraordinary.