Cover Image: Horseman

Horseman

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

“Everyone in Sleepy Hollow knows about the Horseman, but no one really believes in him.” 

A retelling or re-imagining of, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. It's amazing how Henry can take classic storytelling (Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Red Riding Hood) and update the tropes to please a modern audience. Fresh twists, punchy beats, and interesting, dynamic characters.
Horseman immerses readers in Sleepy Hollow 30 or so years after the disappearance of Ichabod Crane. Katrina and Brom have a grandchild named, Ben Van Brunt. Ben loves to play spooky games in the deep, dark, woods but encounters the body of a headless boy.
This is a page-turning, coming-of-age murder mystery full of surprises and wonder, honestly, I enjoyed this more than the source material.
Was this review helpful?
Read this one a while back and did not review right away but will be recommending to all of my customers for the spooky season! Loved this take one The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and how it was "modernized". Very atmospheric and spooky/creepy
Was this review helpful?
This was a PERFECT Halloween read and from a literary voice I always trust to tell a great story! I am a huge fan of the author and this novel didn’t disappoint
Was this review helpful?
Thank you, NetGalley for this book.

I’ve only recently become aware of Christian Henry’s work, specifically her Alice series. I’ve heard great things about it and have added it to my TBR. I had completely forgotten that I had this book from NetGalley, so when it turned up as my next read, I was really excited to see if all the hype was real. And, wow, it was. This book was so creative and fun.

From Goodreads: Everyone in Sleepy Hollow knows about the Horseman, but no one really believes in him. Not even Ben Van Brunt’s grandfather, Brom Bones, who was there when it was said the Horseman chased the upstart Crane out of town. Brom says that’s just legend, the village gossips talking.

Twenty years after those storied events, the village is a quiet place. Fourteen-year-old Ben loves to play Sleepy Hollow boys, reenacting the events Brom once lived through. But then Ben and a friend stumble across the headless body of a child in the woods near the village, and the sinister discovery makes Ben question everything the adults in Sleepy Hollow have ever said. Could the Horseman be real after all? Or does something even more sinister stalk the woods?

I love that this story was told from a kid’s perspective. Ben is a strong character with specific ideas and goals. You really root for Ben throughout the book. I’ve only read Sleepy Hollow once or twice and don’t remember much but that didn’t cause me any issues. As long as you have the general gist that a headless horseman terrorizes the town of Sleepy Hollow, running off the schoolteacher Ichabod Crane, you’re set. I really enjoyed this book. It’s categorized as horror, but it’s not super scary or graphic. It really could be a YA book, even. Ben is a great character that you just love and respect. I will definitely be checking out more of Henry’s books.
Was this review helpful?
Spooky and Compelling

In this atmospheric, terrifying novel that draws strongly from "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," the author of Alice and The Girl in Red works her trademark magic, spinning an engaging and frightening new story from a classic tale.

Everyone in Sleepy Hollow knows about the Horseman, but no one really believes in him. Not even Ben Van Brunt's grandfather, Brom Bones, who was there when it was said the Horseman chased the upstart Crane out of town. Brom says that's just legend, the village gossips talking. 

More than thirty years after those storied events, the village is a quiet place. Fourteen-year-old Ben loves to play "Sleepy Hollow boys," reenacting the events Brom once lived through. But then Ben and a friend stumble across the headless body of a child in the woods near the village, and the discovery makes Ben question everything the adults in Sleepy Hollow have ever said. Could the Horseman be real after all? Or does something even more sinister stalk the woods?

Christina Henry gets better with every book, especially the ones where she dives into old legends and tales and adds her own unique twist. “Horseman: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow” is no exception and in this case, Henry has added an especially intriguing element with Ben who isn’t quite as you expect. Christina Henry explores not only the legend of Sleepy Hollow but also gender expectations and transgender characters in this thrilling tale.

My favorite element of the story is the character of Ben, his relationship with his grandparents, and how in Ben’s character, Henry explores what our culture expects of girls and what happens when you have someone who doesn’t fall into those norms, who’s true gender doesn’t match the outside. It is deftly explored and Ben’s voice is clear in the story from beginning to end, giving readers a unique character to identify with, especially those who are transgender. 

The plot is a wonderful and spooky tangle of the Sleepy Hollow tale into a uniquely scary story that does not rely on the Horseman to be the villain of the piece. In fact, the true antagonist is something else entirely and is incredibly compelling while also being undeniably terrifying. The ending is unique and unexpected, with the entire novel being one twist after another.

If you love spooky stories, or love the legend of the Sleepy Hollow, you should definitely pick up this book. It will be a perfect read to set up your Halloween season.

Rating: 5 out of 5 horse
Was this review helpful?
Didn't capture my attention and engagement. Interested in trying it again though and hopefully it will take.
Was this review helpful?
This alternate telling of the classic Sleepy Hollow tale was fantastic. As with every other novel I’ve read by this author, it is an incredibly well-written and engaging story.  There is a mystery that kept me guessing, a truly scary supernatural element, and characters that the reader can’t help but fall in love with. I love that Henry always manages to add elements of inclusivity in a way that just feels natural. In this case, our main character is trans in a time where no one even knew that was a thing. This theme is deftly woven throughout the novel, and in my opinion, elevated the story immensely. This was a fantastic read.
Was this review helpful?
I'm a sucker for any story based on The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

'Horseman' is a story which centers around fourteen year old Ben Van Brunt, the grandchild of Abraham Van Brunt (Brom Bones) and Katrina Van Tassel.  Things in Sleepy Hollow are suddenly not so sleepy, when a teenage boy is found dead in the woods, his head and hands missing.  More deaths and other strange occurrences follow, and Ben can't seem to stay out of the middle of it all.

Is it the Horseman returned after all these years?  Is it the Kludde, a monster from Dutch folklore that can change its form and lure people to their death?  Is it someone from the village, someone they know and trust?  

Young Ben has this and more on his mind as he struggles with his own identity, tension between himself and his Oma Katrina, whispers about his witchcraft and unnatural ways which have begun to spread among the citizens of Sleepy Hollow, and a voice which seems to call to him from deep in the haunted words beyond the family farm, a voice accompanied by the unmistakable sound of hoof beats.

I thought the story had a slow start, but many do, and around the 100th page it picked up and escalated steadily from there.  There are some creepy moments, though the worst to me were the ones when Ben was threatened by people more so than any of the supernatural elements.  I loved Henry's portrayal of Brom and Katrina as grandparents, with Brom as loud and cocksure as ever, and Katrina beautiful but hardened after a personal tragedy.  The book definitely has a YA feel to it but not necessarily in a bad way - there's none of the YA filler that usually makes me roll my eyes, this is YA done right.  

I found the final scene (after a couple of false endings) to be predictable and a little kitschy, but I didn't hate it.  

All in all, I think Henry did a commendable job of taking a well-known tale and spinning it into a story all her own, and I loved getting the chance to visit Sleepy Hollow again.
Was this review helpful?
Christina Henry has done it again, but this time with a brilliant sequel of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Henry manages to take the classic story and give it an ending worthy of the tale. The story is set thirty years after the original when the grandson of Brom Bones stumbles upon a headless body in the woods. Was the Sleepy Hollow legend real after all? The book is creepy and perfect for an October read. Highly recommended!
Was this review helpful?
I unfortunately could not get into this book, I feel like it was extremely high browed for no reason. The character is transgender, which is a positive and trying to be more inclusive, but ends up being a lame caricature. The character felt like them being transgender was a personality trait. Other than this, it was very predictable, and has been done better by other authors who write either better mysterys or transgender characters.
Was this review helpful?
This was a slight departure for Christina Henry. I know she does a a whole lot of retelling, but this was the first that really deviated from the source. I kind of enjoyed but still not her best.
Was this review helpful?
Brilliant riff off of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow with a genderqueer protagonist! I loved the atmosphere, and the story kept me wondering what came next. Strong character development.
Was this review helpful?
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow , the headless horseman,Icabod Crane, has always been synonymous with Halloween. It been been the inspiration for many movies, books, and tv shows. Washington Irving’s story has become one of the most popular spooky season  Stories to recreate.

Christina Henry did something different. She didn’t recreate the story, she finished it. 

The Horsemen take us on a journey of self discovery, family secrets, and a battle of good against evil, and most importantly the power of love. 

Decades after that Dark and stormy night, when Icabod was chased by the Headless Horseman, never to be seen again we meet Ben, the granddaughter of Brom and Katrina. 

Something is in the woods tearing off children’s heads and hands and Ben has witnessed it. 

Sleepy Hollow has an evil lurking in it, what does it have to do with her family, and the headless horseman? 

The fate of Katrina, Brom, Icabod, The Horseman, and Sleepy Hollow is revealed in this epically written book, one that would make Washington Irving Proud! 

This is a must read if you have ever heard The Legend of Sleepy Hallow!
Was this review helpful?
A legend in horror retellings returns with a new work featuring A Legend of SLeepy Hollow and a few familiar characters…

These works have become some of my favorite reads in the last couple years. I knew I was in for a ride and I was right! Christina Henry always manages to take a classic fairy tale or legend and make something amazing and, well, pretty scary. Definitely one to add to your horror TBR.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to the publisher for an early copy of Horseman by Christina Henry! This was a highly anticipated book for me and I did read it before release day, but have not got around go sending my review. Overall, I really enjoyed the story and visiting Sleepy Hollow once again with a different perspective to the original story. As a horror reader, I have really fallen in love with Christina Henry’s writing, and in this book you can tell her writing has evolved through the years. The queer representation in this book was greatly done. I truly felt that aside from the original Sleepy Hollow story and the horrorific events that occurred in the book, that the story was more of a coming of age story. It also felt very YA for me, which is getting harder for me to read as I get older. Unfortunately this was not my favorite book by her but I would recommend it to some of my subscribers looking for a coming of age story with horror.
Was this review helpful?
If I was the author; Henry, I would be afraid that the ghost of Washington Irving would come out of his grave and kill me! This book was such a 'wanna be sequel' that it was a mockery. And evidently Christina Henry knows nobody that could EVEN POSSIBLY be trans gendered. She is OBSESSED with the subject of this, that it ruined what could have been a good story.....

Okay, this authors works are evidently NOT for me. This is the 3rd (the first two i DNF'd half way thru) book that I have attempted to read or listen to by her, and I actually finished listening to it. The only thing that was even clever about this book was that she used some of the characters from the original literature classic; The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow. The story was so SO predictable by the first 25% of it, that it just becomes more and more of a joke. There were some timidly suspenseful scenes that just never worked out to be scary, where as Henry really could have made this a very creepy and scary story. It just did not work as 'A tale of Sleepy Hollow'.
I can and would only recommend this to a 12 year old who is just starting to experiment with monster tales. I was SO glad that i did not spend money on this one.
Thanks NetGalley
I won't be reading anymore of her works......sorry. IMO; skip this one.
2 🥱🥱
Was this review helpful?
In this novel that draws strongly from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Christina Henry has created a haunting sequel that digs deeper into the tale of the Ichabod Crane, Brom and Kristina, and the Horseman.

It has been more than thirty years since the Horseman chased Ichabod Crane from Sleep Hollow. Brom and Katrina are married and are now raising their grandchild. Fourteen-year-old Ben loves to play “Sleepy Hollow boys” and reenact Crane being chased by the Horseman. But one day while playing, Ben and a friend stumble across a headless body in the woods. Could the Horseman have done this?

Ben is now determined to find out the truth about the Horseman, a being she longs to ride with. Why does he have such a pull on her? Could it be because her grandmother, Katrina, always wants her to dress like a girl and do girlish things even though she is a tomboy who loves to wear breeches and roam the woods? 

She learns from her grandfather (a man she had no clue was her grandfather) about the Kludde, a creature he claims followed someone to Sleepy Hollow from Germany. Is the Kludde responsible for the mysterious deaths that have taken place?

The Horseman was unputdownable from the first page. I love The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and this book only adds to my pleasure of that timeless tale. It is the perfect sequel to that story, answering many of the questions it left in my mind while creating a few of its own. The setting is wonderfully creepy, the characters are well-developed, and the story is magnificent.
Was this review helpful?
If you are looking for a spooky gothic horror novel to get you in the mood for Halloween, Horseman: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow by Christina Henry is a great choice. Horseman is essentially a sequel to Washington Irving’s famous tale, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. That story was written two hundred years ago, but still is still relevant. In the original story, Ichabod Crane, a schoolteacher, has set his sights on winning Katrina Van Tassel’s hand in marriage.  Crane is awkward and skinny and is competing with “Brom Bones” Van Brandt who has loved Katrina since he was a boy.
Washington Irving described Sleepy Hollow as a place where a dreamy influence pervades the atmosphere and the residents believe the town is bewitched and rife with ghosts and hauntings. The best known and most feared is the “headless horseman,” an apparition believed to be that of a dead soldier who had been decapitated by a cannonball during the American Revolutionary War, a decade earlier. In his story, Brom Bones is annoyed with Crane’s attempts to woo Katrina, and late one night plans his revenge. Crane believes in all of the local ghost stories, particularly the headless horseman. After going for a late night ride, Crane is chased by the headless horseman.  Racing to reach a bridge that the horseman cannot cross, Crane is too slow. The horseman heaves his head at Crane, knocking him off his own horse. Crane is never seen again, but Irving hints that Crane’s tormentor was really Brom Bones and that Crane left town because he was ashamed. 
Henry has taken Washington Irving’s story as the factual background and reimagined it to take place 20 years later. Brom did marry Katrina and is the wealthiest farmer in the town. They are raising their granddaughter Bente who is a teenager. By this point in the life of the town, it is still secluded and dreamy and ghosts are accepted as being real. Bente does not identify as being female, and the townsfolk are largely accepting of her gender determination, even calling her “Ben”. Ben can sense that that there is unrest in the spirit world, and this is supported when boys start dying in gruesome manners. It is up to her and Brom to save the town from the horror that has settled over it.
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Horseman to everyone who liked the original. It has all of the atmospheric mandates of a gothic horror:  ghosts, ghouls, evil incarnate, spooky places, etc. It was a great mixture of sci-fi and horror. Plus it was satisfying to watch Ben mature and change. A good comparison would be The Turn of The Screw by Henry James and its retelling in present times by Ruth Ware in The Turn of The Key.
Was this review helpful?
It may seem that I’m out of season for this one, but for me, it’s scary stories year-round! I absolutely loved Christina Henry’s Horseman. This author is known for writing novels reminiscent of classic fairy tales, so she’s been on my radar for some time. This book takes place some decades after the events of what we know as the classic headless horseman tale. The granddaughter of Katrina Van Tassel and Brom Van Brunt at 14 years old has always felt she were a boy. Ben enjoys playing in the dark forest, and discovers the body, sans head and hands, of a local village boy. Could it be the horseman has returned to terrorize the residents of Sleepy Hollow? Full of family secrets, various nods to the original Washington Irving legend, and struggling gender identity in a Victorian-era small town. I was captivated and quickly finished this in about 2 days. Age group would be teens-adults.
Was this review helpful?
Fans of the tale of Sleepy Hollow are surely curious about Christina Henry's take on the matter, Horseman. Christina Henry is well known for her fairytale retellings, usually with a horror twist, and that is why I just knew I had to give this book a try.

It's been twenty years since the events of Sleepy Hollow, yet the town still remembers the legend of the Headless Horseman well. Especially young Ben, who loves to play pretend with these stories at the center.

Then one day, a headless body is found. This finding changes the course of history for Ben, the rest of the Van Brunt family, and even the town. However, none of them know it yet.

"Blood is its own kind of magic. It sustains life. It carries our history, all the blood that came before us…"

Wow. I knew that Christina Henry would find a way to make the tale of the headless Horseman her own, but I was not expecting this! Horseman is an absolutely fantastic read. One that is thrilling – and easy for fans to jump right into.

You don't need to know the whole legend to follow and appreciate this tale. All of the foundations are laid out for the readers, from the history of the Van Brunt family to the whole town – Crane included.

What blew me out of the water was not the horror part of this tale – but the human side of things. Ben's character is so human and so profound. There were a lot of surprises there, but I think they flowed so nicely into the original tale of the Horseman. I loved every bit of it.

I was surprised by how hard Horseman hit me emotionally. It got me tearing up a time or two – and that is something I was NOT expecting. I was expecting to shake in my boots if anything. Well done, Christina Henry. Well done.
Was this review helpful?