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Janet Joyce Holden ‘Carousel’ Review


Written by: Vitina Molgaard

“That’s how I looked?” Luke smiled. This was the first time she’d seen herself on canvas and he was fully prepared for her reaction. “You don’t like it.”

“I’m all shadow,” Emma told him. “Like a ghost. Like I’m not really there.”

And so we begin another venture into the world of the creative mind.Welcome back.

This particular story starts off focused on two lovers, Emma and Luke. Luke’s an artist with a talent for creating dark, somewhat disturbing pictures. His work comes from deep within him, from a place he does not even know exists. A powerful evil is waiting for this young man to release from himself all that he unknowingly is capable of. Emma is driven by forces also foreign to herself. Together these two have drawn the attention of what they see as a man. One who is offering fame and fortune, should our artist decide to take on a proposed assignment. Accepting this job takes this couple places indeed. Soon Luke’s older brother John arrives. He is a man on a definite mission and his arrival marks the moment things really begin to go awry in their lives.

Carousel features a plethora of characters, and while I intend to mention a number of them, introductions to the entire lot isn’t going to happen. The goal is to hold your attention, not produce a novel of my own discussing the story’s players. I have already introduced Luke, Emma, John and a thus far an unnamed man. Well… to call him a man is a misnomer, as that’s just one title utilized when dealing with humans. He is referred to as Elliot Black, Ralt, Llennendrad and also the devil, Lucifer. We are exposed to Rachel, the mother of Luke and John; a woman who exists on an edge somewhere between life and death. What we have left are beings called Adepts, some friends and a traitor or two. We have an extensive lot of personalities on display, but they don’t demand address.

Time to discuss the impact this book had on me. Up until somewhere close to the middle of Carousel I was enjoying and even relishing what I was involved in. Unfortunately the author took this novel into a convoluted tangle hindered by one too many twists and turns. Things begin to have layers that simply were not needed. Personally I am of the opinion that this would and probably should have been a set of two novels. The character development is strained to the point that one feels as though everything is overdone. Characters become boring and I started not caring anymore about them. Had the issue of Luke and his situation been brought to completion first, before introducing the family’s secrets dealing with the supernatural places we are exposed to, our journey here could very well have been an excellent set of stories.

So at the end of the day I want to express the fact that the author has shown plenty of ability to compose a good story. That said, I  had problems with the excessive story folds. There’s just too much put into play here. It felt unnecessary to delve into what truly feels like a secondary and detached narrative. Hopefully somewhere down the line I’ll learn of a new, more clearly defined effort from Janet Joyce Holden.

Check out Carousel here.

Rating: 2.5/5

About The Overseer (1669 Articles)
Author of Say No to Drugs, writer for Blumhouse, Dread Central, Horror Novel Reviews and Addicted to Horror Movies.

4 Comments on Janet Joyce Holden ‘Carousel’ Review

  1. James Keen // April 29, 2013 at 3:38 pm // Reply

    Nicely balanced review, Vitina; piqued my interest.


  2. It can be difficult to review a story such as this one. To truly enjoy a book like I was with this one and then have it shift the way this one did was frustrating. If you do give it a read let me know what you think. As always…just me…Vitina


    • jameskeen89450 // May 14, 2013 at 9:27 am // Reply

      Will do Vitina; just awaiting my appointment for the cloning machine to pop up and I’ll be ready to go…heh-heh…


  3. Sharp retort here James my friend….heh heh…as always..just me…the old hippie


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