The first half or so of this book is very leisurely paced so make sure you set yourself down in a quiet place with no distractions so you will be able to immerse yourself into its world and leave reality behind. I live in a small house with people, too loud TV’s, paper thin walls (good for spying but not so good when you want quiet!) and super needy animals and I found it best to hide myself outside where the dog always eventually found me, haha.
All Hallows is very dialogue heavy. If I had to guess, I’d say the book was 80 – 90% dialogue. I don’t know if I’ve ever read a book written in this manner and it took a little getting used to – thus the hiding outside to get away from distractions so I could 100% focus on the story. I found it best to read big chunks at a time rather than pick it up and put it down a million times like I typically do with most of the things I read.
Maren is a crusty old witch who doesn’t put up with anyone’s nonsense. She has this practical cruelty and fairness about her that I just adored. I could never anticipate exactly what she was up to and I loved that. She’s been on the planet a very long time and she knows how to take care of herself. She has a bag of tricks including her treasured night worms – a creation she’s spent her entire life perfecting and she will need them this All Hallows eve as terrible creatures crawl out of the woodwork to accost her and put her skills to the test. To say too much will ruin the experience for you. Just know this book is gruesome and everything in it is completely unexpected. It is unlike most anything I’ve read in the horror genre and there’s one scene with a young mom and her screaming baby that is complete madness. I had NO clue what was going on but I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out what the hell was happening.
I have to admit that All Hallows was a bit tricky for me to follow at times because Maren sometimes goes off on thought tangents and doesn’t always finish a conversation but I liked that off-kilter feeling once I got used to the style. Maren’s thoughts and conversation are also peppered with dark sarcasm which I found highly amusing. She thinks and says things that would have most people cringing and she made me laugh so much with her honest observations.
The ending leaves room for another adventure featuring Maren and her otherworldly friends and frenemies but it also ties up this adventure well without leaving me hanging and I appreciated that! This would be a great choice to read on a cold autumn night with a fire crackling for ambiance. It has that type of old-timey charm with some added gore and sarcasm to make things lively.