Clowders

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 09 May 2018

Member Reviews

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This book has content warnings for cat death, human death, gore, car accidents, physical violence, and toxic relationships.

This book was a mixed bag for me because while I thought the premise was fascinating and thought that the horror aspects of the book were really good and creepy, I felt frustrated with much of the rest of the book. To start with, I could not stand Aidan. After the move to Clervaux he almost immediately started cheating on Jess, whom he dragged to a different continent with him. (I also had a LOT of issues with the woman that Aidan was "seduced" by being a Latina-coded, stereotypical homewrecker. She was the only person in the book that was coded as a person of color, and that felt very icky to me because OF COURSE the cheating isn't the white man's fault...) His tone was also irritating and he was overall pretty boring. Jess was a little better, but not by much; it was clear that she cared about her child and her relationship, but her behaviors bothered me a lot and she was also difficult to read.

I also had issues with literally every other character in this book that was not either a child or a feline... Eleonore was fine and didn't bother me because she acted like a small child could be expected to. Everybody else got on my nerves at all times. What frustrated me the most, I think, was how literally no one bothered to even try to explain to the newcomers (Aidan and Jess) why the town had rules against killing cats. This was written off as "too difficult to do" by one of the characters, but it just seemed silly because it's written in the book description and telling someone a legend should not be that difficult. This really weird aversion to actually explaining what was going on to these characters was an okay mystery at first, but it got really tired really quickly and made the pacing feel very off. 

I did enjoy the legend itself and the cats and the horror aspects of the book, but these didn't really shine through because so much effort was put into masking these elements and making the book feel more like a mystery than a horror story. I think I would have liked this book a whole lot better if all humans were removed from the book and it was just the cats. With this town's luck and history, it seems like this could be something that happens eventually anyway.

Final rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
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I was expecting a thrilling tale going into Clowders but unfortunately I closed the book in the end fairly disappointed. The plain truth is: I was a lot more bored than thrilled while reading it and I kept waiting for a turning point that would have changed my opinion but the real rush of fear never came and I was eventually left with an empty feeling regarding the book.

Clowders tells the story of a family who moves to a small town in Luxemburg that is famous for its high cat population. Aidan and Jess, who take their 5 year old daughter Eleonore with them too, soon realize that people in the town act strangely, especially when a cat's life is in danger. They learn about a legend that keeps the townspeople in fear and that makes sure they treat the cats of the town well. When a cat dies in an accident and a mysterious feral creature starts stalking Jess and Eleonore, the legend turns out to be real. The only question is whether the family can escape from the crazy cat town in time to avoid the gruesome fate they can expect after being involved in the incident.

More than half of the novel is about Aidan and Jess trying to patch up their broken relationship. I confess I didn't like these characters at all. Aidan is the one who wanted to move to Europe, he basically dragged Jess and his little girl with him because he wanted some adventure in his life again. Almost as soon as they arrive to Clervaux he starts an affair with with a horrible woman who likes playing around with (sometimes married) men just for fun. Aidan doesn't give a fig that Jess hates their new home, that she's slowly becoming depressed because she has nothing to do all day.

I didn't like Jess mostly because she was very slow to understand what was going on around her (just like Aidan, actually) and because she complained too much about things rather than doing something to solve them. She didn't like driving Eleonore to and from school for expample, but at the same time she was always going on about how she didn't have anything to do all day. Partly I understand why the situation was tough for her but many times she annoyed me with her utter helplessness. Even when Eleanore was around, she just put the kid in front of the telly rather than playing with her. They hardly ever did anything together, mother and daughter, which was kinda strange to me.

The half-human half-cat creature wasn't scary enough for me because for the longest time it didn't do anything at all other than stalk people by standing in their bedrooms at night. It didn't attack anyone unless a cat had been killed and even then, she made a quick job of getting rid of the guilty party. What made the whole thing creepy (and why I gave it two stars/pineapples in the end instead of one) was the town's reaction; they worked together with this monster/catgirl, they actually helped the creature eliminate the cat killers. Clervaux was a little bit like the village in the movie Hot Fuzz (only that movie is waaay better than this book).

No one tried to stop the creature. Like... what?? I'm not kidding. People tried to escape but they didn't try to fight. They accepted without question that it cannot be defeated and the only thing they tried was to outrun it. 

I didn't feel like I was entertained, I asked the question why??? a million times while reading the book and in the end I didn't understand why this story had to be told. It's a shame, the premise was excellent. It could have been so much more than what it became.
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The rating is kinda closer to 2,5 stars, but let's just round it up.

This book was definitely inspired (if not outright ripping off) by Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, and that gave me some strong feelings of deja vu. A village in Europe (Hex was originally published in Dutch and set in the Netherlands), that has been cursed with a creature of some sort, that can come and go as they please as they check on the villagers one by one during the day, and something bad will happen if you provoke them, and the villagers all know about it but still stay there and just put their heads down and obey the rules? And they also have a festival all about the curse just to make it seem fake? (spoiler) And the ending is pretty unhappy, although that would be an understatement for Hex? (end spoiler) Yeah.

The truth is, it's not the similarities with Hex that put me off, but the writing style. The sentences are clunky and almost childish. "Aidan was thinking about his wife. His wife had beautiful auburn hair and was sitting next to him. Jess had always been with him and they had always been happy. They arrived at Clervaux, the city seemed beautiful. Their landlord met them on the street, "Hey, are you the new residents?", he said" It seemed so amateur-ish. Not that huge, purple-language paragraphs are better, but it was hard to get into the atmosphere of the book.

The reason why the book still gets 2,5/ 3 stars is the creepy scenes. Anything that was directly related to the Tengu's appearances was very well paced and presented to us, and also very effective, at least for me. I enjoyed those scenes.

....One more thing: I really dislike the use of the word "tengu" for the cat creature. "Tengu" is a specific word for a specific creature in Japanese folklore, and it even translates to "heavenly DOG". It kind of felt like Vanessa Morgan just thought the word was cool and decided to use it, but... it doesn't work like that?

All in all, it wasn't bad, but I expected more.
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This book was a bit slow paced for my taste. 
It has some excellent points in regards to family dynamics and the sacrifices people have to make to make their partner happy, just to be taken for granted and feel bitter and resentful. 
The background of the plot is mystery and the paranormal, focusing on a demon like creature that avenges the death of a cat by killing 9 people, and stalking the inhabitants of a small town as a reminder of the consequences of hurting any of the cats.
The family drama dominates the main plot, but the end is worthy to consider as horror.
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I usually read all books about cats and was interested to see what this book was about. What a fun creepy book ! This is the story of a very spooky European village called Clervaux  where cats are allowed to run free. The cats are treated well by the residents and even feared as the book progresses. The legend is that when a cat is killed 9 humans die.  The residents all adore the cats and keep them safe.  The town is legendary for its tourist visitors to see the cats .  But the tourists do not realize the truth behind the village secrets. 
 Aidan, a vet , moves to Clervaux with his wife, and  daughter. The place seems idyllic at first. But when Jess accidentally kills a cat in a car accident, things  start going wrong. One by one, people either disappear or get killed.  They hear strange noises at night in their house and they seem stalked by the cat population. What a creepy novel ! 
Clowders is a thriller novel with a  very different concept. The author has created a very beautiful  location and the story was  scary to me.  Do not read this at night ! 
Thank you for the ARC which does not influence my review.
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Super creepy and quirky - which is exactly what I was expecting from the cover and synopsis. This story did not disappoint! I do wish there was a bit more suspense (hence the missing star rating) but overall this was definitely worth my time. I recommend to all fans who love a good shiver-causing read.
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I found "Clowders" very dull, exceptionally slow, and uninvolving A vet, his wife and daughter move to a small town in Luxembourg  unaware that there is an ancient curse. In a town overflowing with cats, if a cat dies unnaturally, something nasty will happen. For a vet in a new job this causes all sorts of problems when he quickly realises even the oldest of cats have to die naturally. The problem is it took an age for anything to happen and I failed to finish this book. It has little horror, no suspense and was very repetitive and too long.. Not one I would recommend.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the chance to read this book!

First of all, I'm going to say that my review will probably veer into spoiler territory, although not too much more than what the blurb implies. Basically this is the story of Aiden and Jess, and their daughter Eleonore, who move from America to Luxemburg. Aiden is a restless spirit, drawn to travel and adventure, but his wife Jess is not. She seeks stability for her daughter, and couldn't bear letting Aiden go, and so the mitchmatched family all try to do their best with the situation. Things start to spiral out of control; Aiden repeats constantly that he'd never cheat on Jess, then makes out with a client while on a night out with both her and Jess. Then on the night home a tired Jess is persuaded to drive and runs over a cat, and the group fall under a curse.

Basically most of this is hinted at in the blurb, and despite the fact that the Tengu visits them multiple times to suss them out, there is zero suspense to this story. We get told over and over that people who hurt/kill cats in this town get killed by the Tengu. Guess what happens? They all get killed by the Tengu. Oh except sometimes we don't even get to see them die, sometimes they just die off screen. And the magic Tengu number is nine, but I missed some of the deaths, I counted 7? 

I should add that the reviews attached to this are a bit misleading; I believe you should never compare authors and Vanessa Morgan in the published reviews gets compared as a female Stephen King. Not a good comparision; there is no tension and the writing could probably use another going over here. 

It's not to say I didn't enjoy SOME parts of it, like a town dedicated to cats, and the relationship between Jess and Eleonore. I guess I just wanted more. Three stars.
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This book is very creepy!  Don't kill a cat in Clervaux! 

I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher for an honest review.
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Princess Fuzzypants here:  Normally, I am ecstatic about a book where cats play an integral role and clearly with the title of Clowders, we are the main focus.  I am not a huge horror fan to begin but when my species is the source of evil, I am not a purring camper.  Let me tell, this is downright creepy and scary.  
Jess, Aidan, Eleanore and kitty, Avalon, leave everything behind so Aidan can live his dream of working in Europe.  He is a vet and starts working at a cat clinic in their new town in Luxembourg.  Be careful what you wish for as dreams can turn to nightmares.  There is a creature who roams the town protecting all cats from any harm.  It sounds like my kind of creature except its definition of harm is anything that leads to death, even if that death would have been merciful.  Out of terror, the inhabitants refuse to euthanize even when the cat is in distress.
Everyone who lives in the town knows this and avoids it like the plague.  Unfortunately, our intrepid family discover the truth far too late and the revenge exacted on those who were there when a cat died is horrible and gruesome.
Aidan is a selfish and cowardly character but no one deserves the fate they are meted.  Having said all that, if you like horror and do not mind casting felines as villains, it is a scary tale indeed.  It is not one I will pick up and read again.  That does not mean it lacks merit.
I give it three and a half purrs and one half a shivering paw up.
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I thoroughly enjoyed the plot, atmosphere, and characters.  I would recommend the book to friends and family for their reading pleasure.
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The premise was interesting and I’m pretty sure that the story was written by a cat because the characters did not strike me as normal humans. I love a good cursed town story where everyone is a little off. I wanted to love it but it didn’t come together for me.
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This had a brilliant idea which petered out quickly. The writing was clunky and repetitive, with little suspense.

I wish this had been more like Hex as I'd seen some reviewers compare them but for me this fell flat.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book although I had unfortunatly been sent the wrong draft of the book.  It felt like a cross between the howling and the wicker man with the outsider in peril not really understanding the customs vibe.I found little to like about most of the characters although I felt a great deal of empathy towards jess.  It starts off as a kind of fish out of water story but then becomes one of supernatural horror.  I disliked Auden the husband who is a have your cake and eat it too kind of a douche.  The pacing was a little slow to begin with but then once it hit it's stride it had a genuinely creepy atmospheric tale.  It was by no means a perfect book and I wouldn't place it in the same category as Stephen king but I would be very interested in reading more by this author.
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Clowders aka The Cats is an interesting horror novel that is an interesting read but at times the characters let it down somewhat.  Starting off with a superstition that piques the interest of the reader about a small town in Europe that celebrates cats and the consequences of those, that do not honour their fur babies.

Mason has done an excellent job setting up the rules and folk tale of this community.  She has a fully realised feel for the environment and the town itself.  Even her supporting characters come across as organic to the small town for which they live.  Mason excels in this aspect.

Unfortunately, her main characters at times don’t always come across as very unlikeable and this created a little bit of a problem for me.  Interestingly enough, Jess at the beginning of the story I found irritating and her personality was one of constant disappointment with lack of drive.  Aiden’s character was a bit more likeable but interestingly enough, these roles midway through the story switch and Aiden becomes a deplorable character.  This set up a personal problem with me because without revealing spoilers, the conclusion didn’t hit me the same way if the characters were more likable.

My hats are off to Mason for her ending.  She didn’t settle and she hit the right plot points to really give a fantastic ending.  I admire an author that doesn’t settle but in fact, hits the subject hard in which she does do convincingly.

Overall, Chowder is a good read with interesting plot, well developed background with secondary characters that drive this to an enjoyable horror thriller.  The main characters are well intentioned and at times, on a personal level, a bit irritating but the plot more than makes up for this.  If you are looking for a good horror with a folklore backing, then this is for you.  I recommend this for anyone who wants a good intelligent scare.
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This was such a wonderfully quirky horror novel involving a small town held captive by an ancient presence. Given the synopsis, one could easily underestimate this story. I initially expected a campy creature feature involving crazy cat ladies. Instead, this was an intelligent piece of classic horror with a family at the heart of the story. 

Written in a clean style, I found the narrative to be quite engrossing.  The main characters were well developed with relatable motivations and flaws. This was my first experience reading this author's work and I was thoroughly impressed by her storytelling abilities. I look forward to reading more from this (new-to-me) female horror author. 

Whether you are a cat-lover or cat-hater, I would recommend this entertaining horror novel to anyone who looking to read an engaging story of a town haunted a demonic feline curse. 

I receive an e-copy of this book via Netgalley.
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The town of Clervaux is the perfect cat sanctuary. Set somewhere in Luxembourg, the town is small, picturesque, and a tourist attraction for any cat lover. All residents of this small town seem to adore their feline friends, doing anything they can in order to keep them safe. And we do mean anything, at all costs.

Aidan, a vet , moves to Clervaux with his wife, and Jess , and their daughter. The place is quiet, beautiful and magical. But when Jess accidentally kills a cat on a car accident, things will start going horribly wrong. One by one, people either disappear or get killed. What is going on in this town? Why is everyone so terrified of cats getting hurt? What is that clicking sound they keep hearing every night in their house?

Clowders is a thriller novel with a unique and interesting concept. The author has created a very beautiful and atmospheric setting, and the story was actually quite scary at times. 

However, I found the story to be too long at points where it didn't really matter. There where too many family scenes that had no contribution to the plot, and far too many relationship details of the protagonists. That would be great if the relationships actually had anything to do with the story's main pointy or its ending, but in Clowders it doesn't matter at all, thus making it irrelevant. Moreover, some of the protagonists' decisions felt unnatural and completely illogical. The ending had a very interesting touch, a frightening climax, but was somewhat disappointing. In order not to spoil the ending, I will not elaborate on this, but let's just say the end left the reader somewhat unsatisfied.

All in all, Clowders had a very good concept. It just felt that it needed less irrelevant scenes, and a little more effort on editing.
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A town being run, first and foremost, by keeping all the cats safe and healthy or else. I found this story to be very creepy and creative. In league with Stephen King or Dean Koontz? No. But it was interesting and atmospheric.
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Clervaux, the land of cats! Cat lovers rejoice! Or....do they?

This is a good, old fashioned horror novel, with strange noises, creepy townspeople, a new living situation and cats, cats and more cats! 

At the heart, we have Aidan and Jess and their daughter Eleonore. They've recently relocated to Luxembourg when Aidan joins the local veterinary practise. Jess finds herself hating their new house and new town. Strange noises at night, stories of a little girl who follows people around and a cat festival that brings our story to the climax. 

Thanks to Vanessa Morgan and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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There is a town in Luxembourg where cats in their dozens roam the streets freely, the lives of the feline residents valued more highly than those of the humans living there. Superstition says that the town of Clervaux is cursed. 

Veterinarian Aidan and his wife and daughter, Jess and Eleonore (and Eleonore's cat Avalon), move to Clervaux from the USA as Aidan has secured a job at the local cat clinic. When a seriously ill cat is brought in to the clinic Aidan is shocked at the reaction of the owner when Aidan suggests that the kindest thing would be to put the poor animal out of its misery. But this is not the way things work in Clervaux. Cats must be saved at all costs, otherwise the townsfolk will pay the ultimate price. 

I really wanted to love this book but an awful lot of time is spent describing extremely mundane, tedious family life and the actual 'horror' story is very sparse and basic, though it does pick up a little in the last quarter.  There are also some very strange phrases and misused words in the writing every now and again. Editing hiccups perhaps but this was very distracting and off putting and even made me wonder whether the book was originally written in a different language, maybe, and has not been translated as well as it might have been.  I don't know.  On a positive note, the author has succeeded admirably in writing a cast of thoroughly unlikable characters (with the exception of Eleonore who is, mostly, a very sweet child) and it is a pleasure to watch them fear for their lives, looking over their shoulders at every turn. 

The idea of this story is a very original one and I was expecting something wonderful. In the end it was an okay read but instantly forgettable.
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