Monday, October 20, 2014

Ichabod, Ichabod Crane (Bing Crosby Singing Voice Not Included)

Published:  May 26th, 2014
Crane (The Legends Saga #1)
By: Stacey Rourke
Anchor Group Publishing
ISBN-13:  9781310506642

The Horseman is unending,
his presence shan't lessen.
If you break the curse, 
you become the legend.

Washington Irving and Rip Van Winkle had no choice but to cover up the deadly truth behind Ichabod Crane's disappearance.  Centuries later, a Crane returns to Sleepy Hollow awakening macabre secrets once believed to be buried deep.

What if the monster had spawned the legend living within you?

Now, Ireland Crane, reeling from a break-up and seeking a fresh start, must rely on the newly awakened Rip Van Winkle to discover the key to channeling the darkness swirling within her.  Bodies are piling high and Ireland is the only one that can save Sleepy Hollow by embracing her own damning curse.

But is anyone truly safe when the Horseman rides?


       This book has a few really obvious grammar and spelling mistakes in it, that pulled me out of the story at very annoying junctures.  It was by no means an absolutely perfect narrative (Ireland's reactions to the revelations surrounding certain murderous events could have been deeper/more horrified/saddened).  And yet, this is probably one of the most compelling stories that I've read all year, and probably one of the best written and plotted re-tellings I've ever read!  It's a dual narrative, set in different time periods, with narrators of different genders and dispositions.  Their circumstances are different and yet their reasoning and base character are infinitely connected.  They are however two distinctively separate characters.  They are: Ichabod Crane, a reserved schoolteacher with deep loyalty to his friends, burning & passionate love for a woman he can't have and a damaged past; and Ireland Crane: a thoroughly modern young woman, who has been hurt by love in the past, has a snarky & biting sense of humor, and a deep-seated need to start over and be someone else - someone completely normal and accepted.  Both of them are drawn into the same curse, centuries apart.  It's extremely compelling, the parallels between the two of them.  Also, the rhyming from the creepy, prescient old lady (Eleanora) to Ichabod about the Horseman is awesome.  Her riddles tell you everything you need to know.  Figuring them out is the problem for the bewildered young man and his friends.  All of them are Revolutionary War vets and comrades too, which adds another depth to the three men and their bond of brotherhood, and limitless loyalty.  They are family.  I love it!
       As a re-imagining of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, I was unsure what exactly to expect.  The synopsis intrigued me with it's mention of Rip Van Winkle and Washington Irving.  What connections would there be between the three men?  How would Rourke explain the curse of the Horseman to my curious reader's heart, never truly quenched by the original story, which is more of a light sketch.  I honestly can't say much without spoiling anything, except that I was enthralled!  It is a mirror image.  Ichabod and Katrina's romance, along with his quest to stop the Horseman and find out what's controlling him (and why), with Irv and Rip.  Than there's Ireland's quest to do the same thing, with only the help of Rip, who's been under a sleeping curse and is unfamiliar with everything in this new century.  Oh, and he has stress narcolepsy as a side effect!!!  This leads to some truly hilarious situations (including a policeman bringing him back to Ireland's house, after he passed out right in the middle of the main street - yikes)!  Ireland is also resisting her attraction to her hot neighbor, Noah Van Tassel, who always seems to be there when she needs him.  She's on the rebound from a breakup with the world's biggest douche bag (with a name like Brantley is it any wonder?).
       I thought there really wasn't any way to make this into a series, but I was proved wrong (thankfully, it means more books).  While Ireland and Rip DO find out a lot about her connection to the Horseman, they still don't know everything, such as who arranged for her to get a tattoo of the Hessian's symbol.  Who wants to control Ireland and by proxy, the Hessian?  And for what nefarious purposes?  With the big revelations at the end, Rip and Ireland skip town to try and find some answers to their questions.  At the end there is a scene set in Ichabod's time and we find out why Irv and Rip covered everything up - and just who forced them to and arranged Rip's sleeping curse!  We're teased with more literary figures (legends and authors alike) and we get a glimpse at the idea that there are some puppeteers behind the scenes, moving things to their advantage.  I cannot WAIT to find out what happens next!  I'm dying to read Raven and I highly recommend this to fans of supernatural things, Sleepy Hollow, and new twists on old legends.  I am definitely planning on checking out Stacey Rourke's other series and I'm in love with her sense of humor.  It has jump started me from my reading slump and is probably one of my favorite reads of the year.

VERDICT:  4.75/5 Stars

* received this book from Anchor Group Publishing, on NetGalley.  No favors or money were exchanged for this review.  The expected publication date is May 26th, 2014.*

Some Favorite Quotes

-  "Dinner, as friends. Where I don't expect you to pay or hold doors and you don't expect make-up or sex."
    "I'll be rude, and you'll be purposely homely. It'll be magical," Noah laughed.” (Ireland and Noah)

-  "Brom ground his teeth together, glaring down at Rip as if he were a bug that needed to be squashed under foot. "I would not ask a woman for her opinion any more than I would ask which of my steer would like to be this weekend's roast."
   "Clearly, his new age thinking is what drew Katrina to him," Rip muttered out of the corner of his mouth.”  (Brom Van Brunt & Rip Van Winkle)

-  "She is a sick woman," Mama Rosa argued, standing firm to deny him passage. "In addition to her Horseman ramblings, she also strokes her shoe like a cat, and calls it Madame Persephone. Do you think that will be of help as well?” (Mama Rosa, to Ichabod & Katrina)

-  “Just when I think you can’t get any creeper, you astounded me by reaching a whole new plateau. What did you do to yourself? You’re twitching like a meth head.” 
   “Went into the kitchen. Consumed any products that claimed to boost energy. Ate a bowl of those disgusting brown rinds.” 
   “Rinds? That’s coffee, dumb ass. You’re supposed to brew it.” Rip rambled on as if she hadn’t spoken, which—judging by his herky-jerky gestures—he might not have been aware she had. 
   “Then I drank your last three of those products involving some sort of red bovine, followed by half a dozen vials that claim to bestow energy for an allotted period of time. Every part of me tingles. Quite honestly, I think I could fly if the moment required it.” (Ireland & Rip)

-  "“You, sir,” Irv interrupted, his satchel thumping to the ground at his feet, “are just bothered you were not the first to find acceptable employ. Mostly because, as the women that keep company with you can attest, the only services you provide pay in salves and a burning sensation over the chamber pot.” 
    Rip’s brow rose in mock shock.  “How lewd a claim! Lewd … with the faintest hint of accuracy.” (Rip & Washington Irving)

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