Somebody somewhere, I wish I could recall, told or wrote that The Croning was a good book, a literary horror. Well, I hate horror, but I am willing to expand my mind, and this was, you know, good.
I have spent decades trying to understand why Anybody likes horror. I wake up from a nightmare and feel awful for another two hours. My husband can dismiss his feelings upon waking from a nightmare. I have accidentally read horror stories (Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke can write stories that you don't know are horror until The Very Last Line!) and the unwanted images have stayed in my mind forever. Others love the stories and make Twilight Zone episodes from them. I think that I may have figured out why some people love horror movies and I DO NOT. I must process adrenaline differently from those folks. Adrenaline makes me feel sick.
The first chapter of The Croning made me feel sick, though not from adrenaline. The story told was foul. I nearly threw away the book.
I waited some time and started again with the second chapter. I hated the story, but it was well written. Well written nastiness, but thoroughly engrossing. I got perhaps halfway through the book before I couldn't take it anymore. That night I woke up from a nightmare of spectacular grossness (not sexual, just gross) and now I have another unwanted image to last the rest of my life. I thought the book was innocent until I remembered That Scene.
I skipped to the end, and the horror never relented.
I cannot recommend this book to anyone. I am not turning in this book for credit. I am throwing it away.
So why did I give it five stars? Because the book was well written and as far as I could tell handled the tropes of horror deftly and should make anyone who reads it feel the sensation of horror.
And as for whoever it was recommending the book, just, just don't ever talk to me again.
P.S. I was not paid to give this review.