Due to FTC regulations, any book reviewed on this site was sent for free by the author/publisher to The Pagan & The Pen Book Reviews. We are not paid to give reviews by Author or Publisher. Once review has been made, said books are deleted.

Jun 5, 2010

The Curse of Albrecht Manor by Christopher C. Newman


Title: The Curse of Albrecht Manor
Author: Christopher C. Newman
Author Site
Publisher: Dark Roast Press
Genre: Horror/Mystery/Paranormal
Length: 179 pgs.
Other: Forced Seduction/Rape/Voyeurism/M/F/F/F
Pagan & Pagan Elements: Yes
Reviewed by: Violet Harper

About The Book: The women of the Albrecht family are cursed! For nearly three hundred years the hex uttered by a witch being burnt at the stake has stalked them down the centuries. Priests, herbal women, and even Inquisitors have been brought in to stop it from driving the Albrecht daughters to sexual-induced madness on their twentieth birthday. Nothing has worked; not even an uprooting from their native Germany to America has stopped it. Soon it just became an unfortunate fact of life if you are a female Albrecht.
It is present-day and Baron Markus Albrecht nervously awaits his daughter Elsa’s twentieth birthday. For a year he has searched for someone willing and able to halt the hex from driving his daughter as insanely mad as his sister, Franziska. Four days before her birthday he finds Noah Ravenswood, a practicing wizard and learned occultist. Noah, armed with hereditary mystical training by his mother, and Doctor Sarah Bookings his associate, he travels to southern Ohio to do battle with the Albrecht Curse.

But who or what is Noah really fighting? Is it truly a hex or perhaps a power-play by one of the Albrecht sons? Could it be the angry and distrustful Maximilan Albrecht, the eldest son and inheritor of the vast Albrecht Estates? Could it be the playboy Hans Albrecht, trying to dethrone his older brother and wrest control for himself? Can Noah and Sarah unravel the mystery before they become embroiled in the family politics, carnal activities, and deadly games at Albrecht Manor?

The Review: The story started out so promising. It seemed a little like The Dresden Files with the wizard man who dedicated his life to using his paranormal abilities to save people. After establishing some plot elements, the story degenerates in several aspects.

The writing style seems a little off. I kept trying to figure out if the writer was an American trying to sound British or an Englishman trying to sound like an American. I do like both styles, but not when cobbled together and not for characters that are American. I also don’t understand the heavy emphasis on the Albrecht’s German ancestry. If the family has lived in the US since before the Civil War, it is highly unlikely any of them would speak German, especially as a first language, or insist on using archaic aristocratic titles. Adding in the British butler and the French maid to a house in Ohio were either a failed attempt at humor or an overly clichéd casting of characters.

Additionally, all of the sex scenes were disturbing, but each for a different reason. Noah ‘forces’ his lover’s legs apart in a scene that is supposed to be romantic. Sarah’s voyeuristic experience ends with her giving head to the elder Albrecht who has children older than her, all in an effort to stop him from telling Noah, her boss, that she was watching two people have sex. I fail to see why Noah would care that she was watching.  During the scene, she describes trying not to vomit while the rest of the descriptors indicate that she is aroused. The first element necessarily cancels out the second for the reader. 

There is nothing remotely erotic about any of the sex scenes, though that may have been by design since most of them have their roots in evil. Some of them were downright disgusting. It would have been a much better story without the gory details.The best parts of the novel were those told through Noah’s eyes. The point of view shifts several times, which is fine, though it could have been a much stronger story if it hadn't. Noah disappears for so much of the novel that the reader forgets he exists He’s supposed to be the hero, the reader’s window into the story, but he ends up being an impotent and irrelevant tool.  Overall, I was very disappointed by something that could have been a great story.

Pagan Elements: Noah Ravenswood is a Pagan with paranormal powers. He uses protective charms and prayers to the gods/goddesses regularly during his cases where he helps people who are the victims of demons, curses, incubi, etc. Noah is a person modeled after Harry Dresden, and so worthy of respect for his adherence to his Pagan ideals. This added to the disappointment of the story because it had so many good Pagan elements.

Cover (Rated 1-10): 4-There’s nothing about it that would make me pick up the novel, but it does fit the storyline.


Disclaimer: Due to FTC regulations, any book reviewed on this site was sent for free by the author to The Pagan & The Pen. We are not paid to give reviews by Author or Publisher. Once review has been made, said books are deleted.


Christopher Newman said...

Interesting review all things considered. "Curse" is a novel not readily pigeonholed. You are right on the money about the "forced" sexual situations with Sarah since she's under the curse's influence. As for the rest, in particular about the Albrecht's knack for keeping their titles and Germanic language to that I can only say this is how they were raised. A quick sentence to this effect should've been included I agree. Thank you for your review it was appreciated.

Christopher Newman

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